A few days ago, the 11th December 2018, marked one year exactly since I started this blog with my first post, The beginning! Or, how this thing is going to work. I thought, therefore, that I’d do a bit of a review post about the progress that I and this blog have made in that year, towards my goal of visiting every one of the 403 OS Explorer map areas of Great Britain, and generally.
It’s been a good year! To pick a few odd highlights, in my 65 posts this year I’ve:
- Visited four cathedrals (1 2 3 4), seven castles (1 2 3 4 5 6 7), three brochs (1 2 3), and at least 14 churches, abbeys and chapels in varying states of repair (1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14).
- Been attacked by snow, slowed by car troubles in the dead of night, and deceived by a historically questionable nunnery.
- Entertained children at various levels of boredom as I starred in a very low-budget Old English dramatisation of Beowulf.
- Discovered oreo cows, what a potpourri is, and a petrol station in a church
- Given you my aimless musings about such diverse topics as language-learning methods, planning walks, the meaning of Star Wars, the moon and Gaelic placenames.
Naturally, there’s got to be a map – here you can see the glory of my progress in the last year expressed in attractive shades of green:
And now, of course, it’s time for some map statistics:
- But, to get to what really matters, let’s have some map statistics! When I started this blog, I’d visited 143, or 35%, of the 403 OS Explorer map areas in Great Britain. This year I visited 33 new map areas, bringing my total to 176, or 44%.
- At that rate it would take me only another 7 years to complete all the map areas. (In reality of course it will almost certainly take me much longer – the fewer map areas remain, the fewer I’ll visit each year without specific planning. I’ve still never chosen to anywhere purely because I want to complete that map, which I’ll have to start doing at some point. Plus, you know, planning fallacy.)
- In total, I wrote 65 blog posts – other than The beginning!, each of these was a map post, meaning that as well as the 33 entirely new map areas I wrote about, I also described 31 map areas that I had been to before starting this blog.
- My longest post was 358: around Kilmartin, at a yawn-inducing 7413 words. I just did so many exciting things in Argyll and had to tell you all about them!
- My blog hasn’t been the most wildly popular on the internet, which I suppose isn’t that surprising given that I’ve promoted it precisely none at all. In total I’ve had 1071 pageviews in the last year, making about 16 views per post.
- My most popular posts have been 358: around Kilmartin, 455: South Harris, and 289: Bardsey, with 46, 45 and 44 views each.
How do I feel about the whole thing?
I’m pretty happy with how things have gone, I think. The purpose of my blog was to have a detailed record of a few days in my life when I go to new places, and to have a satisfying record of my progress towards the maps goal, and I think I’ve been doing that!
I’ve also made good use of my archive material – although I haven’t done deep reconstructions of past days very often (like I did in 223: Northampton), I’ve almost always used my photo collection when filling in my Previous Visits sections, and occasionally used my text and Facebook messenger archives too. The frequent appearance of the Holy Island Trek trip has allowed me to include snippets from that journey’s “annal”.
For the next year, my main goal is simple – just carry on doing what I’ve been doing, visit places, record what I did there. As a specific goal, I’d like to for the first time do a trip somewhere entirely motivated by completing a map I haven’t been to before, since I still haven’t done that. For a target of number of new maps to visit, let’s see whether I can manage 30.
I’m going off to Exmoor on Boxing Day, and I’ll need to write about that, so see you soon, reader! I’ll leave you, I think, with a selection of photos from the places I’ve visited this year: