Wednesday, 24 January 2007


As you know, my route is finished. It has been a huge task getting it all lined in, plotted and printed out onto A4 maps. There are 105 walking days planned, and that means about 200 A4 sheets of paper. On the reverse of the maps will be the telephone numbers of possible accommodation, escape routes (in mountainous areas in case of mis-hap) and details of walking partners’ contact details etc.

Chances are, when you read this it will be Thursday (it is late Wednesday night as I write this) and so you will realise that in five weeks time I will be walking on the first leg of the walk to Penzance on my way to John O’Groats.

This means that at the moment I am in Limbo.

These five weeks will be spent sorting out the possible accommodation, patiently (still) waiting for the tent to arrive; it was mailed a week ago from New Hampshire, and then going through the kit methodically checking that everything is still okay.

And of course getting as fit as possible. That means getting on Lynnie’s torture machine (her Concept 2 rowing machine).

And I still have things to buy.

Smartwool socks and liners: Quite a few of these in fact, which need to be parcelled up with the maps and sent to strategic points along the route. I am taking no chances with the socks: The whole walk is costing a small fortune and so its best not to scrimp on the most important bit of all; my socks.

Food: I will be trying to get as much freshly prepared food along the route as possible, but where I am out in the wilds (mostly Scotland and a bit of Wales) I shall be using the Norwegian dehydrated meals I mentioned earlier in the blog, as they are lightweight, very tasty and good portions.

And tonight I have been perusing Bearded Gits wonderfully useful website – there are all sorts of goodies that I might use on the new tent – like Dynema guy-lines and fat titanium pegs for poor ground conditions. I am sure there are a thousand things I could actually do – but there will come a time when I will have to say “enough already!”

I know you are already there.


  1. Hi Alan,

    Many congrats on all your planning - good luck on the lejog & tgo. The blogs made for entertaining reading.

    What are those norwegian dehy. foods you mentioned - do you have a link or details of the retailer ? Thanks - Steve

  2. Hi Steve

    Their website is not the easiest to find your way around - so here is a link to the page you will need:

    There is a variety of meals to go for - I have tried most and they are scrummy!

    All the best

  3. To tide you over your limbo, try reading Chet Raymo's 'Walking Zero' ISBN 0-8027-1494-3

    He covers the discovery of space and time (science history lessons) whilst walking along the prime meridian. Only 181 pages, an easy weekend's read :-)

  4. Alan

    Don't be too hasty in "getting fit" and "getting your weight down" before you start. I did a walk the length of Norway in 2002 that took 6 months. During the first 10 weeks I lost 12 kg in weight and started to burn muscle instead of fat - not a good situation.

    I had a 4-week break planned during the snow melt time, and used that to gorge myself on everthing forbidden - loads and loads of fat - just to give myself a "cushion" so to speak. I put 3 kg back on.

    Afterwards, I had no problems, but I very consciously went after a high-calory diet - lots of butter, hazelnuts and digestive biscuits in my hill food and I ate fried every time I bought something cooked.

    Good luck

    Jim Chalmers

  5. Jim

    You have no idea how good that advice sounds to me! I have just ordered 28 dried meals from Expedition Foods Online as main meals and a few puddings that I can have for breakfast (I get bored with Oats-so-simple).

    That walk of yours sounds amazing. Did you write it up at all? Is there a site we can take a look at?

    The walk through the south west shouldn't be too much of a problem for me food-wise, as there are quite a few pubs on the route at lunchtimes and loads planned for the evenings.

    I aim to eat my way through Britain! So perhaps I shall desist with this being careful with my weight bit - I have lost half a stone already so I am virtually there anyway.

    Now then, where did Lynnie leave those sausages? Time for lunch!

    All the best

  6. Dear Alan

    Dave Hewitt posted some material from me on his web site on OutdoorScotland (now defunct) while I was walking. However, I have his posts as html files that I can send you. I am reluctant to put my email address on a public blog like this, but if you e-mail me through OutdoorsMagic, I'll send the files to you.

    I have written my story up as a book, but haven't yet found anyone willing to publish it. But I'm still trying.

    Good luck on your walk.

    Jim Chalmers


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