On a personal note, it's been an awful year for my family.
My Mum passed away in October following a short illness and it's been a real struggle trying to come to terms with her passing.
Mum was 82, a good age I suppose, but no matter how much I had tried to prepare myself for the inevitable, I was not ready when the time came.
I will get stronger with my feelings as time goes by and everyone has to go through the grieving process at some point in their lives, but for now I am finding it very difficult to deal with.
Throughout Mum's illness and during the weeks that followed, my close family were a tower of strength. My "kids" all now grown up, were an absolute rock and without their support I don't know how I would have coped at all.
The one bright shining light this year has been my beautiful granddaughter.
Phoebe was 2 in June and is an absolute delight to be around as are all children of that age. I see her almost every day as my wife Steph looks after her while her Mum, Hannah works in the afternoons, I can't wait to get home from work to spend some time with her. She is just adorable.
I work as a Quality Engineer for an engineering company in Rotherham. I have been with them for just over 8 years, which is not bad going these days. The company is doing as well as can be expected in the current climate and is as secure a job as one could hope for.
I managed to get my son, Andrew a job working in my department in August and he works on the next desk to his old man...which is nice.
I no longer participate in sports, other than a frustrating game of golf from time to time and instead get my sporting pleasure from watching Andrew play cricket. He's a talented batsman, far better than I ever was, and represents Wath CC 1st team in the South Yorkshire League. Andrew also represents England Deaf cricket team and played in Australia last year.
For my sins, I also support Sheffield United and the least said about them this year the better.
An average year on the hills for me this year. Steadily plugging away at the Wainwrights hill list, of which I have now completed 124 including 27 this year. Highlights include Place Fell (100th) in January, Rampsgill Head, (107th) half way point in June, a lovely backpack through the Central Fells with an overnight camp on Greenup Edge in July, and more recently, on 5th November, a sparkling round of fells including Blencathra via Sharp Edge.
My mate Mark and I will continue to plug away at the Wainwright's over the next few years until we have both completed AW's list.
I completed my 5th TGO Challenge walk in May, which will go down as one of the toughest Challenges ever, weather wise. I was disappointed with the walk, in that I hardly walked any of the grand, high level route that I had planned, yet still enjoyed the event because of the great camaraderie that exists amongst Challengers. This really is a great event and I hope to be back for my 6th in 2013 as I am taking a voluntary year off next year.
I am very fortunate to have a RSPB reserve on my doorstep, and when I have a bit of spare time I like to nip down to Old Moor in the Dearne Valley to spend a couple of hours watching birds and socialising with like minded folk. I'm not a complete anorak, you understand. and don't keep count of the birds I have seen or anything like that, but I do find that it's a great place to while away the time and gather my thoughts.
Highlights of the birding year include an Osprey which we had in the area throughout September, high tide wader watch at Gibraltar point in September, which I managed to sneak off to during a family holiday in Skegness, and the many hours I have spent at Old Moor throughout this year.
Well that's about it for 2011, it's New Year's Eve already!
Thank's for reading this, and any of my other postings this year, not sure how long I will keep blogging for, but I do enjoy it and for some reason I feel better about things just writing this post, so we'll see.
Here's hoping for a happier 2012.
Happy New Year everyone.