OUTDOORS | 12 Big Moments From 2017 – A Year Of Heartache, Hope & Happiness

Camping with Style Camping Blog | Activities • Glamping • Travel • Adventure

2017 has proved to be another amazing year, but one that came very close to ending in tradegy after my mum was left fighting for her life.

With a long term relationship ending, and a new one beginning, it’s been a year of change, but of positive change.

I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors and feel more connected to the natural world that I have done for a very long time, and the year is definitely ending on a high!

Here’s a summary of some of the best and toughest bits of 2017…

January 2017 Urban walk with friends on New Year’s Day

walton hall park liverpoolI love finding hidden gems like Walton Park amidst a bustling city

We kicked the year off by going for a bracing new year’s day walk with friends in Liverpool. The 4 mile walk was just what we needed to clear our heads after a night of partying and it was the perfect start to what turned out to be the year I spent more time outdoors than I’ve done since I was a carefree child.

A New Year’s Day Walk Around Walton Park in Liverpool

February 2017 Facing fears in Delamere Forest

The view down from one of the tree top platforms Go ApeThis was a pretty big deal for someone with vertigo and a lifelong fear of heights!

OK so to most people Go Ape isn’t exactly the pinnacle of daring adventure, but for me, with vertigo and a lifelong fear of heights, it was a big deal. A couple of years ago I’d have simply turned an opportunity like that down without a second thought, but when I was approached to try out the classic treetop adventure, I immediately said yes.

Once I’d got over my terror, I loved it, though I must admit to liking the zip wires more than the walking across wobbly high things! It just goes to show that having a positive ‘yes’ mindset can reap rewards and it felt like I’d truly started the year as I meant to go on!

A Day of Adventure at Go Ape Delamere Forest, Cheshire

March 2017 Glamping with the whole family

Some of the quirky glamping accommodation at Glamping Thorpe

In March we stayed at one of the quirkiest glamping sites we’ve ever been to! We slept in a converted horse box, whilst my sister stayed in a stunning shepherds hut and the whole family got together for a party at fantastic Glamping Thorpe in Oxfordshire.

Ultra-Quirky Glamping For Couples & Groups at Glamping Thorpe in Oxfordshire

April 2017 Exploring northern Cornwall

Padstow harbour in Cornwall on a Spring dayPadstow harbour in Cornwall

In April we headed down to Cornwall and stayed in a gorgeous lodge at Juliots Well. We explored Padstow and despite an ankle injury, managed to make it up to Tintagel for some breathtaking views.

We also visited the magical St. Nectans Glen, marking the first of many waterfalls that I’d visit during 2017.

The Perfect Spring Weekend Break at Juliots Well, Plus Out & About In North Cornwall

May 2017 Bucket list Indian Ocean diving

Snorkelling in the Maldives, Coco Palm Dhuni KolhuSnorkeling in the Indian Ocean on my bucket-list holiday

In May I went on a bucket list holiday to the Indian Ocean where I swam with sharks, spotted lionfish, stroked a moray eel and cried my eyes out when I saw a Manta Ray. The trip was everything I’d hoped it would be and more.

Discovering the Stunning Biodiversity of the Maldives

June 2017 Solo Scottish road trip and mountain summit

Ridge walk between Beinn Ghlas and Ben LawersNearing the summit of Ben Lawers on my first solo hike

Soon after I returned from the Maldives I embarked on a solo road trip to Scotland. I glamped on my own close to Loch Tay, and did my first ever mountain walk on my own too.

Having attempted the walk the previous year, we’d had to turn back due to blizzard conditions and deep snow, so this time I was determined to reach the two summits of Beinn Ghals and Ben Lawers.

I planned my route meticulously but I was actually quite nervous as I set off. The weather at the base was sweltering and came as a shock, and though I found a couple of parts of the walk demanding, I did it! Confidence wise, it did me the world of good!

My Scottish Road Trip – Kayaking on a Loch & Standing On Top Of Mountains

July 2017  Camping with friends at Cae Du Wales

Camping with friends at my favourite campsite

We love Cae Du campsite in Wales and this year we were lucky enough to return with a big group of friends for several glorious sunny days in July.

Living all over the country and with our own demanding lives, it’s rare that we get to spend so much quality time with our friends, so our camping trip felt like a real treat and also gave me the chance to review a funky new tent too.

5 Nights Camping In The Stunning New Star Canopy Bell Tent from Boutique Camping

August 2017 Critical illness

Mum starting to make good progress on ICUMum on her way to recovery on the Intensive Care ward

In July my mum was rushed into hospital, and I stood in horror beside her hospital bed watching the stats on her monitor plummet as her lung function completely ceased and she lost consciousness. It was a harrowing experience, but after nearly 2 weeks in Intensive care, mum was finally well enough to come home.

I will never be able to express the graitute I feel for the team at Stafford hospital who battled for over an hour to save my mums’ life, nor the team that looked after her whilst she was in intensive care at Royal Univeristy Hospital Stoke.

We have always been a close family, but this Christmas feels like the biggest gift we’ve ever been given.

Spending all day every day in a waiting room, the rollercoaster of being told to give up hope then glimpses of improvement took it’s toll on us all, and for the sake of my own sanity, I sought a few hours away from the hospital in order to be alone with my thoughts out on the water.

Me kayaking at Astbury Mere in Cheshire

A Moment Of Reflection Kayaking Out On The Water – Time Outdoors During A Crisis

As mum started to get stronger, towards the end of August I once again set off on my own, this time for a long bank holiday break down in Cornwall. I stayed in a stunning yurt at The Fir Hill and booked a wildlife spotting boat trip and went on a sea kayaking adventure. Sea kayaking is something I’d always wanted to do, and I loved every second of it and I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Kayaking in Cornwall, August 2017Kayaking off the coast of St. Agnes in Cornwall

Exploring The St Agnes Coast With Koru Kayaking, Trevaunance Cove in Cornwall

September 2017 Walking in Wainwrights footsteps

Near the summit of Catbells having done my very first Wainwright walk

I had fully intended to visit the Lake District well before September but had such a busy year, the opportunity didn’t arrive until late.

Castlerigg Hall campsiteAutumn camping trip at Castlerigg Hall campsite, Cumbria

We decided a bit of Autumn camping was in order, and returned to one of our favourite campsites, Castlerigg Hall, and whilst in the area we did our very first Wainwright walk.

Hawse End to Catbells & Camping in Cumbria on the Autumn Equinox

October 2017 Discovering walking in the Lancashire Moors

Walking on the Lancashire moors for the first time

After the amicable break up of my relationship earlier in the year, by this time I had someone new in my life who not only shares my passion for the outdoors but also writes about the outdoors and is a keen walker and ecologist.

Slowly the sorrow I naturally felt at the end of my previous relationship was replaced with a new found sense of happiness, and we wasted no time in spending as much time outdoors as possible.

Our very first walk at the start of October took us up into the Lancashire Moors as we walked from Brinscall up to Great Hill.

Brinscall to Great Hill – Walking In The Lancashire Moors

November 2017 Discovering there’s more to Snowdonia than Snowdon

Aber Fall Circular WalkAber Falls in Snowdonia

We booked a luxury weekend break with Under the Thatch and stayed in a stunning Victorian cottage in Snowdonia.

Inside the Caretaker's Cottage Llanwrst ConwyInside the beautiful cottage in Snowdonia

We chose the property mainly based on it’s location and we managed to get in two great walks over the weekend, including a walk at Newborough Warren and Llanddwyn Island in Angelsey, as well as a lovely circular walk to Aber Falls in North Wales which took us through some magiacl ancient woodland, to two enormous waterfalls and then onwards towards the North Wales coast providing us with expansive views of Angelsey.

Walking Aber Falls, Wales, 7.42km Circular Walk

December 2017  Snowy canal winter walk in Wheelton

Wheelton Canal WalkLock number 59 in Wheelton, Lancashire

During a weekend which saw much the UK blanketed in snow, we headed up to Leyland in Lancashire for a weekend break.

The light was stunning thanks to the low winter sun, cloudless skies and reflection of the bright white snow. The simple joy of walking on a cold but bright and sunny winters day never gets old for me; there’s something so life affirming about hearing the crunch of snow underfoot and feeling the warmth of the sun on your face.

A Snowy Winter Canal Walk in Wheelton, Lancashire

Finishing 2017 on a high

I’m finishing the year happier than I’ve ever been and confident that whilst next year is sure to throw up it’s own challenges, I’ll be able to face whatever comes my way.

2017 was all about prioritising my own wellbeing, saying yes more to travel, adventure and spending more time outdoors whilst saying no to more freelance work and stress and I’ve made a good start at creating a healthier work/life balance.

What I’m looking forward to in 2018

In 2018 I’m looking forward to focusing more on my own wellbeing, there will be heaps more camping, walking, I’d like to learn to kite buggy and I’m hoping to arrange to go sea kayaking again. I also want to try climbing outdoors, to finally master SUP, and I’m keen to snorkel or even dive off the coast here in the UK.

Finally I’d also really like to get back up to Scotland again, and we are currently planning a week long Scottish road trip for some time in 2018.

Here’s to you!

I’d like to wish you a very happy new year, and would like to take a moment to say a big heartfelt thank you to all of the team here at Camping with Style, my family and friends and to you the readers for your ongoing support.

Happy 2018!

Shell x