The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 1 January 2012

2011: Illustrated

It’s that time of year when I get ridiculously gratuitous with my graph production, demonstrating quite how obsessive I can be about collecting and playing with data (although I haven’t quite succumbed to Mick’s suggestion of calculating how many miles we walk per year per dehydrated curry!).

First off, the headline is that I went out for a walk on 172 days of 2011, covering 1892 miles, which was broken down between the months as follows:


The usual pattern prevailed, with the miles dropping off considerably in the second half of the year

It’s not a difficult calculation to see that I met and exceeded my target of averaging 5 miles per day for the year. From the day we set out from Lowestoft heading to Ardnamurchan, my average miles-per-day stayed above the magic number for the whole of the rest of the year:

image The pink line marks the magic ‘5 miles per day’. The blue line shows how my year tracked against that. The X axis is a mess, but I’ve given up trying to make it look prettier.

My ascent-by-month chart isn’t entirely accurate because I haven’t worked out rough ascent figures for the Madeira trip in November. Most of the other ascent figures are taken from Anquet (and always rounded down), so may not be overly accurate either:


I wore a lot of different pairs of shoes this year:


Unfortunately, I didn’t fulfil my aim of reducing my shoe collection. I threw away one pair of worn-out shoes, but gained three new pairs.

As for the weather, I walked in more wet weather this year than last, with over a quarter of my outings involving some sort of precipitation:


The ‘dry’ and ‘sunny’ entries were mainly thanks to the incredibly dryness of March and April. As I’ve observed before, if we hadn’t popped home for a week in the middle of our East to West walk then we would have walked the entire thing without any significant rain (thankfully we did take that week off and thus found out that the tent was leaking before the TGO Challenge, during which it rained every day). This chart shows how much our full waterproofs were used during the 46 days of the East to West trip:


The categories are: Blue = not worn; Salmon = worn for less than half an hour; Green = worn for more than half an hour but less than an hour and a half; and Purple = worn for more than an hour and a half.

I got some quality miles in during 2011, with far fewer repetitions of my usual local circuits. I’m hoping to get some quality miles walked in 2012 too, but have my doubts that I’ll get anywhere near this year’s mileage. Shall I set myself a target? I’m not sure.


  1. "Waterproof usage", that's seriously sad!

    Happy New Year

  2. Happy New Year! You'll be pleased to here that your 'Hill Days' exceeded mine - I've just totted them up to 171. My mileage and ascent can't really be compared with yours though, as it includes bike rides and skiing. I've tried without success to create a graph/bar chart recording the colour of outer layers worn, but it got too complicated and I 'lost' three days!
    Have fun in 2012. (See you in Taddington on Sunday?)

  3. Impressive stats, impressively (or obsessively) documented. I ought to let Missyg (the stat-catcher of our pairing) see these pretty graphs.

    Or maybe not .....

  4. Well done Gayle! Perfect indoor occupation during "the worst of it"!

  5. Louise - I really ought to get a life, oughtn't I?!

    Robin - I would like to deny that claim ... except it's completely true.

    Martin - Taddington on Sunday sounds like a plan. See you there.

    Jules - Don't do it! This is certainly not a level of stat-catching to which one should be encouraged to aspire.

    Ron - Given the current weather conditions, I think I need to find more indoor occupations. Planning this year's walks, that's what I need to do (it still involves spreadsheets, so I'll be happy).

  6. See you on Sunday, Gayle - outside the pub, 10.00 for a 10.15 start according to Sue W, who's organising it. We'll need that 15 minutes to hand out fudge - it's a good batch...

  7. Oh, and by the way (rather than take over Martin's comments!) I'm due to arrive in Breamar on Saturday, Sunday is currently a rest/spare day before I move on to Ballater on Monday. There is a vague possibility I may go on to Ballater on Sunday and have my rest/spare day there instead, depending on a certain someone...

  8. As a walker and retired maths teacher I read this post with a growing sense of awe. You are a magnificent obsessive - long may you continue

  9. You know all this graph and maths stuff.
    You need to get out more! LOL :)

  10. You've gone very quiet, Gayle. Are you busy working?
    Word = 'potion'

  11. Oops - just found the last two comments sitting awaiting moderation. Clearly haven't even looked at my blog for weeks.

    Andrew - Vicious circle - getting out more just creates more graphs...

    Martin - I think that my first of yesterday's posts answered that question!