Five weeks to go

The time is rushing by before we will start on this great adventure. I know that I need to get fitter and am trying to walk around on the flat land around York to build up my stamina which has taken quite a knock from the flu. Hills will have to wait a little longer.

We are currently now living out of boxes prior to our move from the Vicarage. It is quite a lesson in basic living, week to week, though it must be nothing compared to those people we are aiming to help in Sierra Leone.

Yesterday the York Press came to take a photo which has been in today’s paper and so there can be no backing out now.

Thanks to everyone for messages of support, donations and interest.


Deciding the LEJOG route

In contrast to the UK’s official National Trails, the Land’s End to John o’Groats Walk does not have a single recognised and designated route – it is left to walkers to choose their own preferred route. That, apart from the distance and the fact of joining up both ends of the kingdom, is what makes LEJOG so interesting.

The original reason for thinking about the walk was that we wanted to seize the opportunity of Nancy retiring from her role as Vicar of Heslington and to take a ‘year out’ during which we could relax (?walking a thousand miles?) and try to decide how we should then spend the rest of our retirement. So what were the criteria we used in deciding our route?

It had to be enjoyable and so, where feasible, we would walk through attractive countryside and avoid large urban areas. We thought that we ought to avoid mountainous or hilly terrain, just in case we found we couldn’t cope and had to wimp out before we had finished, and so we opted for what is generally a low-level route.

Our offspring live in different parts of the country and we felt that, as responsible parents, we ought to use the opportunity to visit them, so that meant going through the East Midlands. The fact that we intend to use their homes for hospitality and accommodation is, of course, entirely coincidental.

We wanted to choose a route that stayed off-road as much as possible, for aesthetic as well as for safety reasons. However, because we would need to use bus transport to return us to our bases, we would sometimes need to make minor diversions in order to gain access to a road with a convenient bus service. Our preferred practice is to drive in our car to the start of the walk, complete the walk, then catch a bus back to our car. This has meant very careful scrutiny of the ‘Traveline’ website in order to work out bus routes and timetables.

Wherever possible we would use a fixed base for a number of days walking, rather than back-pack from point to point. A fixed base gives much greater flexibility than back-packing. Plans for the day can be changed at the last minute if bad weather, sickness or some other unforeseen circumstances make walking that day difficult. On the other hand if the weather forecast is good for a particular day, there is no need to carry extra clothing. Setting off early in the morning is not a problem if you are self-catering, although it can be sometimes with bed and breakfast arrangements.

Moreover, a fixed base allows us to take extra luggage, such as the maps and guide books for the whole walk, that we could not possibly carry for the whole journey. In addition, it allows us to take a computer with us. We can leave the computer at the house and update the blog at regular intervals without taking the risk of carrying it with us on the walk.

Announcing LEJOG

John and Nancy are planning to do a major sponsored walk for Christian Aid. It is the Land’s End to John o’Groats walk, or ‘LEJOG’, the ultimate challenge for long-distance walkers. Click LEJOG for more details.

Check back here, once they have started, for posts about their progress and a ‘his and hers’ impression of the venture so far.

Whitby Abbeylands

Whitby Abbeylands book coverNew book!

John and his wife Nancy accepted an offer from Roger Pickles and the Friends of Whitby Abbey to devise a series of walks around the boundary of the estate of the medieval Whitby Abbey.

Click here to see more details.


Alphabetting book coverNew book!

Alphabetting in East Yorkshire is a collection of 26 circular walks. Each walk goes to a place or feature beginning with a different letter of the alphabet, so the ‘A‘ Walk goes to Arras, the ‘B‘ Walk to Bempton, the ‘C‘ Walk to Cowlam and so on. There are even walks to Q, U, V, X, Y and Z locations.

Click here to see more details.