A Year With Friends
Woman & Home|January 2020
Catherine Barr made a resolution to walk with a different friend each month of the year. The 12 walks were a joy, so she’s doing it all again

My New Year’s resolution evolved into more than 100 miles of conversation, a dinner party and a video diary. It all began when I moved from London to the Welsh borders with my partner and young family. Now living tantalizingly close to the Welsh mountains, I yearned to spend long days in the hills, and my aspirations finally became reality. Here’s my year of walks with friends.

JANUARY

As I set off with Emma, we plunged into our life stories and revealed adventures whose retelling carried us on through tangled forests and up steep mountains. We put the world to rights on that trail. We’d kick-started with a two-minute piece to camera. Emma introduced herself and explained where we planned to walk. It was the opener for a year-long video diary of stories that featured wind, rain and endless map-reading disasters.

FEBRUARY

Another Emma, a new and different walk. Heading north from Hay-on-Wye, this Emma and I were thankful for the super-clear signposts on an undulating section of the Offa’s Dyke Path. No need for maps or to gasp for breath. We nailed some stark new career moves by the time we sank into the pub, and Emma has since launched a successful local glamping business.

MARCH

Hiking across the giddy mountaintops of the Brecon Beacons with Catherine was a challenge. She has a stride (in life) I cannot match. She strode and I struggled. But her knowledge of the hills and understanding of the ecology of these wild moors was ever an incentive to catch up. An agricultural journalist, Catherine and I share a passion for conservation and her flair, exuberance, and straight-talking propelled us along these stunning ridges.

APRIL

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