Climbing up High Cup Nick
I love to climb and I love a view. I love the freedom of the hills.

I achieved all three of my passions on the climb to the top of High Cup Nick – a walk  that I did with Andy and Jonathan (of Where2walk  fame).  High Cup Nick is splendour in the North Pennines Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB).

The views  from the top, over the Eden Valley, are stunning.  My route up to High Cup Nick was adapted from the route that Julia walked when she climbed to the top of this wonderful Valley. It is a walk that requires a sturdy 4×4 all terrain wheelchair as there is a bit of a boulder field to cross at the top. Other than that the track up from Dufton is a good one.

Memory… wow… just wow.

Filming in the Yorkshire Dales
The TOG team had a wonderful week filming accessible walks in the Yorkshire Dales. Our visit was during the heatwave that hit Britain, with temperatures hitting 35C.  It was an  experience  to see Aysgarth Falls without water. It was amazing. So too was Cotter Force – another lovely accessible waterfall in the Yorkshire Dales.

We had a wonderful stay at Cottage in the Dales – a fully accessible self- catering cottage. A huge congratulation to Diane and Andrew on their recent LABC Building Excellence Award.

Memory… a waterfall with no water…. incredible.

Going to the Houses of Parliament
Andy, Holly and I were invited to attend the Campaign For National Parks Awards held at The Houses of Parliament. I was honoured to asked to be one of the Judges this year. A huge congratulations to the Dartmoor Project on winning the award this year.

Memory… I met Caroline Quentin too  – president for Campaign for National parkswhat a lovely lady. 

Walkers are Welcome Conference in Norfolk
This year  the TOG team  spoke at the Walkers are Welcome Conference in Norfolk.  It was great to meet this wonderful bunch of folk who are dedicated to promoting their towns and villages as ‘walker friendly’. We had a mammoth road trip to East Anglia, filming accessible walks  in several different locations in Norfolk, including Sandringham and the Norfolk Coastal Path. I loved Norfolk. So many wonderful places to explore.

Memory… I discovered on day 2 of filming that I was wearing my trousers inside out!

Filming with Channel 5
The day before the Beast from the East hit Britain, Andy and I took part in the filming of a promo production for channel 5. On the film, ‘What Does Home Mean?‘ we spoke of the impact of  being able to get back out onto the hills on our family life.

Memory… It was blooming cool. You can see the first flurry of snow on the film.

Filming with Channel 4
Another filming commitment was for a Channel 4 programme called ‘Lakes and Dales’  Together with Andy and Jonathan, I climbed Barrow, in the Lake District – one of the 214 Wainwright.

Memory…. I cried. With Joy. The views were spectacular. Andy cried… In pain. I ran over his foot.  

Filming with the BBC
Still on the theme of filming, Holly and I had a fabulous day in Newark filming an accessible walk on the River Trent for the BBC programme River Walks. This is a great little walk, exploring the history of Newark.

Memory… I did say on camera, “King John died here…. how cool is that!”  This quote  will go down in history. I’m reminded of it… nearly every day!

Son and Mum Day
As family life moves on, son and mum days are few and far between (especially as the son is 30, married and lives in Halifax) but this summer I had two days of Adam time. Two days of mum and son. It was wonderful. We went hiking together and canoeing on Derwent Water.

Memory…. I even got to swim in the lake. 

Dalesman Countryside Hero 2018
A proud moment  this year was to receive this award, in recognition of what we have achieved in making the inaccessible accessible in and around Yorkshire.

Andy and I joined many faces from the  Yorkshire TV world for a lunch reception hosted by The Dalesman Magazine. I finally met up with  Amanda Owen – the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

Memory… an incredible day with so many lovely people. Ian McMillan is so funny.

Climbing Helvellyn
Film maker Terry Abraham is currently filming  his third film – “Day in the Life of  a Mountain – Helvellyn” Andy, Jonathan and myself were asked if we would like to be filmed climbing up this magnificent mountain.  It was an amazing day. Terry is a very talented bloke.

Memory… the emotion of being so high up a mountain, with 360 degrees stunning views all around.

Yorkshire Dales Volunteer of the Year 2018
I was very surprised to have been nominated as the Yorkshire Dales Volunteer of the Year 2018 and then to be shortlisted in the top four for the National Parks Volunteers Award. This award was in recognition of the work I have done in developing accessibility in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

Memory… I just love the Yorkshire Dales. 

Gaping Gill
During the summer I joined The Craven Pothole Club on the week that they open up Gaping Gill, in the Yorkshire Dales. Gaping Gill is a natural cave in North Yorkshire, England.  It is a 98-metre deep pothole with the stream Fell Beck flowing into it.

The potholing club build a gantry and winch to take people down the pothole and into the cave. We climbed from Clapham up to the cave and then I had to shuffle on my backside down the steps and along the gantry to the swing that lowers you down to cave. It is not disabled friendly by any means, but thanks to the help from the Craven Pothole team, the experience was made possible for me.

Memory – one I will never forget. Truly amazing.

Beast From the East
For 5 months of 2018 we had snow! It was fantastic. When ‘The beast From the East’ hit Britain we were hit by heavy snow, followed by strong winds, that caused 6 foot drifts. We were snowed in for nearly a week. It was great to get out in the snow with the TerrainHopper. We didn’t stay out too long though as it was bitterly cold.

Memory…. having to be dug out by a JCB  digger and sledging with the kids. The neighbours kids came knocking on my door to see if I wanted to ‘play out!’ 

2018 has been an extraordinary year. I have been to some beautiful places in the UK, I’ve visited Dubai and  I’ve met some remarkable people. There has been so many ‘best bits’ that it has been really hard just to pick a few.

It looks like 2019 is going to be an exciting year too.

I’m so looking forward to it! Bring it on!