I love a “year in review” type post, and find myself writing something along those lines each year. The end of the year naturally lends itself to reflection, an obvious opportunity to look back and recall some of the good memories from the last 12 months. And that’s exactly what I’m doing in this post – reviewing my 2019 in 12 photos.
My year in 12 photos last year seemed to go down well, so I thought I’d go for a picture post again for 2019. Rather than one photo a month, though, I thought I’d choose 12 photos from across the whole year. My adventures this year haven’t been nicely spread out, they’ve been bunched up together, and so I felt I needed to give myself a chance here!
These posts can sometimes seem gratuitous, a little showy-offy even, but hopefully you enjoy this for what it is meant to be; an opportunity share (and re-share) a few of my favourite memories from 2019, draw a bit of a line under it, and end the year on a smile.
Celebrating 2019 in 12 Photos
01. Sand and Rocks in Gran Canaria
Back in February we spent a week on holiday in Gran Canaria. Not being the biggest fan of the big resort hotels, we based ourselves in a small hotel in the mountains close to Fataga, and hired a car to allow us to get around the island and explore some of the less populated areas. We did a morning hike to the beautifully barren Roque Nublo, one of the biggest natural crags in the world.
02. Ordnance Survey GetOutside Meetup
There is something very special about spending time with likeminded people, who inspire and motivate you to strive for your best, lift you up and make you feel both normal and special at the same time. That’s exactly how I felt at the annual GetOutside get together, which this year took place up in the Peak District, where I officially started my third year as an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion.
03. Campervan Road Tripping
Ever since I was a child, vanlife has held this place in my mind that is full of romance. It’s the epitome of all things outdoors and adventure and freedom. It’s all about sunrises and sunsets, big views from my bed, relaxing after long hikes, visiting cute little towns and villages, and drinking copious amounts of tea in between. The idea that I could get home from work on a Friday evening, bung some food and some clothes in my van and head off for a weekend of outdoors fun and relaxation appeals so much. Back in March I was able to test the campervan life out for a long weekend thanks to the gift of rental from Goboony.
04. Fat Biking in Porthcawl
I headed to the Welsh Valleys on a press trip and as part of that got to give Fat Biking a go on the beach and dunes at Porthcawl. And it was so much fun! Simply a fantastic way to spend a couple of hours outside. It certainly helped that the weather was beautiful – perfect seaside biking weather!
05. Views from Cheddar Gorge
Cheddar Gorge is a limestone gorge in the Mendip Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty in Somerset. The gorge is a popular tourist destination for sure, but there is good reason for that; there are hikes and climbs and cycle rides and views galore – something for all outdoors tastes. I walked around the Gorge at the Outdoor Bloggers Spring Camp, and it was as beautiful as ever.
06. Being Blacksmith for a Day
I like to live by the premise that experiences are better than things, and birthdays are a great opportunity to put my money where my mouth is and find something fun as a present. With that in mind, I bought my husband a knife-forging experience, and naturally tagged along to have a go myself. It was hard work, super hot, but a genuinely interesting and fun day pretending to be a blacksmith.
07. Muddy Motorcycle Adventure in Wales
Back in May we did the RallyMoto Wales 500, a road and light off road 500km challenge for adventure riders and bikes over 140kg. Designed to be a test of accurate navigation rather than speed, the route was primarily on back roads and easy tracks. Based at the Three Counties Showground close to Malvern, RallyMoto say this is what adventure bikes are built for – long days, varied terrain, and social riding. An experience I think I’m still getting over now!
08. Riding Mountains and Deserts in Spain
Our “big holiday” this year was on two wheels. We spent two weeks road tripping our way around Spain, riding nearly 2,500 miles through mountains, deserts and rural villages. I have two favourite days of the trip, the first was riding through the Bardenas Reales, which was just beautiful, and the second was riding my bike in the Spanish Sierra Nevada – and not just because I can now say I’ve ridden my little F650GS in both. I’ve not actually managed to write about the trip itself yet, but there are a couple of related travel posts below.
09. Speaking at Car Fest
I absolute love road tripping – both here in Great Britain and further afield – if life could be one massive road trip then I would be a very happy gal. Thanks to being an Ordnance Survey GetOutside Champion, this year I was asked to speak on my favourite topic at CarFest North (actual CarFest!), the muddiest weekend of my life so far – but only just! I didn’t film or record my talk, but I did write a blog post on the same theme just after the event.
10. Telling Stories at Comms Unplugged
Comms Unplugged is a not-for-profit comms person’s retreat and opportunity to connect and develop in a unique setting. And by unique they really mean it; unlike most conferences and networking events run in pretty much any sector, where you are based in a moderately fancy hotel with fluorescent lights, PowerPoint presentations and sweets on the tables, this one is run in a field in Dorset, where delegates camp, the breakout rooms are marquees, and the food is street style.
11. 71 Activities in 48 Hours
For the second year running, I wanted to use National GetOutside Day as an opportunity to demonstrate, to actually show you in deeds rather than words, how many different things there are to do outdoors. The outdoors is for all, there is something for everyone, you don’t need to have all the kills and all the equipment, and just an hour outside each day will make a massive difference to your enjoyment of everyday life. This year I managed 71 activities in 48 hours…!
12. Hiking the Brenig Way
Back in October I spent a weekend in North Wales with three friends hiking the Brenig Way. We spent three days hiking the 32-ish miles of this hugely varied new waymarked route, carrying our gear so we could wild camp along the way. There is something very special about multi-day hikes, you quickly get completely into nature and the cares of the daily grind fade into the beautiful vistas and colourful sunsets. There’s no blog post yet, but there will be, I promise!
I am fortunate that I’ve had to leave some good memories out of this list to keep it to 12 photos. Exercises like this definitely help me feel grateful for what I’ve been able to do over the last year. I wonder what photos I’ll be including next year… Here’s to many more photos taken in 2020!