The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Lengths and Breadths

We never set out to walk the lengths and breadths of Britain.

On 7 July 2008, when we reached John O’Groats, our ‘lengths and breadths of Britain’ map looked like this:

LEJOG It might have stayed looking like that, except that Mick quite fancied walking Wainwright’s Coast to Coast and taking advantage of still having a modicum of fitness left over from LEJOG we popped across from St Bees to Robin Hood’s Bay in September 2008. Our map then looked like this:

coast LEJOG and C2C sm

Still we had no master plan. Then, about this time last year, I came to fill in the TGOC application form and got to the question of “Why do you want to take part in the TGO Challenge” (or some such similar wording). I gave that some thought. One reason was because quite a few people had told us that we should. Another reason was that having walked the length and breadth of England and the length of Scotland it seemed like a good addition to our collection of lengths and breadths.

So, by the end of May this year, the map was looking like this:

LEJOG C2C TGOCGradually the theme had developed and there was a job to be finished. Our attention turned to Wales.

Being gainfully employed this year, having already taken most of May off, and with the length of Wales being longer than can be squeezed into a few days, we put that one on the back-burner and instead concentrated on the easy option. Every year a mad bunch of people walk across Wales in a day, so it looked eminently achievable for us to walk across it in a long weekend. Hence in early August this year our map had gained another line:

LEJOG C2C TGOC AWW smFive lines out of a possible six completed it was inevitable that we had to set our sights on the full set and I even have a vague plan as to what our route will be (based largely on the Cambrian Way route, which will hopefully avoid significant problems with footpath upkeep issues in mid-Wales). So, it would be reasonable to think that our next sizeable walk will make the map look like this:

Done plus Cambrian smBut, no! The length of Wales is going to be kept on the back-burner for a while yet, for first there is another line that we’re going to add to our map…

…to be continued…


  1. You know you want to...

    Bottom right to top left, then?

  2. I recommend looking at Nicholas Crane's Two Degrees West for an interesting route concept, and a good read.

    To Alan S. I presume you mean Kent to Cape Wrath. I have had a look at this and the footpath network does not lend itself well until one gets north of London and even after that it is not so good.

  3. Sorry to have been a tiny bit of a tease – but I’ve got so little else to write about that I need to spread thin what I do have!

    Mr Sloman - you have hit the nail on the head (but I fear that you did so with inside information, given that we had already told you of our plan).

    Conrad - I shall defer commenting on the footpath network south of London until the middle of next year!

  4. Ooh! Did you? That wil probably come back to me in a few months time then... (Cannot remember yesterday, but ten years ago is easy)

    Okay, okay - so I did remember...