- 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 published by Cicerone in September 2017.
- Entrant in The Great Outdoors Challenge 2019.
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, and followed this with Strathcarron to Newtonmore, in May this year. The logical next step is The Great Outdoors Challenge, and I’m proud to say that I will be a participant in this wonderful cross-Scotland backpacking event next May.
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. Recent progress has been good.
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. During 2017, I finished the Ridgeway, the Thames Path, the South Downs Way and Hadrian’s Wall Path, and this year I finished the Cleveland Way.
For the future, I have started thinking about the Cleveland Way’s neighbour the Yorkshire Wolds Way, and in Scotland I’m interested in the Great Glen Way and Speyside Way. 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 keep coming back, most recently in October.
‘Walking in Essex’ resources
My Cicerone guide Walking in Essex was published in mid-November 2013. On the Essex tab there are resources to support the book and help you explore this most-misunderstood of English counties. **Updated edition in preparation for April 2019!!**
Walking in London
My second Cicerone title was published in September 2017, and it’s one of their best-sellers. There’s information on the Cicerone website, where you can buy it (and the Essex book too) post-free.
In this book, you can discover a wilder side of London through 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: Cleveland Way, along cliffs and across moors in North Yorkshire. Monday 26 March 2018.
2000ft hill: Red Screes, 2546ft, in the eastern Lake District. Thursday 4 October 2018.
Walk lead: By Ash and Stort, 18 miles from Roydon station, for London LDWA. Saturday 24 November 2018.