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 21 December 2010

The Next Big Walk

Originally we had three contenders for the walking agenda for the first half of next year:

Plan A was to apply if we didn’t get a place on the TGOC, and would see us continuing our ‘British Extremeties series’, with us walking from Lowestoft to the Point of Ardnamurchan (known in my mapping database as EtoW, being the most easterly point of the British mainland to most westerly point*).

Plan B was to apply if we did get a place on the TGOC, and would see us continuing our ‘lengths and breadths series’, with us walking the length of Wales in April before going across Scotland in May, before popping over to Europe in June, with the EtoW jaunt being postponed until 2012.

There had been talk of a slightly madder plan, which involved timing the EtoW walk such that we would arrive at Ardnamurchan around abouts the 11 May, so that we could then tag the TGOC onto the end of the outing. That plan (which we’ll call Plan C) had, however, been discounted, leaving us just with Plans A and B.

The result of the draw for the Challenge was supposed to be the deciding factor which would cause either Plan A or Plan B to be selected, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. When we got the letter telling us that we hadn’t got a place on the Challenge, but giving us a position on the stand-by list that was sufficiently low that we are almost certain to gain a place, Mick decided that he quite fancied Plan C after all.

I remained unconvinced and resisted and resisted making a decision. Finally I had to concede defeat. So many people had been told of the tentative plan that it became a reality. A start date has been selected, and thus three months today we’ll be setting out from Lowestoft to walk to the east coast of Scotland via the Point of Ardnamurchan (albeit with a bit of transport between Ardnamurchan and our TGO Challenge start point).

I’d best update the lines marked on that outline map of Britain over there on the right of the blog, hadn’t I?

(*Ardnamurchan seems to be the place that’s generally accepted as being the most westerly point, but looking at the OS map it looks to me suspiciously like Corrachadh Mor (about a km south of the Point of Ardnamurchan) just pips it)


A photo that’s only tenuously linked to the rest of the post!


  1. Ooh ! Excitement! I shall look forward to it. You will pass very close to both Lord Elpus & I. I will have chats with him....
    Word = "rantize"

  2. Congratulations on another innovative plan, i look forward to the itinerary and reading the journey blog.
    Maybe our paths will cross one year.
    Cheers J.P.

  3. Yes C M is most westerly point. Whilst Acharacle is not such a nice challenge start point as Strathcarron I'd seriously consider using Acharacle if doing E-W beforehand.
    Good Luck.

  4. Alan - Your company (and of course Phil's) would be most excellent if you were able to meet up with us as we amble on past.
    (Rantize ... Rantization ... follows on nicely from my recent rant about being able to '-ise' any word without people noticing that the result is a completely made up word. I achieved the use of 'debundlisation' in a meeting a while ago without anyone leaping out of their chair to shout 'bullshit'!)

  5. John - I'm going to try really really hard to control my obsessive planning compulsion this time and not to come up with a detailed day-by-day itinerararary. But, we will publish a route plan and the daily blog will, of course, make its return.

    I see that we missed you passing by our neck of the woods at the beginning of May this year as you were heading north, but whilst we were also away walking.

  6. T.V.P.S - Best change the end of our route so that we go to CM before Ardnamurchan!

    I did look in some depth at starting the Challenge from Acharcle, but was struggling to find a nice route that didn't involve repeating too much of the route we will have just walked in getting to Ardnamurchan.

    Even if I could see a good route to get to Camusnagaul, and then took the route I'd like to take out of Ft William, we'd end up hitting our EtoW route again a bit further on. Hence, I went back to plan A (TGOC Plan A, that is) to start at Strathcarron.

    Still plenty of time to change our minds, though!

  7. Gayle a number of options open up IF ferries are allowed on E-W walk & there are / were 3 different boats doing crossings of Scotland's finest, most beautiful loch 2009 challenge!

  8. Wow - sounds like great fun! I'm envious!