Planning Tips and Links to Other Web
So many questions; where to
Like everything in life, we will probably all go
about planning the project in different ways. Here is how we did,
modified a little with some hindsight.
- Start big and sketchy and gradually
work in the detail of each aspect e.g.:
- When can we do it?
- How long can we take?
- Do we carry a tent or stay in
- What is our purpose? It might be
simply to walk from LE to JOG or it might be to also join
Southernmost to Northernmost points or some other goal.
- Then we wondered how others had done
it, which is probably what you are doing right now. I found the
following observations helpful:
- I read as many accounts as I could
find, some went the shortest flattest way and didn't mind
walking on tarmac a lot of the time, others went a very long
way round to be able to follow as many National Trails as
possible and keep off the road. Some did it slowly others
did long daily distances. Each web site, book, blog and
journal had a different style and personality and all helped
us to build a picture of what to expect and how we might go
- Here are some links to information
sources that may be helpful:
Daryl May did the walk alone at age 63, then went back 6 months
later to do it in the opposite direction. A very entertaining
and informative account
Mark Moxon gives another entertaining
story of his walk by a different route
Mark's website is probably
the most comprehensive site on the Land's End to John O'Groats
http://www.foshy.co.uk/lejog/index.html Done in a fast
time combining camping, B&B's and YHA accomodation. Richard took
a central Cornwall route and went directly north from Edinburgh.
Written in a delightfully laid back, chatty, matter of fact
Dave Greenwood gives a very earthy but
hilarious description of his very fast walk, Be warned though,
it is X rated, if you can't tolerate course language, give this
one a miss. I thought it was great
For a good overview of the route
options and a good concise account of the walk Martin Hockey is
Andrew McCloy's: The Land's End to John
O'Groats Walk book is a favourite amongst LEJOG walkers see
Amazon for details.
For the big picture on the main
national trails, the
Harvey Long Distance Path Chart is a useful planning aid.
Also on Amazon.
The obvious option is to
take the most detailed, 1:25K OS Explorer, maps. You will need
around 55 of them! We decided against this option in favour of a
3 way map carrying method as follows:
- I downloaded PC based
mapping software (the software is free and includes basic road
maps) what you pay for are the OS maps of your choice. We bought
1:50K maps in 'tiles' of 40X40 square km along our chosen route.
Current cost is 0.92 ukp per tile. This produces a seamless map
on which you can draw your route on the screen of your PC. We
then printed day by day sections as A4 sheets along our route.
Later I added some 1:25K tiles and prints for more difficult to
navigate terrain. Most of the maps we printed and carried were
1:50K and they were quite adequate.
- To provide the wider
context, we carried pages torn out of a Collins Road Atlas.
- We also bought a mapping
and GPS app for Lynne's iphone. If we had a windows based Smart
phone we could have exported our PC maps to it for no extra
cost, but the Apple iphone did not support the PC based
software.. The iphone app (worked without a cell network signal)
was great for showing us exactly where we were, not so good for
context on a small screen.
This method worked very well for us and was
cheaper, lighter weight, and much less clutter compared to
broadsheet paper maps. We got a relative to post parcels of map
sheets to us C/O post offices at intervals along the way.
After a great deal of indecision, we finally
decided against carrying camping equipment and to stay at either
B&B's, Hotels or YHA according to availability. Before we left home,
we spent a lot of time, mainly using the internet and also other
hikers lists, of conveniently located B&B's. We created a tabular
Itinerary for the whole walk which included addresses and phone
numbers of, ideally 2 B&B's in each planned stopping place. This
proved to be invaluable. Generally, we phoned the evening before to
secure our accommodation. However, we soon discovered that our
listed B&B either; didn't answer the phone when we called, didn't
have a vacancy at the time, was not open for business. Quite early
in the trek we got quite desperate when no accommodation seemed to
be available. In reality, we never had to 'sleep rough'. Something
always turned up. After a while we developed the following 'rules'
about seeking a bed for the night:
- Don't wing it! We tried just looking for
a place when we arrived and it didn't work out well! Always work
hard at securing a place the day before (later on we started to
book several days ahead).
- Always accept the first offer, don't
refuse because of price, it might be the only place available
and you might get gazumped. This happened at least once when we
phoned back after "thinking about it" and "shopping round".
- Try to chat and let the host know you are
walkers and you need to find somewhere close. If there isn't a
vacancy, always ask for a referral to somewhere nearby. More
than once I talked a host around to finding a way to 'put us up'
when they had originally said there was no room. Reasons:
Sometimes they had a room they didn't normally let out but liked
to help out if they knew someone was 'stuck'. Sometimes people
had to work late and couldn't be ready until well into the
evening that day, let them know you are flexible and will work
something out to accommodate their situation. Better than
sleeping in the rain!
These are the main points that come to mind
right now. Over time we will add to and improve this web site