Outdoor Discoveries

What originally was a news section for the rest of the website soon became a place for me to write about human-powered wanderings in the countryside. Photography inspires me to get out there, mostly on foot these days, though cycling got me started. Musings on the wider context of outdoor activity complete the picture, so I hope that there is something of interest in all that you find here. Thank you for coming!

Approaching the end of a decade

20th December 2009

The first decade of the twenty-first century certainly has proved to contain plenty of talking points. It started with a euphoric opening and looks like ending with a more downbeat mood. Along the way, there has been contentious warfare and economic upheaval. Worries about the millennium computer bug and a debate about when the millennium actually began are but a distant concern now. The recession and global warming have replaced these. Big challenges lie ahead and the Copenhagen summit wasn't an end but one of a series, much to the disappointment of many. Computing has moved from the desktop into our pockets and digital photography has taken off in big way. We certainly are removed far from where we were ten years ago.

Back then, my association with hill country was of the occasional day trip variety. I even thought that hill walking was for more athletic types and contented myself with scratching the surface before a cycle from Macclesfield to Buxton on the A537 convinced me that it might be an idea to discover places on foot. Even so, it took a while for the hill wandering to really come together after that with knowledge and gear coming together in some sort of haphazard manner.

Though my explorations of Britain were equally unplanned, there were years when I saw a lot of a certain area. Not every year was like this but here are the ones that were:

2001: Peak District

2002: Yorkshire Dales

2003: Lake District

2005: North Wales

2008: Scottish Highlands

There are reasons for the gaps. After the superb year that was 2003, 2004 was a disappointment when it cam to exploring hill country. It's grey dampness made it a good one for moving house. 2006 was a year of expanding horizons with visits to Highland Perthshire, Pembrokeshire and Northumberland. Even so, it got me wondering if I was spreading myself too thin. After that, 2007 was a year for long distance trail walking and completion. I got to pondering the idea of multi-day backpacking but other things mean that hasn't gone too far forward.

What about 2009? The usual round up is to come but here are a few highlights. First, a proper Irish hill walking outing came to pass after having it on the to do list for so long. There needs to be more but the threshold has been crossed now. The Cairngorm mountains are no longer ones that I keep passing and there's even more to see. Another thing that the year has taught me is that, while there are convenient destinations, the ones that need more planning are worthwhile even if they are once in a while escapades. Then, there's the enduring lesson that there are destinations where I haven't been for a while that I could do with revisiting because you always can see a different side to a familiar location. It is that which has put the idea of photography-inspired returns that spruced up my Cheshire photo gallery on here. Who knows where this mix will take me next?


  • BG! says:

    The end of the first decade of the twenty-first century?
    Not sure about that, John – my calendar says that we’re fast approaching the end of the ninth year, not the tenth.
    But then again, the “New Millenium” celebrations were a year early too, as I recall.
    Good post, though. Ten years of change, yet some things are still the same.
    Here’s to a bright future, starting with a Merry Christmas!

  • John says:

    Many happy returns, Stef!

    Yes, that old conundrum of things not starting at 0 came to my mind too but I decided to stick with the majority view, incorrect though it might be. At this point, many might be keen to start afresh in a new decade anyway and not for the same reasons as in 2000.

  • BG! says:

    I reckon my calendar’s out-of-sync anyway – I feel fifteen years older than I did at the turn of the millennium (whenever that was). Too many miles on the clock, methinks. Oddly, the WiiFit still says that I’m in my mid-twenties. Maybe I should become a cyber-fellwalker?

    I’m looking forward to you 2009 round-up, John.

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