2006, for me, will always be all about the walking. After my brother died, I decided it was time to do something different to mark his memory and raise money for charity – the Brain Research Trust – so I decided it was time to follow a long-held ambition and walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End.
Obviously, that consumed a lot of the blog for the year, but other things happened too…
We’re still in the realm of the Wayback Machine, as my proper archives don’t start for a few months, but the big event of the start of the year was the ‘most inept political assassination in history‘ as Liberal Democrat MPs attempted to defenestrate Charles Kennedy. I found another word to describe it too. However, my equivalent of John Major’s wisdom teeth was ‘going off in a lorry to Spain for a week’ so I managed to miss a lot of it.
I also managed to cover the news that the Tour de France was coming to London, and asked some questions about religion.
You can see here what went wrong when the blog disappeared. That meant that the whole thing got rebooted, though sadly they couldn’t find a better actor to play me.
Back in 2006, Wikipedia was a whole new thing, not the easiest way to find something to link to as background. At the same time, Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip was an exciting televisual prospect. One of them endured.
I survived watching Switzerland vs Ukraine in the 2006 World Cup – possibly the dullest game ever in the history of competitive international football.
As part of my preparation for the walk, I featured in the Colchester Evening Gazette for the first time. I then set off later in July, and a friend did a couple of brief updates for me. After a few days walking, I found a Tourist Information Centre with an open-access PC, and wrote my first account of the walk so far.
(One thing I notice when reading through my walk posts is how much easier communicating on the way would be now with smartphones, Twitter and the like)
August was all about walking, as I followed the A9 southwards, found no monsters in Loch Ness, took abreak in Fort William, walked Glencoe and Rannoch Moor in a day, walked the banks of Loch Lomond, was saved from sleeping rough by the generosity of friends in Edinburgh and spent a day walking with TV’s Will Howells. (Though he wasn’t the ukulele playing star of Only Connect then)
After that, there were some long days walking, and I finally made it back into England, having discovered Scotland’s a lot bigger than you think. Almost immediately, I developed a hatred of the Pennine Way. Finding easier ways through the Pennines took me to an almost-empty Youth Hostel in Haworth and passed through the Midlands to see my family in Redditch. After not finding much internet access in the Cotswolds, I started wondering about getting back to normal. Finally I was counting down five days and two days until I finished.
With the walk done, I got back to blogging as usual, and noticed that certain terrorists don’t get that much press attention, while someone suggested banning flag burning, and the whole prospect of clamping down on protests led to people wondering if an underground protest scene might start up.
November was quiet, as I was (unannounced) trying NaNoWriMo for the first time, but it was also the month when Tom Baker wrote a blog post, so no one else in the world needed to do so.
And that was 2006, a year when I probably did many more footsteps than I did words.