So this is a tiny but late, but as I am new to this I thought you might forgive me. I have started this blog at the end of what has been a fairly monumental year for me. It seemed like a good place to begin. 2016 has been one of the most amazing years I have had. Ever.
So here are just five of the awesome things that have happened this year.
1. We got married!
After nearly 10 years together, 5 years of living together and 18 months of saving and planning like mad, we did it. We tied the knot, got hitched, became Mr and Mrs Auger-Flanary.
It was quite simply the best day of my life! All of the stressing about money, weather, whether people would have fun, and all the tiny details everything just came together to make the most memorable and special day ever. And I had the great honour of committing myself in front of all my friends and family, to my best friend. Just wow!
2. We travelled 500 miles around Scotland in a van!
We knew we wouldn’t be able to afford a honeymoon straight after the wedding. We had read about the NC500 in a magazine somewhere and thought it would be an amazing experience. Especially as neither of us had ever been to Scotland.
Basically it is 500 miles around the north coast of Scotland starting from Inverness. So we took our little T5 and battled through the seasonable Scottish summer weather to experience some of the most incredible places I have ever been.
I had never been to Scotland and so I could not appreciate until I got there, just how rural and wild some parts actually are. The journey was just one landscape picture after another, after another. Simply breathtaking. Deserted beaches, deserted lochs, deserted mountains.
We took 11 days to get from sunny Somerset to a much chillier Inverness and then complete the 500 mile loop. Sometimes sleeping at campsites, sometimes sleeping wild. One night we pulled up on the banks of a beautiful loch, and had a herd of Highland cattle for company.
It was amazing. Our van is pretty basic with just a bed and a leisure battery. We cooked on a little stove. It was just so removed from everyday life, which made it rather romantic!
3. We climbed Scafell Pike
A few years ago we took a one off holiday with Nick’s family to The Lake District. Several years later we are still going. The very first trip there reignited a long dormant love of hill walking, and ever since we have attempted bigger and bigger challenges each time we go to Cumbria (there is a distinct lack of decent mountains in Somerset!)
Last year we climbed Scafell Pike, England’s highest mountain.That morning we left our rented cottage super early. We had planned our route carefully, and went up the Corridor Route from Seathwaite. I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about this one. Although relatively short, the Corridor Route is not the easiest to navigate. However, I loved it! It was just enough challenge with frankly incredible views. Scafell itself is not the prettiest summit in the Lake District but it is well worth the climb just to say you have done it, and the route up more than makes up for it!
4. We started saving for our house
Once the wedding was over we started squirreling money away for a house deposit. We had a little put away before that, but in September saving started in earnest. It feels great to have another goal to work to, and this is the most exciting of all. Realistically it will take another couple of years to get to where we need to be, but it’s always good to have a goal!
5. We partially converted a van
We have had long held a dream about owning a T5 and taking off into the sunset when the sun is shining, to pitch up at a campsite, put the bbq on and relax in the camping chairs with a tepid beer.
So in April we purchased a 54 plate white T5, which was a total blank slate. In actual fact I had very little to do with the conversation, as I was totally immersed in wedding planning! Nick worked on this like a beaver. He had the added pressure of needing it to be in some fit state to take to Scotland, for our road trip in August.
So for months Nick stripped the van and put it all back together as a camping van. He built the bed from scratch with his dad, and so it was ready (if not finished) to use in August. We still have a lot to do, but look forward to using it more this year!