The bells have sounded, Auld Lang Syne has been sung and 2017 has gone the same way as the rest – into the archives. Happy New Year!
It’s de rigueur on Love, from Scotland that the first post of each new year looks forward to what the year ahead holds – I’m very excited to start sharing my 2018 in Scotland with you.
Firstly though I hope that you will indulge me in setting a few new year’s resolutions. I’m not normally a fan of resolutions as I have the willpower of a midgie, but most of them are about Scotland, so you might like to join in too.
I want to #getoutside every day
Whether it was starting this blog, a new found love of photography or that first Munro, in 2017 something changed in me. In one year, I walked further than the length of the UK and climbed nearly twice the height of Everest. In 2018 I want to do more.
However, I’m not going to set any Munro bagging challenges or plan to walk 2018 miles – instead, I’m going to promise to get outside as much as possible. Just being outside, whether it’s for a short stroll, an amble to South Queensferry, or bagging a Corbett – I’m planning on Suilven this year – does wonders for me, for both my mental and physical health and I love it.
To get 2018 off on the right foot we joined in with the Berghaus First Foot Challenge – and got our first 9-mile walk in the bag on new year’s day. Walking from our home we climbed Arthur’s Seat – one of Scotland’s best small hills for the fabulous views of the city. We are so lucky to live in such a walkable city and it was a lovely way to start 2018. Thanks to Berghaus* for the challenge. It certainly got me out of bed on new years day.
I want to explore Dundee (and Perth, Stirling, Inverness, Aberdeen and Glasgow)
2018 will be my 22nd year living in Edinburgh, Scotland’s vibrant capital city. I love it here, and maybe apart from a cabin on one of Scotland’s islands I can’t see myself moving. However, my love of Edinburgh has often been at the expense of Scotland’s other six cities – I actually only visited Inverness for the first time last year.
In 2018 I’m planning on changing this – by going on lots of city breaks I want to see what Scotland’s cities have to offer. With the opening of the spectacular new waterfront Victoria & Albert Museum of Design sometime this summer – Dundee is top of my list.
I am going to
learn about drink whisky
I am sorry if you are doing #dryjanuary but let’s talk about Scotland’s national drink – whisky. I’ve been dabbling in a few drams (including being a member of the Scottish Malt Whisky Society) and have a few favourites including Dalwhinnie. In 2018 I plan to learn a lot more. In February we will be taking a trip to Scotland’s whisky island – Islay – where I plan to walk between the island’s 8 distilleries. Sláinte!
I will take more pictures (and Instagram them)
Part of what made 2017 such a great year for me was the upgrade to my camera set up. I now use a Fuji XT1 mirrorless CSC – a professional quality camera but perfect for carrying up Munros as it is light, sturdy and weather-proof. The Fuji lenses are incredible and I have just added a wide-angled prime to my collection. I am excited to see what images it produces.
I also made my first tentative steps into using Instagram – I love posting stories. However, I rarely actually post on my stream so I’m planning on changing this in 2018 – if only to stop me umming and ahhing over what to post – and then never actually posting. When I did post you seemed to like them. You can follow my Scotland landscape photography over at @_smidge.
I will continue to enjoy my food
Food in Scotland is not just about mince and tatties, Cullen skink, and haggis. From Michelin stars to incredible cafes, I love to discover the menus Scotland has to offer. Last year we loved our lunch at the Peat Inn in Fife, the tasting menu at The Torridon Hotel, and closer to home, our local Greek restaurant, Spitaki in Edinburgh.
This year I want to visit Inver Restaurant on Loch Fyne, The Ferry Inn on Skye, another visit to The Table in Edinburgh and The Newport outside of Dundee. Finally, a visit to the Three Chimneys on Skye has been on my bucket list forever and this year I am making it happen with a stay at the House Over By.
At home we have signed up to a veg and meat box scheme by Whitmore Organics – we are going 80% veggie – and I’ve got my eye on a Hydroflask coffee cup – no more paper cups for me.
I want to try wild camping – or stay in a bothy
I’m a huge fan of camping in Scotland – but it’s always on a campsite. If we want to reach some of the tougher Munros (such as the remote round of the Fisherfield Five, or staying at the Allt Scheicheachan bothy to climb Beinn Dearg) we need to start staying out in the wilds. Plus I really want to see a sunrise and a sunset up a mountain.
I’m planning on picking up a copy of The Bothy Bible and I’m starting the hunt for an ultra-light 2 man tent. Any advice on wild camping, please point me in the right direction. I might be a little lost. Speaking of which…
I will brush up my navigation skills (and learn some winter ones)
In Scotland, we’re incredibly lucky to have our Mountain Rescue Teams who work all year on a volunteer basis to pick up those who have an accident, get lost, or need help on our often dangerous mountains. Whilst the worst can happen however prepared you are, you should do as much as you can to stay safe out the hills.
As a town planner I am well versed in map reading, can use a compass and as a scout did plenty of navigation but I’m the first to admit I’m a bit rusty. I’d love to do my Mountain Leader Training at some point in the future, but I plan to start with a navigation course and stop using technology quite so much.
So, tell me your Scotland travel resolutions and plans below. I have so many plans for this year including the Cairngorms, up to Lochinver and to Munro bag on Skye – so hurry up 2018, let’s get started.
Love, from Scotland x
P.s I just have one more resolution – I have given up smoking – wish me luck.
*thanks to Berghaus for our new jackets, I can’t wait to try them up our first Munro of 2018.