A Ghlas Bheinn

A Ghlas Bheinn

The year began in a similar fashion to its end: warnings of potential avalanche conditions on Britain’s hills and a reminder that the harshest winter conditions for years commanded respect from those venturing to the high ground.

In January, Mountaineering Council of Scotland safety adviser Heather Morning reminded hillwalkers and climbers of the potentially dangerous winter conditions. “These unique conditions also bring their dangers, highlighted by the tragic death of three climbers in avalanche incidents on 30 December.

Kintail Mountain Rescue Team members in training for avalanche searches

Kintail Mountain Rescue Team members in training for avalanche searches

“The avalanche risk is currently high in many locations due to the volume of snow, continued cold conditions and unusually light winds.  Currently in the Cairngorm region there is a massive build up of snow, major avalanche activity is expected and the avalanche run-outs will extend far out across the flat corrie floors.”

Helvellyn felltop assessor Jason Taylor stepped into his crampons for his first week in the job, to be greeted by windchill equivalent to –16C and an unstable headwall cornice to contend with. “It’s all in a day’s work,” he said.

Icelandic colleagues of the beleaguered Lake District mountain rescue teams chipped in with a £600 donation to help replace some of the thousands of pounds of gear destroyed while they were helping rescue service during the 2009 Cumbria floods.  Björgunarhundasveit Íslands (BHSI), the Iceland search and rescue dogs association’s vice-chairman Snorri Þórisson said: “The co-operation started back in 1992 when BHSI received great help from the Lakes group in starting to train our field search dogs.”

The Mountain Bothies Association warned misuse of a north Wales shelter might put its further availability at risk. Visitors to the Penrhos Isaf bothy near Ganllwyd, north of Dolgellau in Snowdonia were using vehicles to access the shelter in contravention of the MBA agreement with its owners.

Rosa Parks with Dr Martin Luther King. Stephen Gough likened himself to the civil rights heroine

Rosa Parks with Dr Martin Luther King. Stephen Gough likened himself to the civil rights heroine

Naked Rambler Stephen Gough, up before a Scottish sheriff yet again, compared his campaign to that of US civil rights heroine Rosa Parks, whose defiance in giving up her bus seat to a white passenger in Montgomery, Alabama, and the subsequent boycott campaign, were viewed as a crucial stage in black emancipation in the States.

Ramblers of a more campaigning variety finally celebrated victory as waste-disposal magnate Euan Snowie dropped his appeal against opening up large parts of his Stirlingshire estate at Boquhan.

Dennis Canavan, convener of Ramblers Scotland said: “Sheriff Andrew Cubie’s judgement at Stirling Sheriff Court will now be seen as a landmark decision in the interpretation of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003.”

One of Scotland’s busiest ski centres had to close – because there was too much snow. The Cairngorm resort’s access road was blocked by heavy snow. The company said: “We have come in this morning and it feels like Groundhog Day – all our work yesterday has been filled in again. We’re at it again with two 23-tonne Caterpillar diggers, our own ploughs and the piste machines which are also moving snow down banks so the diggers have somewhere to put the dug-out snow.”

Nepal decided to court the pink tourism economy with the announcement of gay weddings at Everest Base Camp. Sunil Babu Pant, founder of the gay-rights group the Blue Diamond Society, and a communist legislator in the Himalayan republic, said he planned to organise ceremonies at Everest base camp and other mountain locations.

Walkers celebrate completion of the West Highland Way at its old finishing point

Walkers celebrate completion of the West Highland Way at its old finishing point

And Scotland’s most popular long-distance trail, the West Highland Way, became just a little more challenging with the addition of an extra mile to its length, taking the finishing point from a roundabout at Nevis Bridge into the centre of Fort William. The route is now 154km (96 miles) long.

Dr Tim Garn died on Ben Lui when he fell more than 90m (300ft) near the summit of the 1,130m (3,703ft) munro near Tyndrum.

Ramblers’ vice president Chris Hall told the organisation’s leadership it should stop pursuing a trendy youthful image and get back to its roots. “It is all very well to be chasing the young walkers – with, of course, a trendy genuflection to Facebook and Twitter – but if Mr Franklin [the chief executive] had a realistic sense of the needs of ramblers of all ages he would launch a public and aggressive campaign to free the paths and remove the fences on open country,” Mr Hall said.

Derren Barber, 39, of Bognor Regis, West Sussex, died in a fall from Pen yr Ole Wen in Snowdonia.

Britain’s national mapping agency stood accused of having a sense of humour bypass when it got its knickers in a twist over a bawdy tale of three ex students in search of the pleasures of the flesh while walking the West Highland Way.

The original cover of The Hills Are Stuffed with Swedish Girls

The original cover of The Hills Are Stuffed with Swedish Girls

Richard Happer’s The Hills Are Stuffed with Swedish Girls used a spoof of an old Ordnance Survey map as its cover and the Southampton-based mappers were not amused; lawyers’ letters flew. The dispute was eventually resolved and the book went into a second reprint with a redesigned cover.

Alan Turner, 54, of Northallerton, North Yorkshire died while climbing on Great Gable.

Controversial Highland estate Alladale had its licence for wild boar and elk under the Dangerous Wild Animals Act 1976 renewed to the consternation of the Mountaineering Council of Scotland, whose chief officer David Gibson said: “The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 clearly provides access-takers with the right to cross areas of wild land and this right may be compromised by the actions of the Alladale Estate.”

Vixen Tor owner Mary Alford lodged an appeal against Devon Council’s decision to dedicate two public rights of way to the contentious Dartmoor crag.

In February, the body of 83-year-old walker Clifford Charles Wannop, a retired vet, was found on Skye, four months after he went missing.

Naked rambler Stephen Gough was again jailed for contempt of court and breach of the peace when he appeared unclothed before Sheriff Lindsay Foulis at Perth Sheriff Court.

A ban on wild camping on part of the West Highland Way loomed as Loch Lomond & the Trossachs National Park Authority launched a 12-week consultation on plans to introduce bylaws that would make it illegal to camp outside designated sites between Drymen and Ptarmigan Lodge, north of Rowardennan.

The move was in response to drunkenness and anti-social behaviour on Loch Lomond’s eastern shore, the authority said.

The replacement helicopters would be similar to those used by the Coastguard at present. Photo Robby Norman/Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The replacement helicopters would be similar to those used by the Coastguard at present. Photo Robby Norman/Maritime and Coastguard Agency

The Labour Government unveiled plans to privatise search and rescue helicopters used on many mountain rescue missions and replace the familiar Sea Kings with more up-to-date Sikorsky S92As.

A survey discovered the surprising fact that one in 10 walkers had come across couples having sex in the great outdoors. Punctured blow-up dolls were also found but in another finding that undermined a little the credibility of the sample of hikers, aliens had been spotted while out walking.

The cost of parking at Pen y Pass, starting point for many an expedition up Snowdon, looked set for a steep rise to £10 a day,  while a steep challenge of a different kind faced Dave MacLeod and Andy Turner who were filmed on six classic routes originally climbed 50 years ago by Jimmy Marshall and Robin Smith, using traditional step-cutting techniques. The result was screened at Fort William Mountain Festival attended by Marshall.

Scout leader Stephen Young, 18, from Borough Green, Kent, died after being caught in an avalanche while taking part in a winter-skills day on Creag Meagaidh.  Michael Coffield’s body was found in his van after he had been walking in the Spittal of Glenshee.

The body of a walker missing for almost five years was discovered by another walker. The remains of John Ford of Atherton, Manchester, were found by a man in woodland on The Benn, above Thirlmere, while a party of four were lucky to survive a serious avalanche on Pinnacle Ridge on St Sunday Crag. One was critically injured in the incident.

The grim winter toll continued with the death of mountain instructor Christopher Walker, 29, of Keswick, Cumbria, and his client Robert Pritchard, 37, of New Malden, Surrey, who both died after falling more than 450m (1,500ft) when a slab avalanche swept them off a spur above Coire na Tulaich on Buachaille Etive Mòr in Glencoe.

By March, the ski centre operators on Cairngorm Mountain were resorting to using dynamite to clear snow threatening to avalanche above the White Lady slope.

Being polite to golfers doesn't mean giving up rights. Photo: nsaplayer CC-BY-ND-2.0

High Court judges struck a blow for civility with the ruling that polite walkers who had waited for golfers to play their shots on a site at Redcar in Cleveland had not forfeited their rights to have the area declared a green, with free access.

Comedians Rob Brydon and Steve Coogan enjoyed the Yorkshire Dales scenery while filming for their latest venture. The pair were shooting footage yesterday at Gordale Scar, the 100m-deep limestone gorge near Malham. Rob’s verdict on Twitter was succinct: ‘Stunning’ and ‘Wow’.

Everest summiteer Sir Ranulph Fiennes was hospitalised when he crashed his car after taking part in a night-time mountain marathon. He would later be fined £1,000 for the incident, in which he fell asleep at the wheel and seriously injured another driver.

Television presenter Kate Silverton and Phil Packer, who suffered spinal injuries during active service in Iraq, were forced to retreat from a Sport Relief ascent of Ben Nevis due to bad weather. The pair did, however, summit Scafell Pike and Snowdon.

Police announced they were investigating hoax calls made to mountain rescue during the November 2009 floods, a process that would eventually see Tyne and Wear journalist Sarah Crickmer jailed for three months.

Stressed city workers were offered free jam-jars full of fresh countryside air, gathered by the National Trust on the banks of Windermere. Communications boss Andrew McLaughlin said: “With most of us living in an urban environment and having little time to escape to the great outdoors we thought it was about time the National Trust shared just a fraction of our copious amounts of fresh air with the nation.”

The status of one of Snowdonia’s most shapely mountains was put in doubt as the amateur hill sleuths John Barnard, Graham Jackson and Myrddyn Phillips turned their attention to Tryfan. Happily, the mountain would later measure up at 917.5m, easily beating the 3,000ft mark at a comfortable 3,010ft.

It was announced the axe would fall on the Nevis Partnership, the charity that helped maintain paths on Britain’s highest mountain, as funding was withdrawn.

Julia Bradbury, Ramblers' president

Julia Bradbury, Ramblers' president

The Ramblers announced television walking personality Julia Bradbury would be appointed the organisation’s president. She said: “For too long walking has been associated mainly with the hardcore-enthusiast tag. My message is that walking is for everyone – young, old, groups, singles, city, country, black, white, you name it.”

Paul Newing, 35, of Dukinfield, Tameside, Greater Manchester, died when he slid down a snow slope on Great End, in the Scafell range, and fell 200m (650ft) over a crag.

Walkers and climbers were hit by the strange theft of a specialist generator from the Steall bothy in Glen Nevis, leaving the shelter with no power. Members of the bothy’s custodians the Lochaber Mountaineering Club reckon it would have taken at least three people to carry the heavyweight piece of equipment – because that’s how many members it took to get the generator through the gorge when it was installed six years ago.

A new national park came into being as the South Downs gained its status. Covering an area of 1,600 sq km (618 sq km), from Beachy Head to Winchester, the new park’s birth was welcomed by Ruth Chambers, deputy chief executive of the Campaign for National Parks, who said: “It’s fantastic that the South Downs is now a fully fledged member of the national parks family.

Disappointment greeted the Government announcement of only a limited freeing of Ordnance Survey data. Walkers had anticipated free mapping at 1:25,000 – the most popular scale for outdoor enthusiasts. The Ramblers said the Government had lost its nerve.

David and Heather Pitt at Feizor, on the route of A Pennine Journey, with Ron Scholes, left, who collaborated on the guide

David and Heather Pitt at Feizor, on the route of A Pennine Journey, with Ron Scholes, left, who collaborated on the guide

In April, aficionados of author Alfred Wainwright gathered to launch a guidebook to a new route following his first ever long-distance trek up the Pennines and back again. Proceeds from David Pitt’s book would go towards waymarking the route with a view to gaining it national trail status.

Emily Parker, a Leeds University student from Doncaster, South Yorkshire, died when her kayak overturned on the River Coe in Glencoe. The 20-year-old’s body was found after an extensive search of the water, which was swollen by heavy rain and meltwater. Days later, Simon Fletcher, 19, of Stockton on Tees, Cleveland, died after his craft capsized and he became trapped under a rock in the River Tay at the Grandtully rapids near Aberfeldy.

Nepal and the Chinese Government agreed, sort of, on the height of Everest: officially 8,848m – or 8,844m. The former is the height always stated by Nepal and marks the height of the snow and ice cap on the peak. The latter, the preferred figure for the Chinese government, which occupies Tibet on the north side of the mountain, which is another bone of contention, relates to the height of the actual rock underlying the snow.

Still on the world’s highest mountain, plans to scatter Sir Edmund Hillary’s ashes on Everest were abandoned as such an act would break local culture and tradition, according to a civic leader.

How the outdoors might have looked if the election had gone the Loony Party way

How the outdoors might have looked if the election had gone the Loony Party way

The painting of contour lines on Britain’s hills, and colour-coded roads to match maps were promised by the Monster Raving Loony Party if it gained power in the election, along with proposing a long walk to help the European constitution. Needless to say, the party didn’t win any seats.

The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajökull volcano and the ensuing flight ban across large parts of Britain led to the RAF, Royal Navy and Coastguard search and rescue helicopters being restricted to only missions where life was in danger.

Outspoken Lake District businessman Mark Weir announced plans for a mile-long zip wire ride from the side of Fleetwith Pike to his Honister Slate Mine, a plan that would subsequently be withdrawn for revision after numerous objections. The proposals are likely to resurface in the New Year.

The body of a caver was recovered, 39 years after he lost his life. Paul Heinz Esser died in February 1971 while cave diving in Porth yr ogof in the south of the Brecon Beacons national park. The remains of the trainee diver were recovered by two members of the South & Mid Wales Cave Rescue Team.

In May, rescuers were caught up a soap drama when copious amounts of washing-up liquid had to be used to free a woman who trapped a leg on a route in Cwm Idwal after she fell while climbing. Chris Lloyd of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation said: “With the aid of ropes to pull her up and a bottle of washing-up liquid, the limb was extracted. She was lowered to the ground and was able to walk off the mountain to her car…and drive away!”

Members of the Kintail Mountain Rescue Team headed north, south, east and west in a quest to raise cash for a new headquarters. The Compass Challenge saw them cycling 1,930km (1,200 miles) with 9,750m (32,000ft) of ascent in a week.

There were further deaths of a walker on Sgurr nan Gillean on Skye, a scrambler in Cwm Cneifion in the Glyderau, and a walker who fell from sea cliffs at Portmahomack in Easter Ross.

Bonita Norris on Manaslu

A novice mountaineer became the youngest British woman to reach the highest point on earth. Bonita Norris, 22, reached the summit of Everest guided by Kenton Cool, who himself set a new record with his eighth successful attempt on the mountain – more than any other Briton.

Alladale boss Paul Lister announced the shelving of the plans to bring wolves on to the Highland estate. However, he said the long-term goal of the Alladale Wilderness Reserve was to see the animals reintroduced, possibly by co-operating with neighbouring estates or by buying more land.

American teenager Jordan Romero, 13, of Big Bear, California, became the youngest person to summit the world’s highest mountain. In a week that saw a succession of records tumble, 50-year-old Apa Sherpa also took his tally of ascents of Everest to 20, extending his own record.

There were more woes for walkers in Glen Nevis when the steel cable of the Steall Bridge snapped, cutting off the only dry-foot route to An Gearanach and An Garbhanach from the glen.

Sadly, British climber Peter Kinloch died on Everest after he went blind during his attempt. The climber, who worked as a civilian for Merseyside Police, had successfully summited the mountain from the Tibetan side, but died the following day after a desperate 12-hour mission to save his life failed.

Spyke celebrates on the summit of Ben Hope in Sutherland

Spyke celebrates on the summit of Ben Hope in Sutherland

In June, long-distance expert Stephen Pyke ran himself into the record books by completing a continuous, muscle-powered round of all 283 munros in 39 days, 9hrs 6mins, beating Charlie Campbell’s 10-year-old record by nine days. A bottle of whisky from Campbell awaited ‘Spyke’ at the summit of Ben Hope, his final mountain.

Members of the Ski Club of Great Britain cleaned up the slopes at two resorts for the third year running as part of a campaign to spruce up the Nevis Range and CairnGorm Mountain resorts after a record-breaking winter season delayed the event by a month as late lying snow kept the pistes open.

Ethical Consumer magazine accused the outdoor gear industry of disregarding the environmental impact of its business, despite portraying a healthy and wholesome image. The Outdoor Industries Association countered by saying: “The outdoor industry is very well aware of its environmental and ethical responsibilities, which must be balanced with a responsibility for ensuring product performance and safety for the end user.”

Roger Jones of the Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation was appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours and Everest summiteer Sir Chris Bonington was appointed a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order.

The new Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition Government announced it was suspending plans to privatise search and rescue helicopters, used in many mountain rescue incidents. But the proposals resurfaced towards the end of the year.

Ultra runner Steve Birkinshaw failed in his attempt to extend the Lake District 24-hour record.

The 42-year-old long-distance expert had hoped to beat the 13-year-old record held by Mark Hartell by topping 78 peaks but the Threlkeld-based runner pulled out of his challenge short of Honister Hause after falling behind schedule and ended up 23 peaks short of his target.

The Roaches, near Leek, Staffordshire. Photo: Peak District National Park Authority

The Roaches, near Leek, Staffordshire. Photo: Peak District National Park Authority

The Peak District National Park Authority announced it was considering selling off prime climbing crag the Roaches as part of its cost-saving measures in the wake of Government cuts.

Chad Salisbury, 18, from Leyland, Lancashire, died when his kayak capsized on Ullswater.

Sheriff Johanna Johnston recommended a shake-up of safety rules covering outdoor education centres at the end of an inquiry into the death of 15-year-old Laura McDairmant, of Carlisle, who died in a July 2006 gorge-jumping session run by the Abernethy Trust’s Barcaple Outdoor Centre.

Britain’s weather continued to break records, with the announcement the country had had its driest first six months of any year since 1929.

Walkers who had to contend with the highest rainfall ever recorded in Cumbria the previous year, and the heaviest snowfall since the 1960s were blessed with some of the driest conditions underfoot for 80 years. The British Mountaineering Council warned of the increased risk of wildfires.

It was announced walkers would be allowed to use the Cairn Gorm funicular to access the mountain’s summit in a trial agreed by Highland Council and Scottish Natural Heritage. Chief executive said Ian Whitaker: “This trial allows us to address a key visitor frustration with the existing arrangements which do not permit access out at the top station. The trial allows us to test the visitor appeal of short guided walks within the ski area in a measured and responsible way.”

In July, as the fear of Government cuts grew, the Ramblers warned footpaths and other rights of way would become neglected. The Dead End campaign urged councils to put walkers and pedestrians at the top of their list of priorities and use the charity’s 12,000 volunteers to lend a hand. Otherwise, they said, the country risks becoming a series of dead ends for walkers.

The Labour Treasury team attempted to amend the coalition Government’s Finance Bill to exempt mountain rescue teams from the VAT increase. The 79 volunteer teams in England, Scotland and Wales face having to raise extra funds to pay the increased rate of tax, which is due to rise from 17½ per cent to 20 per cent in January next year. The move failed, and the team face paying thousands of pounds in extra tax.

Scotland’s international reputation was put at risk after the worst ever year for illegal poisoning of birds of prey. Figures released by the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds revealed a shameful tally of birds killed, including a rare white-tailed eagle donated to the country by Norway and two golden eagles.

A 10-year-old boy was praised by rescuers for guiding them to his injured grandfather. The boy, and his granddad, both from London, had set off from Wasdale heading for Ennerdale when the 72-year-old slipped near the summit of Haycock.

Mountain rescuers work with youngsters during the adventure day

Mountain rescuers work with youngsters during the adventure day

Disadvantaged youngsters were treated to an adventurous day out thanks to mountain rescue teams in north Wales. Members of the Centrepoint charity took part in the event, hosted by Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation and organised by the North Wales Mountain Rescue Association. Seriously ill children from the WellChild charity also joined in.

The trials and tribulation of a dysfunctional walking club were dramatised in The Great Outdoors, featuring Ruth Jones of Gavin and Stacey. Three episodes following the fictional band of ramblers aired on BBC Four.

There were plans in August to name a ridge on New Zealand’s highest mountain after the kiwi mountaineer who was first to summit Everest. The country’s Geographic Board considered naming the South Ridge of Aoraki-Mount Cook after the country’s best known mountaineer, who himself climbed the route five years before his Everest triumph.

A pilot website to help hillwalkers know where deerstalking is taking place went live. The Heading for the Scottish Hills site has Ordnance Survey maps for walkers to check where stalking of stags is likely to be taking place and supplemented the existing Hillphones service.

A climber whose rescue helicopter almost crashed during a dramatic airlift from Cwm Idwal in the Ogwen Valley in January had to be rescued again by the same team – while raising money for them during the annual Oggie 8 sponsored walk.

A ‘breakaway’ mountain organisation celebrated its 40th anniversary, four decades on from when members of the Association of Scottish Climbing Clubs decided to break away from the British Mountaineering Council to form the Mountaineering Council of Scotland. Membership stands at a record high of 10,500.

One of the beavers with kit. Photo© Steve Gardner

One of the beavers with kit. Photo© Steve Gardner

Baby beavers were spotted in a remote Scottish forest where a trial breeding programme took place. The youngsters, known as kits, were seen in the Knapdale Forest, north of Lochgilphead in Argyll, site of the Scottish Beaver Trial, a collaboration between the Scottish Wildlife Trust and the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland to reintroduce the animals, which were once native to Britain before they were hunted to extinction.

Slumdog Millionaire director Danny Boyle’s film about the American climber who cut off his own arm to escape an isolated canyon was announced as the closing film of the London Film Festival.

Starring James Franco, 127 Hours would tell the story of Aron Ralston, who was trapped for five days in Blue John Canyon after falling while climbing and becoming wedged by boulders.

An Australian company mining company was refused permission to reopen a gold mine in the Scottish Highlands but quickly found another source of the precious metal nearby.

Scotgold Resources had hoped to start mining up to 20,000 ounces of gold from the Cononish mine in the shadow of Ben Lui, but its plans were thrown out by the Loch Lomond the Trossachs National Park Authority.

Its attention then turned to another potential source of gold and silver 5km (3 miles) away, outside the national park boundary, at Beinn Udlaidh, a popular ice-climbing venue.

Robert Keetley’s body was found by rescuers on Blencathra, after his wife reported him missing. The 51-year-old walker, of West Bridgford, Nottingham, was found the day after he went for a walk on the Lakeland fell.

A walker crosses the Water of Nevis wire bridge. Photo: Ted and Jen CC-BY-2.0

A walker crosses the Water of Nevis wire bridge. Photo: Ted and Jen [CC-2.0]

The Steall Bridge in Glen Nevis reopened after repairs, to the relief of walkers who could now keep their feet dry when crossing the Water of Nevis.

Top climbers Dave MacLeod and Tim Emmett tackled the daunting overhanging crag of Sròn Uladail on Harris live for the television cameras in what the BBC called one of the largest outside broadcasts to be mounted in the Outer Hebrides.

And Alan Hinkes, the only Briton to have climbed all the world’s 8,000m mountains, set himself a new challenge: visiting England’s 39 shire county tops in eight days to set a record and help raise cash for the volunteer mountain rescue teams who came to his aid when he was caught in a Lake District avalanche earlier in the year.

The annual Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc was aborted due to bad weather and a restarted, truncated event was won by British long-distance expert Jez Bragg seven minutes ahead of American Mike Wolfe. Briton Lizzy Hawker was the fastest woman runner in the event, finishing with a time of 11hrs 47mins 30secs.

Kayaker Elizabeth Ashbee’s body was found in Caernarvon Bay after a major search by Coastguard, RNLI, police helicopter and RAF crews. The 53-year-old, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, became separated from four companions in bad weather near Rhosneigr.

In September, the first snows of what would prove a bumper early winter began falling in the Highlands. A brief, two-hour flurry was reported on the Cairngorm tops.

The 9,000 open-water swimmers who were to take part in the Great North Swim were to be disappointed when an outbreak of blue-green algae on Windermere put paid to the event. Lake District National Park Authority chief Richard Leafe would later pledge to tackle the problem.

The survey party on the summit of Glyder Fawr

The survey party on the summit of Glyder Fawr

Having confirmed Tryfan’s status as a 3,000-footer, the trio of amateur hill surveyors set their sights on Glyder Fawr, with a height of 999m (3,278ft) – just one metre short of the magic 1,000m mark that would elevate the mountain to a super league with only four members south of the Scottish border. The happy news was that the Snowdonia peak beat the mark by 80cm, putting its height at 1,000.8m – or 3,283ft in old money.

The bill for repairing footpaths and bridges damaged in the 2009 Cumbrian floods was put at £3.2m, and a plan was drawn up to replace or repair the 253 bridges and 85 paths destroyed or damaged in the floods.

Tom Franklin, chief executive of the Ramblers, urged outdoors enthusiasts to back the Coast for Most campaign to keep the pressure on the Government to fulfil its commitment to introducing the coastal path in the face of widespread expected cuts.

Cuts also threatened the future of Losehill Hall, a national park learning centre near Castleton in the Peak District and despite pressure from outdoors groups, more than 40 staff would learn their jobs would be lost by the end of the year under plans for the YHA to take over the building as a youth hostel with a much scaled-back education staff.

A new section of the All Wales Coast Path was officially opened by the Welsh environment minister.

The 26km (16-mile) stretch on the Gower peninsula, running from Llanmadoc to Port Eynon, includes the Worm’s Head headland and Rhossili beach.

ScottishPower’s decision not to bury a section of the controversial Beauly to Denny power line was condemned by the John Muir Trust as a failure to protect the landscape.

Anne and John Nuttall on Hedgehope Hill

Anne and John Nuttall on Hedgehope Hill

The couple who gave their names to a whole class of hills completed an impressive third round of all the mountains in England and Wales.

John and Anne Nuttall, the Cheshire-based pair who compiled a list of the 2,000-footers in England and Wales, reckon they also created their own mountain – of books. The couple estimated if all the copies of their guides were stacked on top of each other, they would create a new nuttall 2,000ft tall.

In October, the country’s biggest national park swelled to a new size with the addition of a large part of Highland Perthshire around Blair Atholl to the Cairngorms park. Ramblers Scotland’s director Dave Morris said the next step should be to seek World Heritage Site status for the area to safeguard the national park’s unique landscape and to establish a new park in the Western Isles.

The body of Stewart Sutherland, who had been missing in the Kintail hills for three weeks, was found by mountain rescuers at the Bealach an Sgàirne, between A’Ghlas-bheinn and Meall a Bhealaich, an outlier of Beinn Fhada in Kintail.

Police in north Wales began a search for a mystery cyclist whose mountain bike had been left chained to a telegraph pole for more than a month.

Officers said they were concerned for the safety of the man who left the red Carrera Vulcan at the entrance to Uwchlaw’r-ffynnon farm at Llanaelhearn on the Lleyn peninsula.

A coalition Government decision to drop plans for two new nuclear power stations on the edge of the Lake District was welcomed by both the Friends of the Lake District and the Campaign for National Parks.

High Street outdoors retailer Blacks Leisure announced it was in talks with potential buyers.
The company, which runs the Millets and Blacks stores, saw its shares rise by 25 per cent on early trading after the news.

The industry body behind Britain’s outdoor manufacturers and retailers threw its weight behind a new three-day show to be held in Birmingham.

The Outdoor Leisure Show was planned to take place at the National Exhibition Centre in February and feature appearances by television presenter and former Royal Marine Monty Halls, most famously seen being upstaged by his dog Reuben in Monty Hall’s Great Hebridean Escape.

Chancellor George Osborne’s comprehensive spending review spelled trouble for the outdoors. Local authorities and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs all came out big losers in the announcement.

And the Ramblers said the cuts risked closing the countryside to future generations of walkers, and predicted a return to the ‘forbidden Britain’ of the 1960s when, they said, accessing the countryside was often more of a challenge than a pleasure.

Half of England's Forestry Commission land could be sold off under Government plans

Half of England's Forestry Commission land could be sold off under Government plans

Included in the plans were proposals to sell off half the Forestry Commission’s land in England.

The move was condemned by a leading Green politician. Caroline Lucas, the only Green Party MP in the House of Commons said: “If Government plans mean vast areas of valuable forest being sold to private developers, it will be unforgiveable act of environmental vandalism.”

A coroner said that all adult supervisors in an annual challenge event should hold a nationally recognised qualification.

Greater Devon Coroner Dr Elizabeth Earland made the recommendation after the jury delivered a narrative verdict into the death of Charlotte Shaw, the 14-year-old who died after falling into a Dartmoor stream during training for the 2007 Ten Tors Challenge.

Graham Bunn, 46, of Stockton on Tees, County Durham, fell to his death from the summit of 747m (2,451ft) Yr Aran.

He was with his wife Anne at the time and she clambered down to try to resuscitate her husband after his fall on the Snowdonia peak.

Hot on the heels of the news of the abandonment of plans for new Cumbrian nuclear power stations came the announcement that the whole of the western Lake District would be suitable for burying radioactive waste.

A scientific report examining the geology of the area only rules out an area west of the Lake District, running from St Bees Head on the coast, up to the Solway Firth.

A survey of teenagers revealed a quarter of them believed Bacon comes from sheep, and a Dalek was more familiar to many youngsters than a magpie.

More than a third of children avoid playing outside because they don’t want to get their clothes dirty, with the result that two-thirds take part in outside play less than once a week. The survey results painted a picture of a public that is ‘terrified of the countryside’ according to the National Trust’s director-general Fiona Reynolds.

The Original Mountain Marathon passed without major incident, with favourites Steve Birkinshaw and Jethro Lennox beaten into second place by brothers Andy and Joe Symonds, who finished four minutes ahead of the previous year’s winners in the elite category.

The race visited Dartmoor for the second time in its history and was blessed with clear skies on Saturday, with more traditional wind, low cloud and rain greeting the competitors on the Sunday.

As November came and the traditional bug season loomed, the welcome news came that taking a regular walk, run or bike ride could halve the likelihood of catching a cold.

The good news for outdoor enthusiasts was that breaking into a sweat five times a week helps stave off cold viruses and lessens the effects of any infections.

A 12-week study of 1,002 people by researchers at the Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, found that 43 per cent fewer upper respiratory tract infections were recorded by those who took part in five or more sessions of exercise a week. The fittest third of subjects suffered 46 per cent fewer colds than their counterparts in the lowest third of the group, which included 601 women and 401 men.

Lake District felltop assessor Jason Taylor

Lake District felltop assessor Jason Taylor

And Helvellyn’s felltop assessors Jon Bennett and Jason Taylor geared up to make the daily trek to the mountain’s summit to provide wind and temperature readings, along with observations on ice and snow conditions. The Lake District National Park Authority describes the men as the park’s eyes and ears.

A planned 14-week closure of the main road alongside Loch Lomond to the Highlands had the recovering Scottish winter sports industry worried.

The Scottish Government approved the building of a viaduct to carry the A82 trunk road at Pulpit Rock, between Tarbet and Crianlarich, on the main route north from Glasgow. A 30-mile (48km) diversion could put climbers at risk when the closure takes place in 2012, campaigners said.

Crime paid for the Scarborough and Ryedale Mountain Rescue Team which received £1,800 from North Yorkshire Police from a fund set up to distribute money seized from convicted criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

The cash, part of a handout totalling £24,000, would go towards buying the team new radios.

A portent of things to come arrived with early snow and high winds affecting many upland areas in the first week of November.

Plas y Brenin, the national mountain centre at Capel Curig, posted a Tweet warning walkers to go equipped for winter conditions as many peaks in Snowdonia were covered in snow.

Croagh Patrick. Photo: Paul McIlroy CC-BY-SA-2.0

Croagh Patrick. Photo: Paul McIlroy CC-BY-SA-2.0

Hapless drinker Joseph McElwee subjected a Garda officer to a torrent of alcohol-inspired abuse and told him to ‘Get back to Mayo’.

His sentence, imposed by Mayo-born Judge Seamus Hughes in a hearing at Letterkenny, County Donegal, was to climb the 764m (2,507ft) Croagh Patrick and perform penance at the mountain’s four stations of St Patrick. Proof, if any were needed, that hillwalking can be punishing.

Work on the final phase of an improvement to the path leading to Ben Nevis’s north face began.

The final 750m section of the Allt a’Mhuilinn track was being upgraded to allow an easier passage for the estimated 10,000 walkers and climbers who use the route each year.

Walker Roger Freeman, 63, of Glen Parva, Leicestershire, was killed when he was attacked by a bull as he walked along a public footpath near Underhill Farm, Stanford on Soar, in Nottinghamshire.

His wife Glenis, 67, was also injured in the incident. The couple’s family said the pair were avid walkers and had completed the 135km (84-mile) Hadrian’s Wall route two years ago to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary.

A mountaineering expert urged walkers and climbers to sign up to a new service that allows 999 calls to be made by text.

Mountaineering Council of Scotland safety adviser Heather Morning pointed out that in many remote mountain areas, mobile phone coverage is weak and where a phone call might not get through, a text message could do.

Bomb-disposal experts at the site on Blawith Knott

Bomb-disposal experts at the site on Blawith Knott

A training exercise for mountain rescuers almost went with a bang when a member of the team found an unexploded bomb.

The Duddon and Furness Mountain Rescue Team was on exercise on Blawith Knott in the southern Lake District when team doctor Craig Stangroom came across the unexploded mortar on the hillside.

The team was taking part in a search exercise on the 248m (814ft) fell, near the southern end of Coniston Water. Team member Martin Cooper, who served with the Royal Artillery, recognised the ordnance as a Second World War two-inch mortar. The shell was later dealt with by a controlled explosion.

With much of Britain in the grip of early winter conditions, the sportscotland Avalanche Information Service swung into action almost three weeks sooner than planned.

The bumper November snowfalls also led to a Scottish ski resort is opening earlier than in any season in the last 13 years.

The Nevis Range facility on Aonach Mòr started operations two weeks earlier than planned, as heavy early snow covered the runs on the Lochaber mountain.

As December continued in wintry mode, mountain rescue teams combined to help more than 150 motorists stranded on a South Yorkshire route.

Woodhead Mountain Rescue Team was called to evacuate more than 100 people trapped in their vehicles overnight on the A57 between Anston and Worksop, on the South Yorkshire-Nottinghamshire border. They were joined by a Land Rover and crew from the Calder Valley Search and Rescue Team in West Yorkshire and two from Edale Mountain Rescue Team in Derbyshire.

Student Daniel Rafferty, 19, of Alness, Easter Ross, was fatally injured in a fall in Tower Gully on Ben Nevis’s north face.

And the body of missing fellwalker Gwenda Merriot was found by mountain rescuers on Stone Arthur, the 500m (1,640ft) peak overlooking Grasmere.

Walkers, climbers and mountaineers heading for the northern Cairngorms were warned that the risk of avalanche was considerable as some of the most severe winter conditions in memory continued, with windchill of –25C.

Mystery surrounded the circumstances of a strange disappearance high on the Pennine hills.

The Tan Hill Inn. Photo: Matthew Hatton CC-BY-SA-2.0

The Tan Hill Inn. Photo: Matthew Hatton CC-BY-SA-2.0

A framed feather which starred in a television commercial was stolen from the Tan Hill Inn. The ad featured the late Ted Moult, who dropped the said object next to the pub’s double-glazed window to demonstrate its efficacy as a Pennine gale raged outside.

Pub owner Tracy Daley told the BBC: “I am gutted. I would say 85 per cent of our new customers at some point mention the advert. It’s a piece of TV history.” She offered a reward for the feather’s safe return.

Police thanked volunteer mountain rescuers for their ‘phenomenal’ efforts in helping during heavy snow.

The Central Beacons Mountain Rescue Team worked in shifts helping South Wales Police as falls of snow up to 38cm (15 in) deep hit the area over the weekend. Rob Jones of the team said travel was near impossible in anything but a 4×4 vehicle.

A minor earthquake shook the Lake District. The tremor, with a local magnitude of 3.5, was felt throughout the area.

The quake, which was 14.3km deep, was centred on Hen Crag, Wetherlam, 2km from Coniston, above the Coppermines Valley.

The head of one of Scotland’s leading conservation charities said people can save themselves money – and get a much better view – by making the country’s great outdoors their gym.

The call to the wilds was made by Sir Kenneth Calman, chairman of the National Trust for Scotland and a former chief medical officer of both Scotland and England, so he should know.

But the year had a sombre end, with three deaths in Cumbria in quick succession: first Dave Church, of Shildon, County Durham, while climbing on Cautley Spout, then two fatalities on Helvellyn within three days, with walker Alan Burns, of Bamber Bridge, Preston, falling from the summit and Philip Ashton falling to his death at the same site.

The tragic deaths of the three men and all the others who perished in the great outdoors in 2010 were a salutary reminder of the dangers encountered when out in Britain’s countryside.

To the families and friends of all those who have perished or been injured in our great outdoors, grough sends its deep condolences.

But it is worth remembering that thousands of people enjoy the benefits and pleasures of Britain’s mountains, fells and countryside every week without mishap.

To all our readers, we wish a happy, healthy and safe New Year.