Last year was a fun, action-filled year although not without its ups and downs. For me, those low moments are what have catapulted those highs into the top 2018 memorable moments.
Recently, I’ve been reflecting (and checking out my Top 9 on Instagram) to remind myself of my awesome hiking adventures and camping trips from this year.
The internet and social media can be a wonderful source for inspiration but also a meddlesome place too, in comparing yourself to others too.
Yes, I do it, sometimes a lot and I always tell myself off haha. So in the spirit of being open and honest with you all, my amazing trips from this year also included me making totally stupid mistakes too.
My Top Hiking Mistakes From 2018
For fun, here are my top mistakes. Hopefully, you can take a read and make sure you don’t make the same mistakes as me.
But mainly, I’d love you to have a good laugh at some of my stupid and very obvious mistakes and realise life isn’t perfect. It’s not a pretty picture captured at one moment in time.
Life is a story, with twists and turns, ups and downs (especially in the mountains hehe), tears and laughs and most of all plenty of oops moments that you can look back on an learn from (or if you’re like me, make the same mistake again haha)!
Wearing the Wrong Socks
I’ve done this twice this year, both different socks but both caused feet issues! Can you believe it? You thought I was an experienced hiker but clearly not haha.
On the Welsh 3000s Challenge, I opted for some waterproof socks I was trying out. Up until that point they had been great and stopped my feet getting wet, I thought they were the best socks in the world.
However, 11 hours in heavy rain in Snowdonia (thanks Wales), they finally gave up keeping my feet dry and instead did a not so good of keeping them wet… for over 25 hours.
The result was trench foot (yes, it hurt) and a ‘close to tears’ moment a several times towards the end of the walk. I even tried crawling at one point they hurt that much, but rocks on the knees is not a good idea!
The second time I made the same mistake was later in the year on the Jurassic Coast walk. It was summer, I didn’t want to wear my thick good quality walking socks so grabbed a lightweight (and cheaper version). It’s safe to say this was a dumb decision.
Day 2 on my six-day hike, Mr Blister arrived and did not leave me for the entire hike. Of course, it’s nice to share the hike with someone but a blister is not who you want to join you.
What did I learn?
- Good socks are just socks. Bad socks make you cry!
Running Out Of Water
Back to the Jurassic Coast Hike, I’d not done lots of hiking trips with a heavy rucksack, another mistake haha! So to reduce my pack weight I’d come up with a strategy to carry less water. A genius idea or so I thought until it came to running out.
Since I was wild camping I needed extra water for my overnight camping stops. I’d planned to hike a 7-mile remote section in full but due to my blister hurting like @£$% I decided to stop for the day and rest overnight.
What I hadn’t factored in was the water I needed for cooking my dinner and keep hydrated. There were no streams or water sources but I decided I would be ok.
It wasn’t until the following day I was walking in search of water, I felt like I was in a desert haha. There was no water to be found so I had a long morning hike with nothing! Yes, I’m still here to tell the tale but I wouldn’t advise it!
What did I learn?
- Don’t be a lazy sod and carry more water in the first place.
Read next: My Top 10 UK Hikes From 2018
I am now using a Water-to-Go Water Bottle which has an inbuilt filter, so providing you can find water you can drink water from streams without needing to boil it.
You can get a 20% discount off if you subscribe to my emails (at the bottom of this email)
Knowing How To Use My Swiss Army Knife
I’ve had my Swiss Army Knife for a few years. It’s an awesome gadget, I use the knife when camping or staying in hostels that only seems to have blunt knives! Of course, the bottle opener is another regularly used attachment.
But there was one feature I’d not used before, the tin opener.
And I choose a wild camping trip in the Peak District and a tin of tuna to be my moment to use this gadget.
As you can imagine, it didn’t go well. It’s difficult to describe what I did, but by the time I was finished, the can it looked like it had been through a machine trying to mangle it up (yes, that really it the photo I took).
Yes, I did get into it and had a delicious dinner but it honestly took me nearly 20 minutes!
What did I learn?
- Look cool with your penknife but for less stress buy the tins with the easy pull ring for camping trips haha
Finding a Wild Camping Spot
During the gorgeous summer months, I regularly drove to the Peak District late in the afternoon for an evening hike and wild camp. Those long summer nights were amazing and I wanted to make the most of every hour possible and #getoutside more.
One trip, I’d planned a route and potential camping spot and off I went. It was a beautiful evening, I hiked, ate snacks, took photos, saw some wild red deer and had an amazing time.
But then I realised it was starting to get late. I picked up the pace and headed to where I was going to camp, the top of one of the Peak District Hills. There was thick heather all around but I was confident the summit would be an amazing place to pitch my little Vango Banshee.
I don’t know why but I was convinced there would be a perfect tent-sized space at the top. Anyway, as you might have guessed, there was no spot, instead, there was a lot of heather and rocks.
Darkness was closing in (cue the spooky music haha), I wanted to set up camp and eat my delightful Summit to Eat Freeze-dried meal. But instead, I was hiking in the darkness trying to find a spot.
And if you’ve been to the Peak District you’ll know how much heather there is so finding a spot was a challenge. I did finally set up camp and enjoy my luxury meal!
What did I learn?
- Heather is beautiful and great to photograph, but you can’t pitch a tent on it.
Messing About Taking Jumping Photos
Now you might not consider this a big hiking mistake. I love my jumping photos (as you may have spotted on my Instagram) and whether I see a great jumping opportunity I will, of course, leap into action. The important thing to remember when jumping is your landing spot.
Yes, I know the grass above in the Lake District looks lovely and soft but there were some naughty rocks hiding too! I wasn’t happy with my first jumping shot so I tried another and it’s that jump I landed on a rock. Luckily, I didn’t do any major damage but it could have been different.
For the remainder of the hike, it hurt, not like a broken leg pain but enough to make me think, doh, that was stupid!
What did I learn?
- The first photo is always the best (oh, and rocks hurt)
Having The Kit But Not With Me on The Hike
Over the years, I’ve bought a wide range of hiking equipment. Gadgets, rucksacks, things to help or stop my kit getting wet! I have some great stuff but this year my memory (or maybe organisation skills seemed to fail me).
The common failings and things that I’ve left behind have been my camera tripod bracket, dry bags, first aid kit and my good gloves.
But the winner of the thing I’ve left behind the most this year has been my wonderful, very helpful hiking poles. They genuinely make it easier going uphill and downhill, giving extra support to my knees that aren’t a fan of those downhills!
A memorable hiking trip when I had full camping gear, for my birthday Peak District adventure. I also had a mini bottle of champagne, red wine, olives, hummus and nice bread haha (oh, and an ice block to keep it at a nice temperature). It was only a short 6-mile hike, hmm only! Well, my rucksack weighed nearly 17 kg and the route was mainly uphill.
Hmm, where were my lovely hiking poles? Yes, you’ve guessed it, they were hanging out at home. Good job I had that wine when I arrived at my camp to reward myself!
What did I learn?
- Use my brain and TAKE MY WALKING POLES – I’m hoping that will help me remember them now!
Looking Forward to My 2019’s Mistakes
I hope you’ve enjoyed (and learnt a little something) from all my mistakes this year. I’m sure there were more but maybe I’ve blocked them out of my memory haha.
On to next year and my BIGGEST challenge to date.
If you’ve been following me for a while then you’ll know that next year I’m going to be hiking 800-miles across Britain raising for Mind Charity and encouraging people to get outside more.
I’m pretty sure that adventure will be full of stories, mistakes and fun so keep following for more great tips.
Want to know more about the big hike?
Read here: Hiking 800+ miles across Britain
What has been your biggest hiking mistake? Tell me in the comments, come on I could do with a laugh and to prove that you are not a robot haha.
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