Sue and Martin's Christmas 2009 letter
December 2009

Dear All

Another year has flown by!  It got off to its usual excellent start with nearly four weeks in Canada, where Ken and Helen’s hospitality is second to none, and the conditions for the cross country skiing that we so enjoy were the best for years.

Taking a break on Trail 50 in Gatineau Park
Markus and Martin in the Alps, with Muck the dog, and the cabin far below The impulse buy (snow shoes) we succumbed to the day before leaving Canada came in most useful a few weeks later, when we enjoyed a long weekend with an Austrian friend, Markus, in the Bregenzerwald (Vorarlberg).  The shepherd’s cabin we stayed in was almost completely covered in soft snow.
Martin spent a week in Torridon in March, and we both enjoyed a week in Plockton with numerous friends in two cottages in April. On the Beinn Liath Mhor ridge in Torridon
A wild camp below Gulvain Then the TGO Challenge walk across Scotland – 200 miles, with 40,000 feet of ascent, took a big chunk out of May.  This trip sadly heralded the start of a long and painful experience for Sue, who has had increasing nerve pain from a couple of degenerated and bulging cervical discs.  This has curtailed her activities and recently, ability to work, for the rest of the year, and we are hoping that a period of rest will sort the problem out.
So whilst Sue stayed at home in early June, Martin got the train to Windermere and spent a few days walking most of the way home, through the Yorkshire Dales at their finest Near Staveley, just off the Dales Way
Mike on a Via Ferrata route Before June was out we both enjoyed a trip to the Dolomites, staying with Collett’s, together with Martin’s son Mike, Susan – a friend from Connecticut, and various ‘regulars’.
July saw us both enjoying a lazy backpack with very small rucksacks, from hut to hut with three friends in the Maritime Alps – a wonderful area that we discovered last year. 
Sunset in the Maritime Alps
We were back home in time to enjoy Martin’s daughter Kate’s wedding to Simon.  Kate and Simon
Typical countryside on the walk across Wales Martin then found time to walk across Wales with fellow OB’ers (Outdoors Bloggers), Gayle and Mick.
Then we enjoyed a leisurely camping weekend with good friends and Sue's sister and nephew in Much Wenlock, before we both headed off once more to the Alps. A classic English summer's view, from the top of The Wrekin
Our intended backpack had been foiled by Sue’s disc problem, but we were lucky enough to be able to stay in Peter and Anne’s apartment in Kandersteg and John and Janet’s flat in Chamonix, at very short notice.  Hot, clear days, with clear views of Mont Blanc and the Aiguille du Midi, were a tonic.  Many thanks to them.
Peter and Anne's apartment in Kandersteg - available to rent Mont Blanc, from John and Janet's flat in Chamonix
Since then, Sue’s health problem has rather dominated life, but Martin did find time to return to Devon with Andrew to walk another section of the South West Coast Path. Striding off from Torness
Susan on Snowdon We then enjoyed a visit from afore-mentioned Susan from the USA (more walks for Martin).
Recently Martin nipped off to do his first ever half-marathon – a hilly one around Macclesfield; and we both enjoyed a trip to Madeira, a favourite November destination for us, where we were joined by Dave and Barry for some levada walking (Martin) and poolside relaxation (Sue). Levada walking in Madeira

Please feel free to keep in touch with us next year by visiting the ‘blog’ at – comments are always welcome.

Happy Christmas!

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