Around this time of year an important milestone, a personal turning point, is reached.  The happy coincidence of a bright afternoon and a window of opportunity in the welter of work and family responsibilities will have me barrelling home, flinging on a coat, lacing up my boots (metaphorically at least) and getting out for a first post-walk daylight stroll of the new year. Usually, it arrives sometime in February when the snowdrops are poking toward the light and perhaps a few primroses are flowering.


It’s almost a dead-cert that I will head down to the Cove to try to catch the sunset, and that I will arrive too late, but that I won’t mind too much, will simply be glad to be out.


This year it happened much earlier, just a couple of days ago in fact. A was keen to join me. Although the sun had set, the moon was bright in the south east and beside it a first ‘star’ which I think must have been Jupiter.

That brief saunter seems to have turned a switch somewhere in the inner recesses. It’s as if the new year has begun in earnest and suddenly I’m full of schemes and pipe-dreams again. Things I’d like to return to in 2013. High on the agenda is messing about in boats: to do some sailing; to buy, beg, borrow, blag, build a Canadian Canoe. I’m also very keen to fit in a wild camp sometime, somewhere. (To ‘fit into’ a wild camp is the principal problem here: sleeping bags tend to be one size, which in my case doesn’t fit all). After the Garsdale to Kirkby Stephen walk which CJ and I did late last year, and after avidly reading many of the posts and much of the information over at The 214 Wainwright Fells: without a car I’m also keen to try some more point-to-point routes using public transport.

Talking of milestones, I was reading James’ post at Backpackingbongos about his blogiversary:

I just received a message from WordPress to tell me that it is four years to the day that I started this blog.

…and feeling slightly disgruntled that WordPress have never sent me any messages of that sort, when lo and behold, what should turn up today, via the ether, but:

You registered on WordPress.com 5 years ago!

Well, well, bloody hell, as John Cooper Clarke might have put it, 5 years of inanities: who’d have thought it? Here’s to the next 5 years, and to all of you who have occasionally scanned through my wittering or have been kind enough to take the time to comment.

Prost! Sláinte! Santé! Skål! Arriba, abajo, al centro, para adentro! L’chaim! Cheers!


15 thoughts on “L’chaim!

  1. Well done Mark. Time flies when you are busy blogging, doesn’t it? Strangely I find your WordPress much easier for commenting than James’s (I’ve given up there – he seems to have loads of regular commenters anyway) though finding time to comment at all is sometimes a bit of a battle…
    Have a great year

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      You too Martin!
      Yes – my comments are sporadic and often late, and yes, I realise I too often choose to comment where not so many other people have. Very odd that backpackingbongos would be harder to comment on, although, when I think about it, the same thing applies with various blogger blogs.

  2. Still winter down here in Herefordshire, several inches of snow in the garden. I’m waiting for a clear moonlit evening and I’m going out for a night hike.

    Congrats on 5 years, I’m 3 years behind and approaching my second birthday. Still have my mojo intact

  3. I built two boats in the past – the first was a rowing/saling skiff made from marine ply using the stitch and epoxy glue method similar to the Mirror Dinghy. The second was a strange cabin sailing cruiser with a 440lb lead keel, and sheathed in glass cloth (Bolger Micro). If you decide to look further into such a project I would be pleased to pass on any help I can, but I warn you, once started it is very addictive.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      How astute of you to grasp the key point in amongst all of the blather. I have been looking at courses/holidays which offer the opportunity to build your own canoe. However – they are still expensive, and I am possibly the least practical man on the planet – even small DIY jobs terrify me. But: one of our lads seems to have a very practical bent and he would love to do something like this I’m sure, and I want to encourage him, and I’d like to have a boat for us all to mess about in. I don’t know – it doesn’t work out any cheaper than buying second hand. I shall be deliberating for a while yet I think.
      Thanks for the very generous offer of advice – I may get back to you!

  4. oscarpeach says:

    Congratulations! I love reading your blog for vicarious walking experiences. I still have quite young kids, so it’s hard to walk far – though can venture for walks with the oldest now. Hoping to have a few more actual experiences this year. REally enjoy the range of walking that you do and the wonderful pictures. Here’s to the next 5 years.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thank you. It is tricky with children, but you can still have good days out if you adjust your expectations, as I’m sure you’ve found! Enjoy your real experiences this year!

  5. Happy 5th Birthday! Worpress have never sent me anything either. Do you have to be older than 2 or 3 do you think, for them to notice you? Can’t even remember when I started the blog, but it’s definitely younger than 3.

    Anyway, what you’ve got is Spring Fever. I sometimes get it too.

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      I’m guessing that it’s a new feature. I have to confess, I knew that the blogs 5th anniversary was coming up – sad obsessive that I am.
      Spring Fever – yes that sounds right. Long may it continue!

  6. There is no way you would save money building your own boat versus buying one second hand. The money spent on building has to be regarded as an indulgence in a hobby, so you need to be enthusiastic, or better still, obsessed about the “pleasures” and problem solving of the building process. I could tell you the story of casting the lead keel on my last boat, but…

    1. beatingthebounds says:

      Thanks Alan.
      Paddling the Periphery – literally or metaphorically? Might be more apposite than you realise – I often feel that’s what I spend most of my time doing – paddling on the periphery, meandering around the margins, perambulating on the perimeter, venturing around the verge, freewheeling on the fringe……

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