2016 It wasn't that bad because I'm not a celebrity, or American.

what is going on here?

2016 has been pretty rough for a lot of people, from the monthly loss of much loved celebrities to some fairly awful decisions made in democratic countries. I've seen a lot of "2016 is the worst year ever" things on social media and decided that the place needed brightening up a bit with some of my favourite memories from each month, because after all, 2016 wasn't all bad.

January

Post 5k

I hate running, unless its after a ball as part of a game or away from peril it's just not fun. Nonetheless I took part in my first ever organised race around Arthur's Seat in Edinburgh last January and didn't do that badly. A further highlight was watching a fox eat KFC on the second day of the new year.

February

Probably the best month out of the lot. I travelled to the USA to see my best friend marry his best friend (the girl version of course, Duncan and I are only together in spirit). I met loads of amazing people, saw places I never thought I'd see and learned a lot about cheese sticks, Wisconsin beer and hydrodynamics. More high, more psi. Other highlights of the month: my first NHL game, Northumberland bouldering trip and story time with Michael Riley.

Northumberland bouldering

March

Trying hard at Kirriemuir
Pretending to be Alex Honnold at North Glash

After the excitement of February came the spring of March and the good weather that followed allowed for some great days out climbing in Scotland. Sport, coastal trad and bouldering were ticked off this month, little did I know that it would be my last month of climbing for a while!

April

Medicine!

In April I broke my foot in the skatepark at work and #CrutchesToCruxes, my journey back to climbing was born.

May

On the last day of May I was back!

May was a month of recovery and rehab both at home and eventually in the climbing wall, testing what was possible. Finally, on the last day of May, Sean and I visited Alan's Cliff and Souter Head for my first day of trad climbing since the accident. It was a good day out at two crags I'd never visited. The walk back along the coastal path and the Brewdog's afterwards topped off a great day out. Thanks Sean!

june

June was all about Iceland. I could do a whole photo essay on that amazing country and incredible trip. Emily, Ainsley and I had a blast driving the ring road and having #AllTheAdventures.

The flag on our whale watching trip.

The Sun Voyager, it seemed right to check in before our voyage of discovery began.

This photo was taken at exactly midnight. 10 days of travel and it never got dark!

Kirkjufell, Snæfellsnes peninsula.

Falljökull, hiking a glacier was very cool.

Gullfoss is massive.

July

Another awesome climbing heavy month where I managed to spend more time out on the rock rather than indoors, how it should be! I managed to regain and then surpass my pre-injury form with an ascent of North for a Day (f7a) at Luath followed by a great session and top of Mr Tumlus (f7b+) less than a week later.

It's over! #CruxesToCruxes is complete.

July also saw Noah and I introduced to Barry Manilow, a problem on the Ruthven Boulder near Inverness which incredibly striking. It occupies a hill above a loch and every problem on it seems to be a classic. Barry Manilow is one of those problems, I can't do it. Noah can't do it but it has occupied our thoughts weekly ever since. Finally, on the last day of July I visited the TCA to take part in the PT for Climbing course put on by ClimbScotland.

August

August was another month of good weather and getting out to enjoy it. Lots of climbing again but also a rare chance to get out on the mountain bikes with dad at the newly rebuilt trails on the outskirts of Fochabers. After ride ice cream was mandatory and delicious. A visit to The Fin (pictured) with Jay was incredible, what a feature. I lead my first 7a that day (it was a horror show) and got to watch Jay work Megalodon, it was inspiring to see him on there. Legaston Quarry became a regularly visited haunt in August and I discovered one of my favourite routes ever there in Driller Killer.

September

Just like last year, September can only mean one thing...TOTAL WARRIOR! Once again, in an effort to raise money for Scottish Mountain Rescue I took part in the race two days in a row. I couldn't have done it without Emily, Mikey and James and we managed to raise £220 for the cause, so thanks to my running mates and everyone who donated. It really means a lot to get such support.

october

In October I felt like I had to really step my my training, the first round of the Scottish National Bouldering League was at the beginning of November and I'd set myself the goal of taking part in at least 4 of the events. I know I'm not going to place in the prize sections, there are far too many strong people in Scotland for that but top 20 seems like a realistic goal and it's one I'm sticking to. September also saw Jay and I in a marathon setting session on the main overhang at TX for the Leading Ladder competition. Elite climbers only (kidding).

november

Photo by Rachel Carr

November, SNBL Round 1 in Edinburgh. I had probably my best performance ever at a comp and only made one or two silly mistakes which included falling out of the finishing jug of one problem. Still, a great night and a respectable score left me in 12th. The next round was in my old workplace of Inverness, it was ace to get back there with a strong crowd of Aberdeen climbers to test ourselves in the other wall in the north. In a comp where I started slowly and was frustrated by some problems I managed to find my groove and sneak into the top 10 overall. Next up...home wall advantage?

December

December, home wall advantage for WBS 2/SNBL 3, or so I'd hoped! I had a fairly shocking performance, felt off my game all day and made some silly mistakes. Somehow I managed to recover (everyone else seemed to have a bad day too) and scrape some semblance of a credible score back together. I head into the winter break sitting 5th in Scotland. I expect to get bumped down a bit lower once the league returns to the central belt but that's also much higher than I thought I would be. As if to remind me that it's not all about the competition circuit I've also found a new project on the coast. The Man From Ellon (f7b) is a fairly powerful route which I've become super psyched on, all the moves have gone, I just need to link them. One day soon it will happen!

2017....

Its coming soon, happy new year to you and yours. May the climbs be hard and the crash mats soft. Thanks to everyone that's made my year great, always remember that having a splash makes everything better.

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