What a year 2016 has been! I only started the blog in March of this year, not knowing whether anyone beyond our immediate families would read it. Much to my amazement, you have and you do. So, first of all, a huge thank you from me to you. Thank you for your support; your likes, comments and shares. Thank you for joining us on hikes and in conversation. Thank you for tagging us in your outdoor family photos and providing us, and everyone else, with ideas and inspiration. Finally, thank you for coming back for more!
What started out as a personal way for us to document our family adventures, so that Jesse and Amelie had a digital memory book to look back on in years to come, has blossomed into a community hub for families looking to spend some time together in the great outdoors. I feel that we’ve made great strides in 2016. However, reflecting back on our first 9 months made me think about my goals, both personal and blogging, for 2017. Let’s face it: no adventurer wants to stand still and plateau. There’s always a summit you haven’t reached or a river you haven’t crossed. As such, here are some of my aims for 2017:
It’s been many years since I went wild camping. Don’t get me wrong I love campsites and we’ll always continue to use them. We’ve had some memorable breaks away in our family bell tent, but there’s still a part of me that craves that back-to- basics experience. I yearn for those truly dark nights with the brightest stars you’ll ever experience; I want to wake up to nothing but nature.
Up until now, I haven’t considered repeating the experience due to age of our kids. I’m sure somebody out there has but, for me, I imagined it would be more hard work than play. Although Amelie may still be a little young, Jesse, who has recently turned three, may just be ready for his first foray into wild camping. Consequently, at some point during the summer, I’m planning to undertake a two-day father-son hike with a wild camp thrown in for good measure. Part of me thinks I’m mad. What do you think?
Have some parent-only mountain days
Ever since we started the hiking-with-kids group, a few of the parents have expressed an interest in having a few mountain days of our own. Of course, it’s fantastic that we all get out hiking with our kids, but I think we all deserve the occasional adult day out too. As such, I’m planning to organise a few childless hikes next year. Obviously, these will be in addition to our family hikes. Nothing could replace those!
A few of the parents, for example, are experienced hill walkers but have yet to progress on to any scrambling routes. After speaking to them, it was clear that this was something they were eager to have a go at. Another thing I’d like to plan is a weekend adventure a little further afield. We do most of our hiking in North Wales and, as beautiful as it is, I just fancy going on a bit of a jolly with some like-minded parents. Plus, if we stay over, there’s always chance for a beer or three in the evening. So, if anyone has any area or route recommendations away from the North Wales area give me a shout.
Learn an entirely new outdoor skill
I love learning. Pair the learning to the outdoors and I’m like a pig in muck. Therefore, in 2017, I’m challenging myself to have a go at something that I’ve never tried before (and become proficient at it). There are a few things that have crossed my mind but SUPing is probably the one that ranks highest at present. I’m attracted to it for a few reasons. Firstly, it’s looks really cool; I quite fancy gliding peacefully along a lake, river or even the sea. Secondly, they’re big enough to have a family adventure on. As a result, I could take the kids out with me in some of the more sedate environments. I’ve even seen people travel with their dogs on SUP boards! However, I’m still open to ideas so, if you have any suggestions of new outdoor pursuits I could try, get in touch.
Create more video memories and content
I’ve always enjoyed taking photos; they’re the perfect way of capturing those precious moments. Apart from those rare, drunken, uninhibited occasions where close family members have found hilarity in my unsteady dad-dancing ‘skills’, I’ve never really revelled in video. There’s something about it that makes me cringe. I don’t know whether it’s my voice or my face, but watching yourself back is just plain weird. I’m pretty sure I develop a whole new accent and tonal range when I’m being filmed for anything!
However, despite my reservations, I really want to film more of our family experiences. First and foremost, like our wedding video that comes out periodically, it’s a lovely way to record important milestones or happy occasions. Furthermore, the world of video is no longer as cumbersome as it once was. No longer are mums and dads carrying around video cameras the size and weight of boulders. Virtually anyone with a camera phone can create half decent content nowadays. My very first GoPro will be arriving courtesy of Father Christmas, and I’m now genuinely excited to be able to record some of our more action-packed adventures, whatever the weather or activity.
Attend a festival we haven’t been to before
Anyone who has been following the blog since the summer months knows we love a good festival. Last summer we attended Kendal Calling and The Goodlife Experience and had an absolute blast at both events. We’ll probably return to these two family- friendly festivals again in 2017, but I also want to attend one that we haven’t been to before. There are a few more I fancy too. Bluedot Festival, which is held at Jodrell Bank, mixes music, science, arts and culture. There’s also The Big Feastival, which is held at the Cotswold farm of Blur bassist, Alex James. As the name suggests, this one mixes music and culinary delights, which I’m more than happy to spend a weekend sampling. There are so many festivals out there these days that families are really spoilt for choice. So, if you can personally recommend any, do let us know.
So, there we have it, my outline plans for 2017. Plans being plans, I’m sure some will morph, change, fail even, but it’s still great to aim for something. It makes life more interesting. If you have any outdoor plans for 2017, do get in touch and let us know what they are.