Now here’s a thing…the original plan was to catch a train (several trains!) to Thurso then taxi/bus to John O’Groats and start walking, wild camping as necessary at least for the first 2 weeks down to Fort William, then get support later in the walk. The reality is that Cath (my wife and chief supporter) and me will on Friday be collecting a quite expensive motorhome that we’ve managed to find a way to buy and Cath will be supporting me pretty much all the way. This saves a long train ride and also means I have a guaranteed comfy bed and conversation most nights with my tent as backup in case we fall out! It also means I don’t have to carry a heavy pack all the way apart from the bits where I will be on my own for a few days. On top of all that it means that PJ (our dog!) can come along and do some walking but he certainly won’t be doing 20 miles a day.
So I have had to revise the route a little to make convenient meeting places and find suitable camp sites, but I’m sure it will all be worth it and it means I can really share the full experience with the person closest to me rather than seeing her at the start and the end of the trek and maybe a few days in the middle. It remains to be seen how Cath will get on driving around the remote tracks of northern Scotland and the narrow, winding lanes of Devon and Cornwall – should be fun!
The first 3-4 weeks are firm now with most camp sites reserved – what can’t be guaranteed is whether I will need more time later on due to injury so it makes sense to book forward as we move. That may mean changing the route again if sites are fully booked or I can’t continue for any reason but I am so determined to complete it and have not contemplated the idea of stopping mid way and going back to complete at a later date. To help reduce the risk of this, for the first time ever I have actually planned some rest days into my schedule.
Another logistics problem is if people want to come and join me for a day or two. I am walking from A to B to C to D etc and not going back. Obviously to join me somebody would have to get to A to start and then back to A again if they had left a vehicle there. Whilst it is great to have company, and I’m sure as the walk goes on I will need all the encouragement I can get, I have to tell anyone who wants to join to sort out their own logistics – mine are complicated enough as it is!!
There is one absolute MUST DO though on the route – and that is to go as close as possible to my home town of Stafford and to do it at a weekend so that some family members can join me for a few miles over Cannock Chase (my mum in particular who will be 75 years old in July).
Final thing here, no idea yet how long we will take to get back home from Lands End, and right now I don’t really care!