Climbing by the sea in Kalymnos (Photo Copyright - Simon Rawlinson)
This is the first communication I've made through Outside Edge via either my website or via Social Media since mid December even though I'm fully aware that as a new business and small trader I should be keeping my Social Media feed updated regularly. However, when the Welsh Assembly Government brought forward the anticipated post Christmas Lockdown to December 20th and the ensuing England Lockdown was evidently imminent I thought it was probably best to let you all chill out over the Christmas and New Year period without any 'annoying' plugs coming through your Facebook and Instagram feeds :D
I did actually write another blog just before New Year along the lines of 'New Year, New Me' regarding goals for the year etc. but then saw a few memes on Social Media taking the piss out of the concept so changed my mind about posting it.
These Lockdowns give us probably far too much time to think and for me this means the year/s ahead. I've been thinking a lot along the lines of what to do for both personal skills development / outdoor qualifications etc. and also some Relaxation and Recuperation (R&R) either travelling abroad or joining in the great 'staycation' that the UK will be apparently undertaking this year. With regards to personal skills I'm still looking towards attending Mountaineering & Climbing Instructor (MCI) this year and possibly Winter Mountain Leader but it depends obviously on the Covid situation and any extended trips I take etc. MCI would enable me to teach clients Multi-Pitch Climbing.
I'm supposed to be heading to Kalymnos for 3 weeks in April (hence the photo above) but Lockdowns, inhibitory costs of Rapid Covid Tests and Isolation times etc. will probably put an end to it.
For further R&R I've been thinking a lot about walking a long distance trail. The Cambrian Trail that runs from Cardiff Castle to Conwy Castle through some of the best and most remote mountain ranges Wales has to offer is an easy choice because it's short (e.g. circa 21 days) and local therefore easy to bail if you have to for some reason. Another potential trail would be the GR11 running through the Spanish side of The Pyrenees (40+ days) but the time taken to complete it would 'eat' into potential 'Euro Trips' (see below).
However. the 'Holy Grail' of all Long Distance trails has to be The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) that runs along the spine of the Rocky Mountains from the Mexico boarder through California, Oregon and Washington to end on the Canadian border (too late now for this year and also a lot of money as you're hiking for 5-6 months). I've been dreaming of walking the PCT for many years though and hope the current situation improves so that I can attempt it one day.
The view from the awe inspiring Coyote Ridge on the PCT in Washington State with Mount Rainier in the background.
Then there's thoughts of Autumn / Winter 'Euro Trips', spending a few months off in the 'low season' (for the Outdoor Industry) climbing, trekking and mountain biking around the southern climes of Europe.
Following on from our 2017 trip there's still plenty of places I'd like to visit and climb/trek in. E.g. the Verdon Gorge (in France), Slovenia, Croatia, Albania, Macedonia, Bosnia, Hungary, Romania . . . . . there's so many places to visit.
The Verdon Gorge, France
Finally there's all the crags and mountains closer to home. From the experiences of the last year I think we've all learnt that we've got a plethora of beautiful and adventurous places to visit here in the UK.
For example, I've got climbing 'projects' that I bolted last year which I still need to climb so I'll be getting back to that particular crag as soon as I can. There's multi-pitch climbing to be done here in South Wales and further up the country in North Wales, The Lake District and Scotland. And, loads of great mountain walking days combined with Wild Camping or Wild Swimming to hopefully be had.
As ever, contact me if you'd like to book instruction days on climbing or mountain navigation / hill skills and lets hope 2021 works out better for us all than 2020.