Walking across Britain

John O’Groats to Lands End – A 1,200 mile hike from the far north east of the Scottish mainland to the far south west of England


One of my all time favourite adventure books

I have done startlingly little planning for this walk, beyond booking train tickets in the hope that Scotland opens its border with England on 26 April as planned.

Lands End to John O’Groats (most people do it that way around, although I’ll be heading south, not north) is a very famous route in the UK, although most people cycle it, but unlike most long distance routes there isn’t a set path. You can go any way you like, as long as you start and finish in these two famous locations.

I’m planning on walking on some of the key long distance walking trails in the UK – Great Glen Way, West Highland Way and the Pennine Way – but I’m unsure of the route I’ll take once I’m in the Midlands. All I know is, I want to finish by the start of July – I’m booked in for my second covid jab and need to get back for it.

That said, I have done a little reading to inspire me. There aren’t many books out there to choose from when it comes to walking the route, but Journey Through Britain by John Hillaby is a wonderful book, written in the late 60s, that paints a vivid picture of the emotional and geographical highs and lows of walking from one end of the UK to the other. It’s out of print but available second hand online, and it’s a total delight to read.

Finally, as I won’t be carrying guidebooks or maps, I will be using the excellent digital OS maps app to guide me on my way.

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