Posts Tagged “2016”

This time last year I was in the middle of walking the Pennine Way. I’ve already written an overview of the experience, but in this post I want to give a feel of some of the many experiences on a long and varied trail.

This post covers the first half of the walk, from Edale to Middleton-in-Teesdale, where I left the trail for an unscheduled injury break. The second installment can wait until mid-August when I resumed the trail.

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On this day last year, I wrote a formal resignation letter, bringing an end to 14.5 years as an officially baptised Christadelphian member, and even longer as part of the Christadelphian community. Tonight I’ve been trying once again to get a feel for what the whole process meant to me.

I have much to say, but it’s late and I can’t get control of it now. So for now just a brief response (well, brief for me). Past history suggests I may come back to this at great length, or I may never get to it.

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From mid-2012 to mid-2016 I was the editor of Salt Cellar: a magazine for Christadelphian young people in Melbourne. One year ago today, I produced my final Salt Cellar and wrote my final editorial. It contained an important message about seeking out truth, though that message was concealed behind scriptural wording. Now I can reveal the real message behind the editorial.

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One year ago today, I gave my last exhortation at my home ecclesia (and it had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day…). Now that time seems a world away, but here are some reflections on that exhortation:
How I could give an exhortation at all while very near to quitting.
Reflections on the importance of careful and accurate Biblical exposition, a puzzling Bible contradiction, a failed Psalm, Biblical propaganda, generational change in Melbourne Christadelphia, and fighting the long defeat.

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At the end of 2016, the common wisdom was that it was a terrible year. I’ve given it a month to settle, and I haven’t seen too many people retract that judgement.

As far as I can tell, 2016 was condemned for two reasons:

  1. Certain celebrities died.
  2. Unpopular political changes were made.

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When I have been on walks with small children, I have often felt that they are seeing things that I don’t see. Sometimes it’s the little details that I’ve seen thousands of times but never really observed. Other times, it’s the things I don’t see because they’re not there. But the child has a confidence that goes beyond “I’d like to imagine I’m seeing something”. It appears to me they are actually seeing and responding to whatever it is. No matter whether it is there or not.

Here are a few examples I’ve seen while out hiking.

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In my last post, I limited myself to peaks I had scaled that were the highest in their country. This time, I’d like to look at a few more peaks that I conquered this year: some still tall, others slightly less so.

It includes a walk in Switzerland that was probably my favourite walk for the year (though it has some stiff competition). And a walk that was so local that it literally started and ended at my house.

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This year, I climbed to the highest point of five different nations for the first time: Australia, England, Wales, Scotland, and the Isle of Man. I also climbed the highest point of my home state of Victoria for a second time.

Climbing the tallest mountain in my home country has been on my list for years, so I made sure I did it before exhausting my leave going to the UK. Doing the UK Three Peaks was a key part of my planning for exploring the UK. I was already planning on spending a lot of time in England, but this gave me a goal to target: I wanted to make sure that I spent at least a week in Wales and Scotland, rather than just dashing in, climbing a peak, and dashing out again. The Isle of Man felt too small to spend more than a few days on it, though I found I could have easily spent longer (it doesn’t seem as well known as it should be).

One of the things my list shows is the importance of choosing your countries carefully. The highest point I reached during the year was in Switzerland, at least a kilometre higher than I got in Australia. And yet it still wasn’t enough: to reach the highest mountain in Switzerland I would have had to go another kilometre up and used specialised equipment. I only spent about six hours in France, and still ended up climbing higher than England and Wales. I seriously considered visiting the Netherlands and trying to reach its highest point (a mere 322.7m high), but decided (wisely) that I’d prefer to spend my time exploring the Swiss Alps.

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This year, I was in the UK for 2.5 months, and one of the things I wanted to do was lots of walking in English countryside. Walking the Pennine Way offered one good way to do it.

What’s the Pennine Way? National Trails UK explains:

Steeped in history, this National Trail chases along the mountain tops along the rugged backbone of England and offers 268 miles of the finest upland walking in England. A once in a lifetime experience.

It also gives you magnificent scenery, follows the best section of the historic Hadrian’s Wall, and even takes you into Scotland.

Not everything went to plan, but in the end I completed it, and that’s the main thing.

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