Edit: I’ve set up a new website/blog to cover this topic: Blackspotting.com.

Thanks to the many people who read and commented on my last blog about needing some time away from technology, the web, and social media.

It helped clarify a lot for me, and it gave me two ideas:

1 – Being someone who likes a physical challenge, and having not been able to do a triathlon this year due to injury, the thought of doing something relatively physical whilst getting away from it all appealed to me.

The current plan is to walk the length of the Taff Trail and back. A return trip from Cardiff to Brecon, in other words, along the Taff river and through the foothills of the Brecon beacons. It’s about 110 miles all in all. I may even make a small detour to climb Pen Y Fan. Just me, a small tent, a few books, and enough provisions to see me through. No phone, no laptop, no communications technology.

I plan to do this before the end of the year. The only problem is that I anticipate it’ll take 3 or 4 days, and I’m not sure where I’ll squeeze that in. The only weekend I have completely free before November (when the thought of doing it gets a little less appealing) is this weekend. Which makes the next 24 hours a bit hectic, if I’m definitely going to do it.

If anyone has any thoughts on campsites, places to stop, things to do on the way, then please let me know in the comments. I’ve given this incredibly little thought so far (it really is just an idea at this stage, but may be a fullblown plan by tomorrow morning), so any thoughts about how much food etc I should take with me, or whether there’s enough shops on the way, and all that kind of jazz would be very useful. It’s been a good few years since I planned an “expedition” like this, especially at such short notice. I walked a very hilly 62 miles in 24 hours once, so I reckon I could *just* do it in 3 days at 12 hours of walking a day. Or maybe I should take a more leisurely 4 days? Suppose it depends on where I can camp….

2Maf’s comment about a regularly enforced blackout, and the possibility of a local cottage where you could go in order to get away from it all, gave me an idea.

What if I found a space/venue/hall/cottage near Cardiff where a bunch of people could go (once a month?), hand in all technology at the door, then enjoy being “offline” for a few hours. It would maybe need two rooms (one for chatting, discussing ideas & books etc, and one room for silent reading, thinking, “cogitating”!), and possibly a few simple rules. These are just off the top of my head, and it may be that after some discussion they are completely without merit or totally un-needed.


  • You have to commit to attending for at least, say, four hours there – no point just nipping in for half an hour to say hello to everyone and then leaving. Nobody benefits from that.
  • You have to spend your first 30-60 minutes there in the “quiet room” in order to calm down from the outside world. You can spend all your time there, if you like.

So, what does everyone think?

Your ideas for my walk, and for the monthly “digital switchoff” in the comments below, ta!