In many ways this year has come and gone in a flash but looking back it also seems a long time since some of the events in the early months. With five holidays this year, I’ve had plenty of time away from home doing many of the things I love; travelling, volunteering, watching wildlife, photography and generally being outdoors.
February held my first trip of the year, to a very snowy Poland, looking for wildlife in the winter landscapes. I wasn’t disappointed, with lynx, wildcat and bison being highlights, as well as my best photo of the year; a crested tit feeding off the carcass of a wolf-killed red deer.
After a great trip to London in March, April was the month of a first visit to the Isle of Harris, where I stayed in the most amazing location, in a cottage on Luskentyre Beach. The only disappointment was not being able to get to St Kilda – perhaps in 2019!
June included another trip to the Scottish islands, this time to Orkney at Mid-Summer; a week spent mixing wildlife, photography, island visits and military history – just about perfect. August held my annual trip to see family in Sweden doing some of my favourite things; canoeing on a wildlife rich river and grilling sausages in the wild.
My final trip of the year was to RSPB Ramsey Island where I spent two weeks volunteering and supporting grey seal monitoring.
At the beginning of the year, I made an aim of 2018 to do more exercise than ever before and carried over two aims from 2017, to do more photography and to take up mountain biking. Well, I did 365 separate sessions of exercise and I started visiting the mountain biking trails at Coed Llandegla but I still need to do more photography.
The latter end of the year has been dominated by work, really ever since I returned from Ramsey Island at the end of September, so my free time has been limited and my general energy to get out of the house much diminished – I must not let this happen so much in 2019!
Overall, it’s been another busy year in my world away from work; volunteering, cycling, watching wildlife and being out in nature, and here’s my year in numbers:
- 1 new country – Poland
- 1 stay on Ramsey Island
- 1 weekend away – Pembrokeshire
- 2 trips abroad – Poland and Sweden
- 2 weeks on Scottish islands – Harris and Orkney
- 2 peregrine protection shifts
- 3 beer festivals
- 3 mountain-biking days
- 8 osprey protection shifts – including 2 night shifts
- 9 counties stayed in
- 10 ferry journeys
- 11 bird surveys
- 22 species of mammal including three new ones – European Bison, Wildcat and Eurasian Lynx
- 34 days volunteering – Crewe & Nantwich Conservation Volunteers, Glaslyn Ospreys and RSPB
- 59 blog posts
- 62 walks
- 62 nights away
- 118 runs
- 157 cycles
- 161 species of bid including eight new ones – Little Owl, Ural Owl, Pygmy Owl, Grey-headed Woodpecker, White-backed Woodpecker, Red-backed Shrike, Great Grey Shrike and Nutcracker
- 313 miles run
- 365 sessions of exercise
- 2,271 miles cycled
- 11,000+ blog views
…and here are some photo highlights…