The Helpful Hiker's Review of 2016

The Helpful Hiker's Review of 2016

So, 2016. It’s been emotional.

This post is only looking at my 2016, I don’t have the time nor the energy to look at the wider world. There’s been quite enough upheaval in my own little corner.

If 2015 and becoming a parent was momentous, January 2016 and my return to full time work was a whole new ball game. I’m in retail management and so I work long hours, weekends and bank holidays (and don’t even talk about Christmas). This is hard enough at the best of times, but factor in a toddler and this blog, and it has been tough.

We have had less outings than usual and covered less miles, yet we’ve still managed a few adventures along the way.

Here’s our best bits!

January & February

After the shock of returning to work, the beginning of the year was devoted to small local adventures. We headed to old favourites Sywell Country Park and Harlestone Heath, while I also had a lovely morning exploring Hunsbury Hill, a park I’d never been to.


One of my favourite photos of Luke and Finn, nice to see them both smiling!


March marked our first walking trip to Wales, with a few days in Brecon. Although Finn was struck down by a sickness bug, we still managed a couple of lovely walks, including a breezy trip up Pen y Fan and a waterfall trail.  I really enjoyed it and am itching to head back next year.

Pen y Fan

Luke and Finn take a breather on the way up Pen y Fan


April was the month of my hen do and marked a reacquaintance with my favourite animal as I headed out for an adventure on horseback. Wedding planning meant that my very limited free time was virtually non existent, so once again we made do with more local mini adventures!

A group on coloured horses hack through Cresswell Crags

Me and my sister heading through Cresswell Crags on our steeds

May & June

On 27th May 2016 Luke and I got married in a small, intimate wedding in Northamptonshire. The day turned out exactly how I imagined.


One of my favourite photos from the wedding

We didn’t manage a fully blown honeymoon, but did escape to the Peak District for a few days. We visited the lovely National Trust properties Hardwick Hall and the Longshaw Estate, which persuaded us to renew our membership.

Hardwick Old Hall

The view from Hardwick Old Hall


We were kindly gifted some money for the wedding, and in true outdoor blogger style, we spent it on a tent. Not just any tent, an Outwell Montana 6AC. It is the sort of tent that we never thought we’d be able to afford, yes it was extravagant, but it really is a great tent. We had a brilliant first trip with it to Norfolk, which turned out to be a real highlight of the year.

west runton1

A few days by the Norfolk coast was just the tonic we needed.


We had an enjoyable day out at Countryfile Live at Blenheim Palace and, eager to make the most of our National Trust membership, I headed out with Finn to Charlecote Park.  At the very end of the month, we headed to the Lake District for a few days camping. While there, we met up with our friends from Viewranger and made a little video about our family friendly walks.

Lanefoot Farm Campsite

Love this sign, it was certainly true of Finn!


September was a quiet month, which gave me the chance to reflect on our camping experiences with a toddler. Let’s just say, it brings a whole new load of challenges (but thankfully most can be solved with a plentiful supply of snacks)

Camping with Kids

Finn with his favourite snack

October & November

We found ourselves with a child free day in October, so what did we do? We went for a walk of course! October was also the month that I wrote about mine and Finn’s first experience of Forest School. I’m hoping that this is a topic we can revisit again and again as Finn gets older. At the very end of October/beginning of November me and Luke snuck off for a couple of nights in the Lakes. This time, with Finn safely stowed at his grandparents, we opted for a four star spa hotel. Extravagant maybe, but the pool was a godsend after our 10 mile hike up Helvellyn.  I also ticked off the final country park in Northamptonshire, not quite as momentous as say completing the Wainwrights, but it was a small personal triumph.

Helvellyn trig point

The obligatory trip point selfie on top of a misty Helvellyn

I haven’t included December in this round up, as quite simply, it’s going to be all about work this month.

So what’s ahead for 2017? I’m hoping for a few more camping trips and I’m determined to get some more miles under my boots. Plus, I’m also currently planning what should be an amazing trip to Poland. I’ll keep you posted on that one.

How was your 2016? Let’s focus on the positives, I’d love to hear your highlights.

You Baby Me Mummy



  • shazza shazza December 05, at 09:54

    You still filled your year. It makes you realise just how much you have done , when you write a highlights post. Lovely photos.:)

    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker December 08, at 17:06

      Definitely! It’s been a mixed year for lots of reasons so it was great to look back at the good bits, of which there were quite a few. I’m very excited about 2017, hoping for lots more adventures!

  • afamilydayout afamilydayout December 05, at 16:46

    Some lovely highlights there, the wedding photo is fabulous! 2016 has been a pretty terrible year for me in some ways, both with the wider world and a family bereavement. But looking on the positive side, it has also been quite adventurous – I ran my first (and only) marathon in London, walked the Yorkshire Three Peaks and went down Gaping Gill in the Yorkshire Dales and went on a caverns adventure in North Wales. All good fun and helped make up for other rubbish moments!

    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker December 08, at 17:05

      Sorry it hasn’t been the best year, but sounds like you’ve still got lots of things to look back and feel great about. I’m the same, it’s been mixed on lots of levels, that’s one reason I was keen to look back at the good bits! Here’s to 2017 🙂

  • Emma - Hip2trek Emma - Hip2trek December 09, at 14:24

    I loved reading about your year, your Wedding photo is fabulous and I like the smiling one of your hubby and little one. I look forward to reading about your adventures next year. This year is the first for many I’ve been able to walk any sort of distance without being in agony, and I love the freedom that’s given us as a family. Next year is a trek on the Great Wall of China so hopefully an exciting 2017!

  • lovinglifeinwelliesblog lovinglifeinwelliesblog December 09, at 15:12

    Well done, you certainly still managed to have an action packed year and you’ve inspired a post thank you. I’m so excited you got to hike Pen Y Fan, I’ve yet to do it but it’s on my list. Look forward to seeing what’s on your 2017 lists.

    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker December 14, at 20:53

      Thanks, it’s been a tough year but definitely lots of good times. 2017 is going to be amazing!

  • M.Barrett M.Barrett December 10, at 17:04

    An eventful year! The trip to Poland sounds great too. My granddad was Polish which I guess makes me a quarter Polish. I feel a little bit bad that I’ve never been there.

    • TheHelpfulHiker TheHelpfulHiker December 14, at 20:55

      I’m very excited about Poland, I didn’t know anything about it, but looks like an amazing place for outdoor adventures. 2017 is looking good!

  • Lucy Edwards Lucy Edwards December 12, at 11:17

    Congrats on your wedding! Beautiful photo. Looks like you’ve had a busy year and fitted lots of trips in, look forward to seeing what you get up to in 2017.

  • crummymummy1 crummymummy1 December 15, at 21:48

    Gorgeous wedding photography! Congratulations! #thelistlinky

  • pottyadventures pottyadventures December 16, at 00:16

    There’s few better things to spend money on than a good tent. A great year by anyone’s standards!

  • Lisa (Travel Loving Family) Lisa (Travel Loving Family) January 23, at 22:00

    Aw huge congratulations! What a year for you all;) I hope 2017 brings lots of new adventures. Thanks for linking up to #GetGone


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