Adventures of 2019

14 January 2020

If there's one thing I learnt about myself last year, is that I truly find my passion within spending time outdoors. It's helped me a lot over the past year, It's become almost like a medicine for my anxiety. As soon as I step out with my walking boots on, it soothes my soul and allows me to reset again. My troubles may still be there, but for a while those problems are moved to the back of my mind. Instead all I'm thinking about is what's surrounding me. The colours of the landscapes, how tall the trees stretch up to the sky, reflections in the lakes, birds chirping in the trees, fungi that sweeps the forest floors, squirrels bouncing along the paths and mist hugging the pines and mountain tops. 

I started last year dreaming of going on some big adventures, to visit the rugged landscapes of Scotland and the magnificent lakes of the Lake District. And that dream became true. I met Dan, my boyfriend and adventure partner, who I've shared all these adventures with. And with our first adventure in the Peak District, came adventures from across the Lake District and up North to the Cairngorms. We've been to all kinds of places, exploring new landscapes and revisiting our favourite places throughout the seasons.

Although with plenty of ups and downs last year and going through a really tough patch with my anxiety, the adventures were what kept me going and have still kept me going. I would love to get back into sharing adventures again on the blog this year and so I thought I would start my first post of 2020 sharing highlights from our adventures from last year!

Back in spring we visited the Lake District for the first time, spending a week away in Windermere. We visited some of the most famous lakes, exploring Buttermere and Crummock Water, Ullswater and Derwent Water which we were very excited to find out that Star Wars: The Force Awakens was filmed there! We also wandered through two of the Lake Districts biggest forests, Whinlatter and Grizedale, where we followed waymarked trails that took us deep into the forests. The Lake District has certainly become our place, we loved it so much so that we took a couple of day trips over the summer months.

Although not a fan of the heat in summer, we still ventured out to the Peak District. We walked along part of the Monsal Trail, that took us through dark and mysterious old train tunnels and along viaducts amongst the trees. We took an evening sunset walk at Mam Tor and the Great Ridge and went back to the Lake District to climb Walla Crag. We then travelled down South to visit the New Forest for the first time, where we explored the tall trees trail, walking amongst the tallest Redwood pines. We'll definitely be planning another trip to the New Forest at some point soon!

When autumn began to arrive, we embraced every single moment of it. Visiting Snake Pass and Ladybower Reservoir as the trees started to show off their glorious autumn tones. I had seen on Twitter that the Derwent Dam was overflowing and so we thought it would be the perfect opportunity to get some snaps of the overflowing water down the dam! We explored a couple of National Trust locations, Calke Abbey being one of our favourites where we spotted plenty of fungi amongst the woodland paths. Sherwood Pines, which is part of Forestry England was also a favourite to visit throughout autumn, the morning light was beautifully shining through the canopies of the tall pines and glowing upon the sea of copper ferns.

Our week away in Scotland was next up and we travelled all the way up to the Cairngorms National Park. It's a trip away I'll never forget, with so much wildlife and beauty amongst the landscapes, the Cairngorms was purely full of magic. I had been struggling with stress before going away to Scotland, feeling overly tired and drained and having lots of different things on my mind that had been worrying me. But once we went away to Scotland, all of what I had been worrying about had just been pushed to the back of my mind. Each day was an adventure and we had printed off plenty of walks beforehand so we could choose a couple to walk each day. There was something truly magical about the lochs in the Cairngorms and the views of the mountains in the distance. We even went to see the Cairngorm Reindeer Herd, where we went on a guided hill walk to part of the Cairngorm Mountain range and walked amongst the reindeers.

We just couldn't believe how much wildlife we saw whilst away in the Cairngorms. One of our favourite moments from the trip was walking back to the car amongst the forest beside Loch Garten and then spotting our first ever red squirrel in a tree! We then went off to the Osprey Centre and saw more squirrels, woodpeckers and hand fed little coal tits with bird seed.

We continued to embrace the last of autumn and walked amongst the ancient woodlands of Padley Gorge to capture the last of the autumn colours. We had yet to properly explore parts of Yorkshire and so headed out to the North Yorkshire Moors to visit Dalby Forest, which had been on our to-visit list for a while. Dan had purchased a new telephoto lens for wildlife photography and so we thought we'd give it a test run at Clumber Park, one of our favourite places to visit for seeing plenty of geese, swans, ducks and squirrels! We took a long walk around the lake, capturing lots of wildlife along the way. One of my favourite parts was watching the squirrels run up to us and chasing each other around the trees. We managed to capture a beautiful sunset at the end of the walk, which lit up the sky with soft pinks, peaches and purples.

Heading into winter we met deer and Highland cows at Lyme Park in the Peak District. Ever since visiting Scotland we fell in love with the Highland cows and were happy to see them in the fields at Lyme Park. To end the year we had some more animal encounters and visited WWT Martin Mere, where we saw many different species of ducks, geese and swans. We hand fed the geese and ducks and got to watch a spectacular view of thousands of wetland wildlife fly in across the mere for feeding time.

We're very much looking forward to plenty of adventures across all the seasons this year!

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