Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Planning the Route

I've planned the route to follow the best, most scenic, coastal, waterside and hillside footpaths and, where practical, avoid road-walking in urban areas. I've also chosen to walk north to south, John o'Groats to Land's End, so that I'll have the benefit of walking towards warmer weather in the late summer and the psychological advantage of walking 'downhill'. The real disadvantages will be keeping the sun and prevailing southwesterly winds in my face.

Northern Scotland: John O'Groats to Fort William
The first stage strikes south following the cliffs of the rugged east coast Highlands to Inverness then southwest along the Caledonian Canal, Great Glen Way and Loch Ness past Ben Nevis to Fort William.
Far North Way: John o'Groats (YHA, C), 18 miles along A99 past Wrath Hill to Keiss and along the links and coast to Wick (C), 21 miles, initially along the cliffs past the Castle of Old Wick and Thrumster to Whaligoe, Lybster, Lathertonwheel and Dunbeath (C), 16 miles past deserted village of Badbea to Helmsdale (YHA), 11 miles to Lothbeg (C) and Brora (C), 23 miles along A9 then coast path past Dunrobin Castle to Golspie, along the coast and Balatar Wood to the A9 and minor roads around Lock Fleet to Embo (C), coast/beach path to Dornoch (C) and Dornoch Bridge (C), Glenmorangie Distillery, Tain, Balintore, Nigg Ferry, Cromarty, Rosemarkie (C), Fortrose, Avoch, Munlochy, Kessock Bridge, Inverness (YHA)
Great Glen Way (73 miles): Inverness (YHA), Drumnadrochit, Lewiston (YHA), Invermoriston (YHA, C), Fort Augustus (YHA), [Invergarry (YHA)], Neptune's Staircase (C), Fort William

Southern Scotland: Fort William to Gretna
From Fort William my route follows the popular West Highland Way along the edge of Rannoch Moor and Loch Lomond joining the Kelvin Walkway to the banks of the River Clyde. My route then strikes southwest to Lanark and by various paths and tracksto join the Southern Uplands Way at Wanlockhead as far as Beattock then south along the Annandale Way to Annan, Gretna and the Scottish border.
West Highland Way (96 miles): Fort William, Glen Nevis (YHA, C), Kinlochleven (C), Bridge of Orchy, Tyndrum (C), Crianlarich (YHA), Inverarnan (C), [Ardliu (C)], Rowardennan (YHA), Cashel Farm (C), Milarrochy (C), Balmaha, Drymen, Easter Drumquhassie (C), Dumgoyne, Milngavie
Kelvin Walkway (11 miles): Milngavie, Temple of Boclair, Maryhill, Kelvinside, Kelvingrove Park (YHA), River Clyde
Clyde Walkway (40 miles): River Clyde, Glasgow Green, Uddingston, Blantyre, Bothwell, Hamilton, Crossford, Kirkfield Bank (C), New Lanark (YHA), Falls of Clyde, Douglas Water, Douglas (C), Crawfordjohn, Leadhills, Wanlockhead
Southern Upland Way: Wanlockhead, Beattock (C)
Annandale Way (53 miles): Beattock, St Ann's, Lochmaben (C), Hightae, Dalton, Hoddom (C), Brydekirk (C), Annan (C) and on to Gretna (C)

Northern England: Gretna to Edale
From Gretna my route takes me south to pick up the Cumbria Way through the Lake District then forks east along the Dales Way to meet the Pennine Way heading south to it's traditional starting place at Edale.
Cumbria Coastal Way: Gretna (C), Metal Bridge, Rockcliffe, Cargo, Carlisle
Cumbria Way: Carlisle, Cummersdale, Dalston (C), Bridge End, Caldbeck, Skiddaw House (YHA), Keswick (YHA, C), Portinscale, Borrowdale (YHA, C), Rosthwaite, Stonewaite, Langdale (YHA, C), Chapel Stile (C), Elterwater (YHA), Skelwith Bridge, Ambleside (YHA), Troutbeck Bridge, Windermere (YHA), Bowness-on-Windermere,
Dales Way: Bowness-on-Windermere, Staveley, Burnside, Sedbergh (C), Dent (C), Cowgill (C), Stone House, Ribblehead, Ribbleway
Pennine Way: Horton in Ribblesdale (C), Malham Tarn, Malham Cove, Malham (YHA, C), Gargrave (C), East Marton, Thornton-in-Craven, Dale End, Cowling (C), Master Stones (C), Jack's Bridge, Lumbuts (C), The White House, Standedge (C), Crowden (YHA, C), Snake Pass, Kinder Scout, Upper Booth (C), Edale (YHA, C)

Central England: Edale to Bath
From Edale my route is south through the Peak District to Castleton then down through the Midlands to Stratford-upon-Avon and Chipping Campden before meandering south along the Cotswold Way to Bath.
Limestone Way: Castleton (YHA, C), Miller's Dale, [Blackwell (C)], Flagg, Monyash (C), Bradford, Youlgrave (YHA), [Birchover (C)], Winster, Upper Town, Grangemill, Parwich (C), Tissington (C), Thorpe, [Ilam (YHA)], Ellastone, Rocester
Staffordshire Way: Rocester, Uttoxeter (C), Abbots Bromey, Colton, Rugeley, Cannock Chase

Heart of England Way/Coventry Way: Cannock Chase, Wandon (C), Cannock Wood, Cresswell Green, Lichfield (C), Darnford, Drayton Bassett, Drayton Manor (C), Broomey Croft (C), Kingsbury, Whitacre Heath, Shustoke, Church End, [Meriden (C)], Berkswell, Balsall Street, Baddesley Clinton, Kingswood, Lowsonford, Henley-in-Arden
Monarch's Way/The Greenway: Henley-in-Arden, Wootton Wawen, Snitterfield, Stratford-upon-Avon (YHA, C), Long Marsden
Heart of England Way: Long Marsden, Quinton, Mickleton, Chipping Campden
Cotswold Way: Chipping Campden, Broadway (C), Slanton, Winchcombe, Cleeve Hill, Dowdeswell, Birdlip, Pope's Wood, Painswick, Edge, Westrip, King's Stanley, Dursley, North Nibley, Wotton-under-Edge, Hawkesbury Upton, Old Sodbury, Tormarton, Pennsylvania, Cold Ashton

The Westcountry: Bath to Land's End
To skirt Bath and Bristol the final section of my route forks southwest over the Mendip and Quantock Hills to Minehead then follows Cornwall and Devon's spectacular north coast to my ultimate destination, Land's End.
Limestone Link: Cold Ashton, Northend, Bathampton, Monkton Combe, Midford, Coombe Hay, Dunkerton, Radford, Hallatrow, Hinton Blewett, West Harptree
Monarch's Way: West Harptree, Priddy (C)
West Mendip Way: Priddy (C), Draycott
Samaritan's Way South West: Draycott, Rodney Stoke (C), Westbury-sub-Mendip, Glastonbury (C), Street (YHA), Walton (C), Moorlinch, Chedzoy, Bridgwater, Goathurst [Enmore], Timbercombe, Trescombe [Flaxpool (C)], Quantock Hills, Bicknoller
Macmillan Way West: Bicknoller, Williton, Hungerford, Withycombe, Dunster, Minehead (YHA)
SW Coast Path: Land's End: Minehead (YHA), Porlock (C), Porlock Weir, Countisbury, Lynmouth, Lynton, Lynbridge (C), Woody Bay, Hunter's Inn, Coombe Martin (C),Watermouth (C), Ilfracombe (C), Lee, Mortehoe (C), Woolacombe, Croyde Bay (C), Croyde (C), Braunton (C), Chivenor (C), Barnstaple, Instow, Appledore (C), Westward Ho! (YHA), Buck's Mills (C), Clovelly (C), Stoke (C), Morwenstow, Maer (C), Bude (C), Widemouth Bay, Wanson (C), Penhalt (C), Crackington Haven, Beeny (C), Boscastle (YHA), Tintagel (YHA, C), Trebarwith Strand, Porth Isaac, Polzeath (C), Padstow (C), Trevone, Harlyn, Trevose Head (C), Treynarnon (YHA, C), Porthcothan (C), Mawgan Porth (C), Trevarrian (C), Whipsiderry (C), Newquay, Crantock (C), West Pentire (C), Perranporth (YHA, C), St Agnes (C), Porthtowan (C), Portreath (YHA), Coombe (C), Gwithian (C), Black Cliff (C), Hayle (C), Lelant (C), Carbis Bay (C), St Ives (C), Trevalgan (C), Zennor, Pendeen (C), Botallack (C), St Just (YHA, C), Sennen Cove (C), Sennen, Land's End, Penzance (YHA)

YHA = Youth Hostel, C = Campsite

Well, that's the plan!

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