Sanna beaches, Ardnamurchan

My top 10 highlights of 2017

As is my blog tradition I like to review the year in passing.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect and this year has had its share of sad times, frustrations and grumpy children. But there were plenty of great times too and I ticked off a few things on my UK bucket list. Without further ado here are my top 10 of 2017 (in no particular order):

1. Watching the sunset at Newborough beach, Anglesey

Brent geese flying from Newborough beach
Brent geese flying from Newborough beach

This was the most perfect sunset of the year, possibly because it was so unexpected. The weather in Anglesey was, let’s say, mixed.

Newborough beach is a long sandy beach backed by dunes and forest. From the car park it’s a half hour walk out to the tidal island of Llanddwyn Island for more spectacular views. Just keep an eye on the tide otherwise you might be spending the night there.

Newborough beach sunset, Anglesey
Newborough beach sunset, Anglesey

2. Bryan Adams at Cornbury Festival

I was never much of a Bryan Adams fan and I hated the over-played ‘Everything I do I do it for you’ song back in the 1990s. But guess what? Bryan Adams was completely and unexpectedly amazing. He’s one of those performers that commands the stage and it was a revelation how many songs I knew and could sing along with. I’m sure he appreciated my contribution.

3. Walking the South Downs Way

View from Rackham Banks
View from Rackham Banks

Back at the start of January I decided the family needed a challenge. A 100 mile walking challenge to be precise. Split over four weekends we’ve now walked the South Downs Way from Winchester to Eastbourne. Logistics and weather weren’t always on our side but the views, evening meals and sense of achievement more than made up for the sore feet and wet clothing. Not sure I can persuade them to walk the Pennine Way though.

View from Birling Gap
View from Birling Gap

4. Wereldband at Edinburgh Fringe Festival

We spent three days at Edinburgh Fringe Festival, watching an eclectic mix of musicals, comedy and theatre. All of us had our individual favourites but the one act we all agreed on was Wereldband. This Dutch group is best described as a collection of slapstick musicians but this understates their talent, imagination and energy. Sometimes there was so much going on it was hard to decide who or what to watch. If you ever get the chance, go see them!

5. Worbarrow Bay walk

Pondfield Cove, Dorset
Pondfield Cove, Dorset

Whilst in Dorset we walked from the MoD village of Tyneham to the coast at Worbarrow Bay. The path passes through land used for military practise so there’s plenty of warning notices and unusual sights to keep an eye out for.

Worbarrow Tout, Dorset
Worbarrow Tout, Dorset

The bay itself, and particularly Worbarrow Tout, is picture perfect. Although the water is freezing in May. You have been warned.

6. The Ardnamurchan Peninsula

Portuairk, Ardnamurchan
Portuairk, Ardnamurchan

We spent four days exploring the Ardnamurchan Peninsula, and it’s now one of my favourite areas in Scotland (except the Isle of Eigg, nowhere beats that). Ardnamurchan is remote, empty of tourists and stunningly beautiful. But you’d probably hate it so please don’t go!

Ardnamurchan Point
Ardnamurchan Point

7. Highland Games, Skye

Dancers at Skye Highland Games
Dancers at Skye Highland Games

There were more tourists than locals at the Skye Highland Games but the traditional mix of sports, piping and dance lived up to my expectations.

I’m still in awe of those competing in the heavy events, I really must practise my tree trunk lifting.

8. Running the Oxford half marathon

I need a challenge to keep me running regularly. There’s no way I’d ever run a marathon again but I quite enjoy running half the distance. The conditions and route for Oxford half marathon were perfect and I was pleased to run a PB. I might even do it again next year.

9. An inaugural music festival

I’ll keep quiet on the location of this as it was a private festival held over midsummer. Camping out in a friend’s field, watching a hilarious tribute act (performing 30 different musicians in an hour) and then rocking to a 90s tribute band. The kids roamed free, returning occasionally with tales of misbehaving grown ups. An excellent night and already in the diary again for 2018.

10. Twixmas walking break in the Lake District

Heading to the summit of Sergeant Man, Lake District
Heading to the summit of Sergeant Man, Lake District

I’ve previously managed to miss my yearly Twixmas walking breaks off my top 10 posts, usually because I’m more organised and have written the blog before the end of the year. But this year I’m less organised so it takes its rightful place.

Descent off of Lingmoor Fell
The traditional way off Lingmoor Fell

This year’s trip, as always with Country Adventures, was based in Ambleside in the Lake District. Our first day was spent enjoying a sunny, albeit icy, walk in the fells above Grasmere. The weather was more interesting on the second day (snow, then rain) but there was still fun to be had in the form of tobogganing and snowball throwing. A great sociable break as always.

The quick way off Lingmoor Fell
The quick way off Lingmoor Fell

How about you? What were your highlights? And what does 2018 hold in store?

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19 thoughts on “My top 10 highlights of 2017”

  1. I’ve really enjoyed looking at your stunning photos and sharing in your adventures during the past year. Thank you for taking the time to post and inspiring us to venture out and explore this beautiful country we live in, even when we get lost, plans get ambushed and we have to drag our sulky partners/teenagers with us! Happy new year, and may 2018 bring you and your readers more new horizons and unforgettable experiences.

    1. Thanks Sarah. Not quite sure what 2018 holds in store yet although we’re going walking in Majorca in April and then hopefully back to the Lakes this summer. The Welsh Fans sounds interesting, never thought of doing those before!

  2. Ooh looks like you had some great adventures in 2017! Worbarrow Tout looks amazing, as does Ardnamurchan Peninsula – although haha I like what you did there to keep it remote and discourage people from flocking to it Happy New Year and I hope you have a ton of fun adventures to look forward to in 2018!

  3. Looks like a fantastic year of adventures. Those white cliffs are amazing, and fun you got to see Bryan Adams in concert! I’m wondering how many songs I might unexpectedly know too ;). #farawayfiles

  4. Happy New Year Christine. I loved all your photos of the UK’s great outdoors over last year. Dorset especially has a particular windswept charm that I’m sorry we missed. #FarawayFiles

  5. Beautiful list of lovely adventures last year Christine! Those white cliffs are stunning! We loved our hiking in Northern Norway and I’m craving more mountains for 2018. It’s so flat in Copenhagen! Look forward to following along this year’s travel with #FarawayFiles, thanks for sharing. Cheers, Erin

  6. Beautiful places. Thanks for sharing this article with us. As I see from the article you have had a really good year 🙂 I wish you to travel a lot more in 2018 and then to tell us about your exciting trips.

  7. Hi Christine, you are far more organised than me! I also like to do a look back post of the year, but every year it seems to get later, and later. You did some beautiful walks last year, the 100-mile walking challenge was a good goal to set… I’ve cut right back on my running as I am concerned about my hip health at the moment. I would hate not to be able to walk!

    xx

    1. I think you should do a top ten post of Zakynthos walks (after you’ve written your photographic guidebook of course). I’m still running, and in the midst of a mid-life crisis signed up for an ultra marathon yesterday. Not sure how that happened as I swore I’d never run another marathon.

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