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]

Sunday 20 September 2009

K2CW: Route Outline

I will post the full itinerary separately, but here’s a rough outline of the route that we’re planning to take from Kent to Cape Wrath:

  • Saxon Shore Way (which follows the cliffs) from St Margarets to Dover
  • North Downs Way (the southern option, not going via Canterbury) from Dover to Rochester
  • Local paths and lanes to Dartford, thence to the south bank of the Thames (note Geoff: that’s the south side, so no need to sneak through the Dartford Tunnel!)
  • Thames Path to Kew
  • Grand Union Canal to Birmingham
  • More canals through Wolverhampton until we can pick up some local paths to Cannock Chase
  • Staffs Way to Rocester then the Limestone Way (with a few diversions/shortcuts on local paths) to Youlgrave (pretty much following the Cicerone End-to-End Trail route at this point)
  • Various paths to meet up with the Pennine Way at the burger van on the A635 (double egg bap and two mugs of tea for me, please), then almost immediately leaving it to go via the Kirklees Way to Marsden
  • Paths and lanes via Ripponden and Sowerby Bridge* to pick up the Calderdale Way to get us to Halifax where hopefully one of Ma-in-Law’s famous roast dinners will await us
  • Various paths and lanes get us to the Dales Way LInk via Bingley to Ilkley where we pick up the Dales Way
  • Leaving the Dales Way just before Windermere we have the bit of the route that involved the most planning and re-planning. As it stands we’re going via Helvellyn to Scales, thence to the east of Blencathra to pick up the Cumbria Way
  • Reaching Carlisle via the Cumbria Way an incredibly brief encounter is had with Hadrian’s Wall Path before we head north taking the best route I could come up with until we reach Hawick
  • Just over a day later we join up with our LEJOG route and maybe out of laziness or maybe because I couldn’t see anything more attractive, we follow that route the whole way to Kilsyth. This time I will make the time to have a go on the Falkirk Wheel, but I’m also aware that this section involves my two least-favourite days of the whole of our LEJOG walk
  • From Kilsyth it starts to get interesting as we head west as if we’re going to join the West Highland Way, but then off to follow (more or less) the route of the Highland High Way** all the way up to Fort William. We’re missing out a few of the Munros included in that route, but also adding in a couple.
  • At Fort William the Cape Wrath Trail gives us our route to our destination, which again involves a few days that we’ve seen before. I’ll be particularly interested to see whether the zig-zag through the forest above Inverlael is more obvious now that the End-to-End trail has become quite a popular route.

*If memory serves, I’ve shamelessly stolen Martin’s route, or a very close approximation thereof, to get us from Ripponden to the Dales Way

** Like the Cape Wrath Trail, the Highland High Way is not an official route but just one described in a book. That book is long out of print. Eventually I decided that I wanted a copy of it. Out of print books tend to demand quite a lot of money second-hand. Never before have I paid that much for a little guide-book!


  1. Wow, this sounds fantastic! I'm absolutely green with envy :) I want to do a really long walk! *sob*

    I can taste those egg baps you're going to have in Yorkshire... *g*

  2. Good luck with that. Looks an amazing walk.

  3. Just read your LEJOG log entry re Inverlael. It made me smile - I also had difficulty in finding that path and in apalling conditions:it was one of the most memorable days on my trip. I have posted that day's extract from my LEJOG journal on my which you may be interested to read.

    Your route is mouthwatering and I intend to look at it in more detail.

  4. From Richmond you can pick up the Capital Ring that will lead through Syon House to the Grand Union. And As this is close to where Penny and I will be, You are welcome to stop by for a shower, bed and food :)

  5. This looks to be a seriously exciting project. Much luck and fun with it.

  6. Hi,

    This sounds like a really exciting trip!

    I’m Michelle from Jam and I’m working with the Guardian on their ‘Enjoy England’ feature, which is being produced in partnership with

    I would like to get in contact with you about an opportunity to share the great things we can do in England, but I could not find a contact email for you.

    Is there a way I can contact you with this information? My email address is

    Kind regards,


  7. This looks a very pleasant stroll, Gayle. I hope to be able to join you for a day or two....
    ...and of course you are welcome to stay here before you reach The Fleshpots of Halifax.

  8. Gayle & Mick

    If you are to travel up the Grand Union from London to Birmingham you will travel straight through Watford.

    If you want a Night in a bed with a great Breakfast and shower then we would love to host you at the Reynolds household in Bushey.

    If you are looking for walkers to walk with you for a day then I am also up for that but would not be offended if you turn down either offer.


    Simon Reynolds

  9. Hi Simon,

    Thanks very much for the kind offer: one which Gayle and I would be delighted to accept. It would also be a pleasure if you were to walk with us as well - perhaps the Ginger Tart could be talked into a short stroll too?

    We'll keep in touch with you and firm up on the date when it's a bit closer.

  10. What a fantastic hike. Hope you don't get too much road walk...seems as though you will not.

    If I am around I shall be a trail angel and drop you some water or food on the North Downs Way.

  11. Well you might have two trail angels on the north downs way, if we dont ever get the bloody house sold.

    Spare rooms, showers or camping in the back garden a mile or two south of St Martha's church just follow the Downs Link to Great Tangley...

  12. Thanks for all the encouraging comments, all. Moreover, thanks for the offers of beds and assistance - all very much appreciated.

    As much as we're happy in the tent it's always nice to have good company for an evening (not that Mick isn't good company (eek, digging a hole for myself here!)) and the opportunity of a bed (not to mention the glorious sense of space that comes with a bed).

  13. News update. We WILL be just off the Thames Path near Richmond from 18th November. Only hope we manage to get the bathroom fitted before you get that far :)