It’s that time of year when I can’t help but do some navel gazing, looking back at the year that was. And boy has 2016 been an interesting one (I leave the interpretation of the word “interesting” up to you). There has been a mixture of highs and lows but here are the top mishaps and hilarious misadventures I experienced in 2016.
- Feeling out of place during a stay in a resort for pensioners
I went to Alicante, Spain, for a press trip (nice!) but ended up in a resort where as a relative “youngster” I stood out among the lycra-clad grey foxes and OAPs with Zimmer frames. I spent the whole time feeling like I was imposing.
- Accidently forgetting the boyfriend’s birthday and booking a tour instead
The tour to Sicily to climb Mt Etna and Stromboli had already been cancelled in April so I was forced to rebook for later in the year. Only I forgot my boyfriend’s birthday and made the epic fail and booked a diary clash. Fortunately, once I had realised my mistake, I was able to rebook to a different date. Third time lucky!
- Getting stuck with a taxi driver in Nevis who wanted me to hook him up with a friend
During my visit to Nevis in the Caribbean to climb Nevis Peak I ended up in a taxi with a lovely man who was, shall we say, very interested in English women. He spent two days singing his virtues (he was very domesticated by all accounts) and trying to get me to play match maker and hook him up with one of my friends.
- Buying a guide book that is completely in French and I don’t speak French
I’m considering visiting the Auvergne region in France to climb some volcanoes there and walk a GR route. I found a great guidebook, purchased it, only to find it was all in French – and I don’t speak any French. I’m now on the lookout for a translator and/or traveling buddy…
- Taking 12 hours to get from London to the Lake District
What should have taken around six hours took a painful 12 thanks to congestion on the M25 and an overturned lorry carrying offal on the M40 into Oxford. When will someone invent a teleporter?
- Feeling the effects of altitude
The height of Mt Etna is 3,350m and at that altitude the air is starting to thin. I was disappointed to find that I succumbed to light-headedness, a racing heart beat and wheezy cough.
- Taking only one bra to Sicily
In my attempt at packing light I only took one bra for my week-long trip to Sicily. It would have been fine had it not been for the 30+ temperatures and daily walks up volcanoes. To maintain some sense of composure and decency I had to resort to wearing my bikini top instead.
- Spin class never seems to get easier
At the start of the year I started a spin class at the gym – and I’ve continued to go back for more torture, flashing lights and smelly sweat. I don’t enjoy it and it doesn’t get any easier.
- A very breezy and public toilet tent
During my two-day navigation course I was introduced to the toilet tent – the only problem was the instructor (a man) had set it up a mere few meters from a busy road with the opening (no door) conveniently facing on-coming traffic. I’m not sure who got more of an experience!
- Continued self-doubt
This has been a year of topsy-turvy emotions, excuses and self-doubt around my quest to climb 40 volcanoes by the age of 40. In those downer moments, it hasn’t been fun and has required a great force of mental will to pull myself out of the murky swamp of negativity, which continually laps at my feet.
- Almost getting benighted
We were zigzagging down Glyder Fawr in Snowdonia just as the sun was setting so it was no surprise we couldn’t find the next path off the mountain in the gathering gloom. Almost getting benighted was a particularly low moment in 2016 – and one I would prefer to avoid in the future.
- Getting the car stuck in a paddock
Yes – it’s true. We got the car stuck in a paddock in boggy mud on the side of Snowdon. And then, once we had finally rescued the car – three and a half hours later – we locked the members of the Croydon Mountaineering Club out of the hut. That was a fun weekend!
But enough of the doom and gloom – tomorrow I reminisce over 2016’s highlights.
What were your lowlights or hilarious misadventures in 2016?