As I sit here looking out over Middle Meadow Walk it is time to look back on the year and look forward to the new.


The plan for this year was to take lots of little trips in the van rather than one big holiday. As it turns out, this didn’t happen mostly as I was ill for a good part of the year. But still there were a few nice trips and the lovely weather through the summer was a bonus.

I missed my usual Easter time trip to Melrose this year and actually the first trip was a day trip to my first Volkswagen show, Volksfling in Bigger. The weather was fabulous and there was a fantastic variety of VWs on show from old Beetles and Splitties to more modern T5 and T6s. Read about it here.

Next up at the end of June was a trip to one of my favourite places in the world, Northumberland. This was a chance to sample the delights of one of the sites on the coast and visit a few castles. On the way down I saw Bamburgh Castle which was a little bit of a disappointment being more a stately home than a castle but the site I was at (Dunstan Hill) was great and there was Dunstanburgh Castle to see which was very impressive. Even better I found a little gallery and picked up a picture of Bamburgh Castle that is now gracing the walls of my flat. Read the blog post about the trip.

July’s trip was to the Lake District and Castlerigg Hall campsite, somewhere I’ve visited before. This time the weather was much better ( I remember the last visit a few years ago where I was setting up camp in torrential rain which ended up indirectly ruining the awning I had at the time).

I visited the town of Keswick and saw an exhibition of Chris Bonington and his mountineering exploits. And the Derwent Pencil Museum. A strange but wonderful place to visit. Some walking was done but my ambition overstretched my ability and a boat trip was taken as well.

Late July it was monster hunting on the shores of Loch Ness at Drumnadrochit.The weather on the drive up was scorching but I did pick the weekend that the good weather was over and got somewhat rained on on the Saturday. And never saw the monster either. But Urqhart Castle is impressive though go out of season or early as it was mobbed when I got there.

There was a day trip to Alnwick Castle and its gardens but being ill over the year did make for a somewhat restricted itenerary.

On the exercise front, I started working with a PT to try and build up some muscle and managed some pretty good times out running. A 1h39m half marathon at Stirling and a 43m 46s 10K at the Edinburgh Men’s 10k in November. On the downside, my knee started to hurt more and more as I ran so it could be that 2018 is the last year of running.

So it’s been a trying year with changes occuring and restrictions being put on me. But I made it to the end in one piece and have a newly found sense of purpose for the new year. And, to be Stoic about it,

misfortune nobly born is good fortune.

Marcus Aurelius


So what does the new year hold for me. Well fingers crossed I’ve shaken off the problems I’ve had through 2018 and I can look forward to more camping trips. The fact that I am probably stopping running in favour of lower impact exercise means that I can spend more time in the hills. Other than a bit of walking near Keswick, I’ve not been up a hill for the entirety of 2018. As they say, when one door shuts, another opens. The trick is to see the new door and go through it.

I’m hoping to do a lot more dancing in 2019. I want to learn Kizomba and improve my Bachata. Creativity is going to feature large in the new year with making music and taking photos

So here’s to the new year and all that it may bring.