If things don't change.....

27th Feb 2015

You may have heard the saying 'if things don't change, they'll be the same tomorrow as they are today'.  I love those words.  So simple and yet there is so much meaning wrapped up in them.  In my opinion change is an essential ingredient of a fulfilled life.  We certainly need our constants, but change is good for us too.  Maybe so many of us are drawn to the outdoors because it can offer such an ever changing playground?  
I am writing this in my sleeping bag in a cosy hut in Scotland while reflecting back on a winter that has so far offered great variety.  Variety in the clients I've worked with, in the adventures we've shared and in the winter conditions we've faced.  I've also had some great days out with friends and there's variety there too.  Perhaps nowhere does the environment vary more than in winter because of the more extreme weather and the ever changing snowpack - no two days are the same even if I am treading the same path or on the same climb.  It's exciting and challenging.  It is my favourite time of year.
By the time I get home from Scotland I will be ready for a new challenge.  The Spring daffodils will herald the start of our summer programme and new adventures.  Navigation courses on the Peak District moorland, gritstone climbing and off road adventures on two wheels.  After a period away it feels great to be on home turf and the Peak District always delivers.  It will mean the chance to work with new instructors, to watch the changing face of the national park, to draw a new level of understanding of the flora and fauna, to watch new sunrises and yet be near the constant of home.
As well as guiding this is a time for setting some personal goals and they change too.  This year, for the first time, I am participating in a mountain bike endurance event and there are new climbing projects to start working on.  Peak Mountaineering also constantly evolves as a business and that leads us in lots of exciting new directions each year too.  New clients come on board and new partnerships develop.  We market new itineraries and review and improve current ones. 
Anyone in business knows the power and the necessity for change and that change is also reflected in the companies I advise.  New programmes will be discussed, changes made to operating procedures and working practices, new staff inducted and programmes monitored.  It is incredibly empowering to bring new ideas to fruition and help forge new paths for my business colleagues.  Their trust in the help I can offer is humbling.
In between our Peak District programmes there will be Spring and Summer visits to Scotland, the Lake District and Wales.  Long scrambly days on Skye, climbing on the sea cliffs of Pembroke or all day mountain routes in Snowdonia.  There will be potential new instructors to train and assess in the mountains or on the crags, multi-day adventure packages to deliver, mountain navigation courses to run and wild camps to savour.  The big mountains are an important constant for me although plenty of change comes both in the way they are enjoyed and their ever changing face.
At some points in the Spring and then the Autumn I'll pull a duffel bag from the gear cupboard and start packing for our overseas expeditions.  The buzz of boarding a plane never fades and I love introducing people to exotic destinations and new challenges.  Exploring the mountains and the markets.  Savouring the food and the culture.  Finding out about the lives of the locals and becoming more familiar with what makes them tick.  This year we have a few new destinations to recce and that is incredibly exciting too.
In between all that I try to offer changing adventures to my family.  We'll visit some of our usual beaches, climb at some familiar crags and cycle well known mountain bike circuits - but we are also completing a climbing circuit on the Welsh 3000's, visiting a new destination in Spain, exploring Morocco together and taking a long canoe trip on Scottish rivers.  Plans are afoot for a family traverse of a Scottish mountain ridge enchainement including An Teallach, Liathach, Blaven-Clach Glas, the Forcan Ridge, Tower Ridge and the Aonach Eagach.  We'll throw in a few sea stacks and maybe some classic mountain biking, but having the ridge challenge as our focus helps keep the team on track.  Introducing some of my favourites to my most important audience on a family road trip is the kind of change I like most of all.
Soon enough we'll be full circle and another Scottish winter will beckon.  As long as the year has revolved around change then I will be more than happy to lie in this same bunk and reflect this time next year.  Reflect back....and, of course, look forward again to the changes 2016 will bring.  If things don't change, they'll be the same tomorrow as they are today.  Please make sure your 2015 has it's share of change too.
Posted by Paul