- Solo walks across the three nations of Great Britain.
- Long-distance paths and hill-walking in Britain.
- Resources to support my 2013 Cicerone publication Walking in Essex.
- Walking in London to be published by Cicerone on 22 September.
Across the three nations
Over the last few years, I’ve walked across the three nations of Great Britain.
The principle was the same for each: to find my own line across each nation, wherever I can visiting peaks or places that have long been on my ‘to-do’ list. For I did not have the weeks on end that could permit a non-stop walk. Instead I spent a few days a year, usually in the spring or autumn, starting at the place I had left off and ending 60 miles or so further on. Almost always, I used public transport to and sometimes within these breaks.
When I started Scotland, I vaguely knew that there was some difficult territory to cross before I could reach my goal of Cape Wrath. In Wales, I had already learnt how to use a bothy and a bunkhouse; reaching the North-West Highlands aged 62, I bit the bullet and took up backpacking, with lightweight tent, the only sensible way to reach my goal. The tent has since proved invaluable in England too. The Scotland walk took me from 2007 to 2014, and the England walk from 2006 to 2016 – I finished it three weeks after becoming entitled to my old-age pension.
Not that I’ve left Scotland behind since getting to Cape Wrath. In 2015 and 2016, I completed the west-to-east, coast-to-coast crossing of the Southern Uplands that is the Southern Upland Way. In 2017 I walked across the Cairngorms National Park, from Newtonmore to Edzell – part of a wider project to walk west-to-east, coast-to-coast across the Highlands. A review of the 2017 walk will be the next item on the site.
See also my feature article A long walk to Berwick in the November 2016 issue of The Great Outdoors – go to www.tgomagazine.co.uk for back issues.
This site also looks at a wide variety of named trails which I have walked over the years. Some are solo, but many were in collaboration with my friend Dave Travers – we walked together for many years, from the 1970s to his untimely death in 2017; on others, you will find reference to various bits of family.
I would like to complete as many of the 19 National Trails of the three nations as I can. With every inch of only ten fully completed, that sounds like a tall order, but I’m just a stage or so short of several more. In 2016 I completed three – the Southern Upland Way (referred to above) in May, the famous Pennine Way in June, and Glyndŵr’s Way in mid-Wales.
So far in 2017, I have finished the Ridgeway, the Thames Path and the South Downs Way – details of the first are already on the site, and the latter two will follow soon. In October I plan to finish the Hadrian’s Wall Path by completing the less glamorous stretches around Newcastle and Carlisle.
For the future, I have started thinking about the Wolds Way and the Cleveland Way, both in Yorkshire, and I might also make an effort on the southern stretches of the South West Coast Path.
Plenty of hills too
And although primarily a trail walker, I do climb hills, and intend to finish the Welsh Hewitts too, if I can find the time to fit them in (mostly the smaller ones left). I went back to the Lake District after a long absence in summer 2016, and liked it so much I went back this August too.
‘Walking in Essex’ resources
Walking in London
My second Cicerone title will be published on 22 September. There’s advance information on the Cicerone website.
In the book, you can discover a wilder side of London through its 25 walks in and around the capital’s green spaces and nature reserves. It covers both central and greater London, and the walks explore woods and forest, heaths and royal parks, canals and rivers.
I’ve included plenty of information about the wildlife, history and conservation of each area, and each walk has an OS map at the scale of 1:25,000.
Trail completed: South Downs Way, with the short inland section from Eastbourne to Alfriston. Tuesday 18 July.
2000ft hill: Bannerdale Crags, 2241ft, in the northern Lake District. Thursday 17 August.
Walk lead: Joyden’s Wood and the River Cray, for the Wren group. Tuesday 15 August.
Across Scotland: Spey to Edzell
All of The Ridgeway
The Cheviot hills
I’m leading four stages of the Silk River walks, between North Woolwich and Dartford.
See the Silk River website for more information.
Wednesday 18 October
Nature Ramble #7
About six miles, venue tbc. Meet 1000 at Stratford station, Jubilee line concourse.
For the Wren Group