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]

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

People On Journeys

You may have noticed that there’s not an awful lot of walking going on around here at the moment. My intention of getting in a 3-day backpacking trip every fortnight has, of necessity, had to go by the wayside for this summer. There are, however, plenty of other people out there at the moment whose adventures I have been enjoying:

- Jack is a chap from Arizona who is now just a couple of weeks away from the end of his LEJOG. He came to stay with us when he was in our neck of the woods and would have you believe that I made him walk really fast on the day that I walked with him. I would claim that it was the fact that I didn’t have to pause to navigate (having walked that section of the Staffs Way plenty of times before) which caused us to speed from Cannock Chase up to Abbott’s Bromley. His blog can be found at

- Another American chap is Ken (from California) who is a few weeks behind Jack. Circumstances meant that we weren’t able to have him come and stay and it was third-time-lucky in trying to catch up with him too. We finally walked (albeit just for an hour and a half) with him as he passed through Dovedale. He’s now up on the top half of the Pennine Way. His blog is at

-Talking of the Pennine Way, Jade and Becks are two girls who are currently walking JOGLE and are somewhere on the south end of the Pennine Way at the moment, although their blog is a little behind (they tend to update it in chunks). I take my hat off to them. They’re young, not dreadfully experienced, and have been fighting injury, but are still cheerfully trucking along. I really hope to catch up with them as they pass by here. Their blog is at

- Walking rather further than LEJOG is Charlie who is currently walking all eight points of the compass around the British mainland in a single, 2000-mile walk. Sensible people would split such a walk into three separate walks :-)  Charlie has previously walked LEJOG and with my memory for ridiculously trivial detail I remembered the name (actually it was the mention of drinking real ale that jogged the memory) and I confirmed that it is in fact the same Charlie who Alan Sloman bumped into during his LEJOG in 2007. She obviously caught a walking bug! Her blog can be found at

-Continuing with the walking theme but slightly further afield, Hassbackwards are currently just 270 miles from the end of the Appalachian Trail and are struggling with injury. With 1900 miles down and so few to go that must be a truly dreadful position to be in. You can find out how they get on at

- Continuing with the North American walking thing, Erin is solo-walking the Pacific Crest Trail (albeit she’s been in company much of the time so far). To me (for whom walking something like the PCT is a completely alien thing), her blog is an excellent and interesting read. Add in adversity with the snow and water levels this year (hopefully she’s beyond the worst of both now) and with an old ankle problem that’s causing her problems, I’m hooked. You can find her at

-We’ll stay in the Americas for the next one, but this time by bicycle and in South America. Nathan is now well over a year into a journey from the top to the bottom of the American continent. He’s not doing it quickly; he’s doing it interestingly. Some of his stealth camps in North America were quite audacious and he’s not afraid of taking side trips or short days to enhance the enjoyment of his trip. From the look of his bicycle, he’s not having a lightweight trip either! You’ll find him at

(At this point I realise quite how many long journeys I’m following at the moment! Thank goodness for all these good people to keep me sane.)

- On an equally big scale, but with a different mode of transport, Roz Savage is currently rowing the Indian Ocean and in doing so is seeking to become only the second female to achieve a solo row of it. She was also the first female to solo-row the South Pacific. It was during that row that I first came across her, and immediately set about devouring her experiences on her first (Atlantic) row. Her earlier rows were perhaps more interesting from a blogging point of view, but I still like to have my daily fix from her from the middle of an ocean (even though, on this one, for fear of pirates, she’s not publishing her progress). You’ll find Roz at

- Sarah Outen is quite simply amazing. She was just 23 years old when she became the first female to solo-row the Indian Ocean in 2009 and with her enthusiastic blogging about it I was hooked as soon as I found her. Not satisfied with an adventure that big, she decided that her next big trip would be ‘London to London, via the World’, an entirely human-powered trip out on which she set in April. She’s currently in China, having kayaked the English Channel and cycled the rest of the way from London. When she reaches an ocean she will row across it. One of those oceans is the North Pacific. If I remember correctly, when I followed two chaps who rowed the North Atlantic a couple of years ago, they were the first to achieve the feat (and there were a couple of edge-of-your-seat moments even then). And Sarah’s going to do it solo. Gulp. She may not be blogging regularly on this trip, but she’s certainly one to follow. She’s at

- Not strictly on a big trip right now, but so often on one that she’s always worth keeping an eye on, is Christine the ‘German Tourist’. She’s just finished (although not completed – she’s very bitter about that) a canoe trip down the Yukon and later this year intends to tackle JOGLE. Her annual mileages make my efforts look like baby steps. Another very well written blog which you’ll find at

-And finally there’s Martin. He’s also not on a trip right now but is out and about so often that his life is one big walking (and sometimes cycling) adventure. Every few days he’ll have something well-written to keep me entertained (not to mention a little green with envy). Martin’s at

(Pity I didn’t write this post a few weeks ago, as if I had I could have included Ron’s big 70th birthday adventure in the list, but I’ve left it too late as he’s finished his cycling trip. He may be enjoying the end of his nomadic lifestyle, but for me the end is a shame, as it was another excellent journey to follow.)

I’m sure that there are many other excellent adventures going on out there and being reported by the marvels of modern technology, but I think that’s probably enough to keep me entertained for now!



  1. Some cracking blogs there to read. Thanks for the links Gayle.

  2. Agree with Martin R. Thanks for the links.
    There are some brave and fit people out there.
    I am sure Martin B must sleep walk. I cannot keep up with reading what he’s done let alone keep up on foot.

  3. All was quiet in Timperley Towers. But hey, what was that clunking noise at midnight? The Mad B****r had woken from his siexta and was tramping around in the brand new Scarpa Manta boots that are deemed to be 'Essential Equipment'. "Must break them in, Must break them in" muttered the Sleepwalker....

  4. Inspirational stuff It gives me itchy feet. Possibly next year, funds and fitness allowing, I would love to do one of Sweden's long distance trails.

  5. Nice and witty Martin.
    Scarpa Manta's? Breaking in? Going moon walking? What's really going on here?

  6. Oops. I meant siesta!
    I'll tell you tomorrow, Alan, if you get to Reg's 8 mile plod, starting at 11.00 from Letcliffe Park, Barnoldswick (SD 880 459) - you should have an email about it.
    [Prepare to be envious.]

  7. Sorry - Gayle and Mick - you are of course most welcome to join the partying horde of 'Plodders' in Barnoldswick. If you feel able to keep up!

  8. Dawn - Oooh, long distance in Sweden? That sounds interesting. Hope everything falls into place to allow you to do that.

  9. Alan R - I understood why Martin would be breaking in Scarpa Mantas in the middle of the night. You need to keep an eye on to see what he's up to next. (And, the middle-of-the-night was clearly to fit the boot-breaking-in around the hectic daytime activity schedule.)

  10. Martin - Thank you for the Barnoldswick invitation (even as an afterthought!). Alas, I'm working tomorrow. I'm sure that a plod around Barnoldswick would be a far more pleasing way to spend the day.