As the year draws to a close, it’s time to look back on a year of travel and adventure. 

One of my goals for this year was to spent more time in galleries and museums and less in the shops. It seems that shopping is the major leisure activity in the first world today and I’m not sure that it is bringing a great deal of happiness to the planet. Certainly it wasn’t making me happy, rather just filling the house with crap. 

So early on in January I hit the road for a day trip to Dundee. First port of call, literally, was the RSS Discovery. A ship that had spent 2 years in the Antarctic ice. There was a visitor centre telling the story of the construction of the ship and its voyage south. And there was the ship. This had been modified since its first voyage but it was still an amazing sight. Along the shore was the V&A. This was interesting as the permanent collection was small (but worth the visit) but the space inside was fantastic.

In early February, it was off to the Royal Scottish Academy on the Mound where upon I came across one of the most powerful and life affirming works I’ve seen in a while. This was a series of glass plates with a smart-phone in each, engraved with a skull. The title was Memento Mori. I wrote about it here

Next up on my travels was a day trip to Arbroath to visit the famous abbey. I’ve been a member of Historic Scotland for years but don’t really get that much out of the membership. Arbroath was a lovely and mostly straight drive from home, excepting the several hundred roundabouts in Dundee to navigate. This post details the trip

Walking was to be a bit part of the year as much as I could and in late March, it was off to Loch Leven to walk round the circumference. I did this a couple of times in the year but the first trip landed some excellent photos. See here for the story and galleries. 

The traditional first trip away in the Van was to Melrose and this year, instead of climbing the hills around the town, I went to visit Abbotsford house, former home of Sir Walter Scott. This was a fantastic visit, small but the library and his study were well preserved and worth the entry fee alone. There were also some extensive grounds to walk in. On the way down I visited Dryburgh Abbey. 

Another walk in April was down the Water of Leith. A wonderful walk through the city with sandwiches and coffee at the end.

Early May was time for another house visit, this time Cragside house in Northumberland. This is the first house in the world lit by hydroelectricity. Again a fantastic house and extensive grounds to walk in and an overnight stop at the River Breamish site as well. More photos and details here

Late May was some more walking. This time up to Glencoe for a great hill climb but something of a washout of a weekend with the rain starting on the Friday lunchtime and not letting up. This set the pattern for the summer in Scotland with few dry days. 

Summer holiday was late June, early July with the start some dancing in Blackpool. Brilliant night at the Tower Ballroom. Then it was south to Birmingham with a stop at RAF Cosford. Highlight of the trip was the Tank Museum in Dorset. Read all about it here

There was a Linda McCartney retrospective on in the Kelvingrove museum in August that was worth the trip through to Glasgow. 

Last trip of the year away was Loch Lomond. This was pretty much due to really crap weather all summer, apart from the time I was away down south. There was a climb up the Ptarmigon Ridge on the way to Ben Lomond. 

So a not bad year of day trips and  other adventures.