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2022 in pictures

Updated: Jan 22, 2023


Now here’s a challenge. Pick one picture from each month of the year to celebrate the year. It’s really hard! We take so many pictures now that to choose can become a little arbitrary. I do try to keep my pictures organised and I do try to keep them in order, sometimes I can be a little too ruthless with the delete button, at other times I seem to hang on to some very fuzzy pics!

Well, I’ve had a go this year. So, here we are, month by month a snapshot of 2022

January

The picture I’ve chosen is from a Teaching Navigation workshop. This was the first time I’d clustered workshops together at this time of year and people seemed to like it. If you are travelling to Snowdonia then it’s good to be here for longer than a day. If you have to do CPD, then best to do it off-season. January workshops are therefore a win win for you and for me.


February

I wanted to interview Belal Younis for the Outdoor Lives Podcast series (still available from all good podcast providers) and as I made contact with him he offered me work on an Islamic Relief event on Snowdon. At the time I wrote of mixed feelings about the number of people on this event. I did, however, conclude that, on the sustainable footpaths used (Rhys Ddu side of Yr Wyddfa), with mountain leaders making good decisions (not going to the summit), that the off season input to the local economy (which could have been more to be fair) and the awareness raising of those on the walk actually made this a positive event at this time of year (do check out my blog for the full story). It’s been interesting to watch the rise of the Muslim Hikers over the last few years. It’s always good to see people from different backgrounds out in the hills. A few years ago I met members of the Kashmiri Ramblers. They are another very active walking group and, hailing from the Kashmir, are perfectly used to spending time in the mountains!


March

One of the interesting bits of work I undertook at Plas y Brenin was to work on risk assessment in the upland environment with the Air Accident Investigation Branch and the Air Accident Investigation Team from Rolls-Royce. I was fortunate to be asked back to work with the Rolls Royce team again this year. The Rolls-Royce team includes team members from Britain, Germany and the USA. They are, as you can imagine, a fine group of motivated intelligent people who make excellent company on the hill. Managing them when they find a wee bit of metal in a remote location can, however, become challenging. They have a tendency to leg it all over the hill trying to piece together the story of what happened here. It’s both charming to be part of and worrying as you wander round the group suggesting that they might wish to put a coat on and maybe drink some water! Let them find a site like the one photographed in the Carneddau and they are beside themselves with excitement and fully distracted from the environment that they are in. I can then make lots of real points about mountain weather, navigation and safety. Nice work.


April

In April I got to leave north Wales for a weekend. Something I do enjoy doing and have taken the opportunity to do more since I left PyB (and the kids have left home as well). On this occasion it was to run some workshops at the AGM for the Association of Mountaineering Instructors, a fine body of people. The Peak District was busy. I know it’s always been busy, but it was a shock to see ‘Snowdon’ levels of people on the Mam Tor to Lose Hill ridge. We didn’t see a lot of nature, glimpses here and there, but the human impact here is not simply related to that of generations of sheep farming. There is a relatively recent trend of stone piling. These piles of stones on Back Tor really shocked me. The stones are from a nearby ruined dry stone wall. But that’s not all. Recently these piles had been flattened and a pavement area created on this eroded summit. The pavement had been rearranged, by passers by, into piles of stones. For me, a meaningless, intrusive example of the worst kind of 'look at me' behaviour. 'Take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but a ruined wall and many, many piles of stones' is not a creed I like in the hills. I shan’t be rushing back to this walk.


May

The Highland 550

In May I went for a bike ride. In fact it was more than 550 miles as I had to start in Glasgow rather than Tyndrum due to engineering works on the rail line, then I had to cycle back to Glasgow from Tyndrum due to train cancellations. Still it was a great way to explore more of Scotland. I went to many places I hadn’t been to before. I was out for nearly three weeks, honing my wild camping skills, cursing waterproofs and finding hotel showers in between. There’s a blog about the train bit on my website and a video about the trip on YouTube


June

Arctic-alpine’s workshop

June is normally a busy time for workshops, but there is one that can only take place at this time of year. The appearance of our arctic-alpine flora is for a limited time and is in limited, often hidden places. It gives me great pleasure to share some secrets with those who genuinely appreciate this sort of thing. Come along to see mountain avens, mountain everlasting, a range of saxifrages and the Snowdon lily.


July

Mighty Hike Thames Path

I do like to take part in one or two large charity events each year to keep myself up to date and current with trends. Many of the people who come to me for workshops work on these types of events so I feel it would be remiss of me to ignore them. I do actually quite enjoy them too. I’ve blogged about these large scale charity events before, so do flick back through old blogs, please, cheers. This one was particularly hot and dry. There had been no rain for months, the ground was rock hard and the temperature soared well into the 30's. We all had to carry electrolytes and extra water. I also saw some very impressive blisters. It was lovely to visit a part of the country completely new to me. Yes, it’s lovely, but, oh so many people and not just on the hike either.


August

Mull and Loch Melfort Eagle

August is holiday time for me. Sally is off school and we usually rent a house for a week or two in Scotland. This year we undertook one sea kayak expedition around Bute, then had a week on Mull and then made another expedition in the Loch Melfort and Seil Island area. On our last day the sea was dead flat in Loch Melfort so I carried my ‘best’ camera on my deck. I think you'll agree it was worth it. I managed to float in, very gently, to about 100 yards away from this young sea eagle to get this snap. Mull didn’t show us its best side. The weather was poor, the beaches we visited were covered in sheep or caw dung and Ben More, apart from the views, was a bit of a plod. I can’t get used to the way the locals drive either, accelerating violently between passing places. I try so hard to save fuel, keeping costs and emissions down that to accelerate and brake hard really grates on me. It’s a long single track road to the Ross of Mull, don’t even think about doing it on a bike!


September

The Welsh 550

It was off on the bike again this month. This was my second round of a Welsh 550. I’d tweaked and changed the route from last year. I believe this is a belter. You can check it out on www.walesbikepacking.co.uk or on my YouTube channel. It’s hard to believe how quiet and remote you can be in Wales. The journey is incredibly varied too. Lots of different types of tracks to ride on and a wide range of landscapes to see.


October

Down on the Farm workshop

October is another workshop month. The standout workshop is the Down on the Farm workshop and the best news is we’re moving it to June next year. This means that not only learning about the farmer’s year, the challenges they face and how they make it work, you'll be able to see the wildflower meadows in full bloom and listen out for the birds that nature friendly farming seeks to give space for.


November

Teaching Navigation workshop

This is a fun workshop where I like to challenge people with some gentle nudges about progressions and choice of techniques. This year I had a new phone and was experimenting with photography. This is a classic walking home into the sunset shot. Crimpiau takes some beating eh!


December

First Aid

This is the first time I’ve run my own first aid courses and am very pleased with how they went and how they’ve been received. The full details can be found on the first aid page of my website. I’d love it if you could join me next year. In fact if your renewal is in 2024, book a course in the winter of 2023/4 and then you’ll be in date and have moved your renewal to the off season period. There’ll only be four courses so book up early to be sure of a place. In fact all 2023 workshops are now on the website and open for booking. As soon as there is one booking it’s guaranteed to run so you can book in confidence and plan around it. Cheers and Happy New Year.


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