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]

Thursday, 30 December 2010

The Curse Of Being An Obsessive Planner

From when I first started planning next year’s Big Walk (should I confess that I had a rough route plotted within five days of getting home from Cape Wrath this year?), I said that I was going to take a different approach next time: I wasn’t going to come up with a detailed itinerary.

The intention was that I would, instead, plot the route and do my usual research into the campsites along the way, but that I wouldn’t divvy it up into days, thus leaving us the with flexibility to pick and choose on a day-to-day basis how far we are going to walk (admittedly an itinerary didn’t stop us from doing that, it’s it hasn’t been that uncommon for us to deviate from the plan, but having a stated itinerary does set a certain expectation, which I wanted to get away from).

So, having long ago plotted the route, and having refined and tweaked it here and there over the months, a couple of weeks ago I set about researching campsites (having joined the C&CC so as to find out whether there were any Certified Locations on our route that we could use; I’m now kicking myself that I didn’t join up three years ago). Evenings spent poring over UK Campsite and the C&CC website netted a whole host of waypoints marking campsites along our route, together with an entire spreadsheet of information.

A host of waypoints dotted over the map wasn’t enough though. Next came a bit of colour coding of those waypoints, and more information put into the spreadsheet.

Having done all of that, it struck me that the spacing of the available campsites didn’t give an awful lot of flexibility and so, just out of interest, I had a look at how it is that we’re likely to split the route up. With the days numbered I figured that I may as well have a play around with dates, given that we’ve got a deadline for reaching Ardnamurchan, so next I put days and dates onto the spreadsheet.

Damn! How did that happen? Suddenly I seem to have a day-by-day itinerary!


  1. I *love* this post Gayle!

    Obsessive? No - surely not....


  2. I did the same as you plotting the C&CClub sites onto Memory Map for my forthcoming circuit of Wales walk. Their OS grid reference system is a godsend, except they do not give the letters corresponding to the grid reference and if a Landrager map includes more than one OS sheet you have to search by trial and error. I wrote to the C&CC and they replied saying that the letters are given on their website and that it may be more helpful using that than the sites book. It was too late then and I have not looked at this but it may be of interest to others making similar plans.

    There is no way our two routes are going to coincide, but I wish you well and look forward to seeing your route in more detail.

  3. Alan, Louise - I feel like I should shyly stand up in a room full of people and announce 'My name is Gayle and I'm an obsessive planner...'

    Conrad - I recalled the issue you'd had with the lack of the preceding letters in the OS grid references. As it went I did my C&CC CL plotting exercise before my 'Big Sites Book' arrived and, not wanting to plot any sites that weren't on our route, I used the map search function on the C&CC website which in turn gave me a full grid reference. The only downside was that the grid reference isn't in a copy and paste-able format - but Mick got quite used to me shouting grid references at him to remember whilst I switched from the website to Anquet to plug them in!

  4. I laughed out loud!

    Good gurl... Don't mention the shoes or the mileage tallies; there are other groups you can join for those...

    You life will be a whirl of support groups.

  5. Alan - Too late for not mentioning the mileage tallies, I'm afraid. Graphs are being already in the process of being copied into Blogger for a post that will appear very shortly.