It's the middle of winter, and there is snow on the hills outside my workshop window. Daylight hours are very short at the moment, which is a bit of a problem when you're as busy as I currently am - I'm definitely struggling to find enough daytime to do everything I want to do in.
This is, in part, due to the fact that as 2018 rolled over into 2019, I decided to challenge myself a little to start the new year. I don't do new year resolutions, and never have, but I do like to push myself a bit, especially when its the middle of winter and its so easy to kick back and wait for better weather and longer days before you get off your backside again.
It's two years since we moved out into the Peak district from Sheffield, and I promised myself that I would make sure I never took where I now live for granted. I am so lucky to live where I do, so I decided that in January I would try to walk up the hill behind our house everyday. Sounds like a simple enough idea, but the reality has proved that even simple ideas often need a little more effort than you first think.
The hill behind my house is Lose Hill. I can walk out of my back garden and straight up the hill, and I often do this walk with the family and dogs at the weekend. With everybody in tow, it is a pleasant 90 minute ramble, stopping off to look at the amazing views, take a breather, etc. My rationale was that it would be a quick jaunt on my own every day before work which shouldn't take more than an hour. Easy.
The reality has been different! For a start, its January, and weather down here in the valley is ok, but a thousand feet further up it is often a lot more inclement! Secondly, the ground conditions are such that walking in the dark is very tough going (with a lot of time spent slipping over and sliding down muddy/icy slopes on ones arse). Thirdly, I have a several jobs to hold down, and a family life to enjoy. Ducking out for an hour to go and walk up a big hill is not as easy an option as I thought. Finally, given my time constraints, I have often had to go up and down the hill as fast as I can, which as well as being pretty tiring has lead to niggly old injuries rearing their ugly heads - not really what I want....
I have persevered though, and have to date managed to make up and down the hill for the last 22 consecutive days. I have blundered through white-out blizzard conditions, 80 mph winds, sub-zero temperatures and pouring rain. I have fallen over numerous times whilst trying to get back down the hill after my race to get home before nightfall has been lost. But every time I have got to the top I have realised what a lucky man I am to be able to enjoy this stupid challenge. By the end of the month I should also have clocked around 70 miles of walking, and 31,000 feet of elevation gain (a bit more than Everest)!
Apart from walking, I have also been route setting a lot in my new bit of climbing wall, building the production prototype of the Infinity Board (more on this in the future!), and even doing a spot of woodwork. Below is a shot of the latest chair I have made - this one is called a Captains Chair and is my own design. Very comfy indeed, and I have already been asked to make another so its all good. Just need to find a bit more time to do it.........!