2017 was quite an exciting year! Craig and I got engaged right at the start, and since then it’s been pretty packed with big trips, adventures and just a few goals ticked off my bucket list. Here are just a few highlights:
In March I travelled to Geneva to complete my Explorer Belt with Robyn and Lewis. It’s a Scouting award that involves a 10-day hike abroad, exploring somewhere new and learning about the local culture. We hiked through Switzerland and France, attempting to walk most of the way around Lac Leman. There were a few challenges, but overall it was an amazing journey!
The summer brought lots of Bronze DofE expeditions with some pretty cool groups of young people. I took lots of photos and listened to a few audiobooks while I dawdled behind them on the trails.
In June Craig and I went back up to Skye, joined by Sam and Amy. It was a great weekend, if not a little windy to be camping. This is the second time we’ve gone up to complete the Skye Half Marathon – but it seems I hadn’t done as much training as I did in 2016. I ran a slightly slower race at 2.12. Exploring some more of the island was more enjoyable than attempting to run fast.
In July, a team of us headed up to Fort William to complete a fundraising challenge for a charity called Urban Uprising. On day one we summited Ben Nevis via the CMD arete. It was a hard day, with the climb up from the CIC hut being a real struggle – it just seemed to go on and on. The next day we climbed the same height again, but this time in the local climbing wall. It was a long hard day, and I think we used a whole roll of tape by the end of it.
October was manic. The first week was my Mountain Leader assessment. It was tough going, but overall a lot more enjoyable than I was expecting. I don’t take any photos but I do have loads from all of the hiking that I’d done earlier in the year to prepare for the assessment.
I had a week at home before I headed up to Glenmore Lodge to help run five day a DofE leadership residential.
Four days later I was heading off to Prague to attend the International Gold Event. This is run by The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award every three years and takes place in a different location each time. For a whole week, I got to work with other Gold Award holders to try and encourage and support the development of the DofE in the Czech Republic. It was a really exciting experience, and I got to meet some really amazing and hard working people. My group were sent out on a field trip to Centrum Parable where they were keen to run the DofE, but didn’t quite know how to make it work. Our job was to develop a project proposal which could then be put into place by the centre and the DofE Czech team. It was a really cool experience, and excitingly our project was one of three chosen to be funded and supported immediately!
November was only slightly less frantic! Three days after I got home from Prague, Craig and I flew to New Zealand! I was may have been more excited than 100 kids at Christmas.
I cannot express quite how amazing the trip was! We explored the North Island for three weeks, and could happily have spent another week there. We’ve both had so many “What’s your top 5?” discussions, and we both change our answers every time. Kayaking on Lake Taupo, visiting Hobbiton and the Weta cave, going to the rugby league quarter-final and hiking the Tongariro crossing were just a few of the things we got up to, and it was all phenomenal!
Thanks 2017 – you were grand!