Okay, so I’m a bit late. Two months late. Everyone’s done their dream places for 2016 already. But I never did think much of mainstream.
I wrote this post at the beginning of the year, but was so sick of New Years Resolution type posts that I couldn’t bring myself to blog it. So here it is now instead.
It’s never too late to dream.
For me, 2016 started on top of a dark and windy trig point, watching the bright lights of most firework displays in North Wales. It was a miracle that is wasn’t raining.
They say “start as you intend to continue” and I have every intention of visiting many more mountains in the coming year. I have to. I’m one of those people who feel the call of the hills and need to go find some adventure (fairly) regularly.
This isn’t a list of everywhere I plan to go – far from it! But given unlimited time and money, here are my dream destinations for 2016.
1. The Lake District
You were expecting something more exotic? Let me explain. I’ve been walking in the Lake District many many times. Enough to joke about the particular shade of grey, only and often seen from its cloudy summits. You many have guessed, but I don’t usually visit in the summer. Far too busy then. I like my hills barren.
Why the Lake District? Well, I want to check it’s still there. There has been torrential rain and devastating flooding in Cumbria over the past few months. When I used to take groups up there, some foreign students would get confused about why it was called “The Lakes”. Make no mistake, at time of writing I would not be surprised to hear that there’s only one huge lake now.
But unless the apocalypse is upon us, eventually the waters will have to go back into their beds. When that day comes, I want to go back and check everything’s alright.
Okay, bit of a massive jump. One of my friends has just got back from 6 months in Chile. It’s alright for some, eh? During her stay she did a bit of an expedition down by the Argentinian border. The pictures of her in front of the Torres del Paine was enough to make me want to be there. The mountains look epic. And, as if you needed another reason, it’s the only other place you can practice your welsh with the locals.
3. Alps – Cycle Touring
I’m not just a walker! Although I’m nowhere near as proficient at hill climbing on a bike, I’m always up for a bit of an adventure. There’s a high chance I’ll be doing come sort of long distance cycling trip this summer. I can guarantee it’ll be in Europe, but beyond that I’m not sure. France is always a safe bet because it’s so close to the UK. But once you’re over the channel, you may as well take in as many countries as possible! Watch this space.
4. New Zealand
Who has seen the Lord of the Rings movies and not thought: Wow, New Zealand, when do I go? Trouble is, it’s half the world away. But, since we’re dreaming, I’d love to do a “Land’s End to John O’Groats” of both islands. Most probably on foot. Who am I kidding? It looks so wonderful I’d probably want to play the visit every map square game…
5. Dolomites, Italy
I was in the Brenti Dolomites last summer and was very taken by the way they via ferrata out in Italy. It’s less of a “let’s go do this route” and more of an “oh bother, there’s an impassible bit of ridge – let’s put bolts in it”. Thin mountain parkour! On those summer travels, I was inspired by the map of a popular hut to hut trek. It’s a huge loop, with ridge lines and via ferrata just to spice things up!
6. Andes, Peru (NOT the Inca Trail)
Here’s the truth: I’m a closet archaeology fan-girl. When I was little, I saw a picture of Machu Picchu and fell in love. A hidden civilisation high up in the mountains – how could I resist? Of course, what that classic view at the top of the Inca Trail doesn’t show you, is the hoards of other tourists making the pilgrimage. It’s certainly not so secret any more.
So, if I did go to Peru, I’d hike my own private pilgrimage across the emptied part of the Andes. If I could capture some of the essence of exploration that the first archaeologists up there experienced, then I’d be pleased.
7. The Ocean
Strangely, I’ve had very few water-based adventures in my life. In fact, I realised recently that I have never been surrounded by flat, blue, open sea to the horizon. Now I want to know what it feels like.