Wednesday, 27 June 2007

DAY 119: Canisbay To John O'Groats and Duncansby Head

Wednesday 27th June 2007
Today: 5.4 miles
Total so far: 1687.0 miles
Percentage Completed: 100%


(Click map to enlarge)

The above figures give the bare facts: One thousand, six hundred and eighty seven miles walked and the Job 100% completed.

This morning I walk with Derek & Marian the few miles remaining and have my photograph taken by the very nice chap at John O'Groats with the famous signpost. I sign the book for End to Enders in the gift shop as the hotel is all shuttered up.


JOG signpost

I don't know what sort of book I was expecting to sign, but it was a standard Collins hard-back type exercise book just like you would find in a bothy. This is right, as anything more grand would add a layer of unnecessary silliness. It's the walk that is important and the reasons why you are walking. I search for Daryl from America's signature and also for Charlie's who I met on the Pennine Way but do not find them. A pity. Perhaps they are in the Hotel’s book?

The John O'Groats Hotel looks quite forlorn, but it has to be said: John O'Groats is so much better than the appalling 'Land's End Experience' and so it is a good place to linger.

Then we are off once more to the Real Finishing Point (the capitals are Very Important here!): Duncansby Head; the point furthest away from Land's End on Mainland Britain.

Duncansby Head: Furthest point away from Land’s End on Mainland Britain

It is a gentle walk and by the time we arrive, there a small party of well wishers there to support me: Pat & Julie (the wardens from JOG Youth Hostel and TGO Challengers), Val Machin and Janet (more TGO Challengers!) Lord Elpus and Miss Whiplash (aka Phil & Tini - Even More TGO Challengers!) and of course, Derek & Marian – also TGO Challengers!

The reception committee at Duncansby Head

We knock the top off a bottle of Champagne and the more beardy types finish off Derek's whisky as well (was I the only the one there with a beard? - ooh dear.)Photographs are taken in front of the lighthouse and I remove the Osprey sack for the last time on the walk.

I am asked how I feel. I am not sure. It has all gone to plan, because the plan was a good one. I suppose I have just been the chap who carried out a well made plan. Yes, it has been a long way. I have had fabulous weather on the whole. The scenery I have passed through has been top-drawer and some of the people I have met, unforgettable.

The support from fellow TGO Challengers, and others, along the entire length of my walk has been quite amazing - their generosity, help and moral support a breath of fresh air; human kindness and the occasional phone call to lift a flagging spirit at just the right moment, quite exceptional!

I shall leave this entry now and try to summarize a little more clearly after I return home, so do drop by to visit the blog - it is not over 'til this skinny old bird sings!

And - a last appeal:

If you have enjoyed my reading my struggles and tales and feel you would like to donate then do please visit the link at the top right of this page to my Sue Ryder Care page and donate as much as you can afford, as right now the Sue Ryder team is caring for a critically ill patient, supporting them and their family when all hope for life has been lost. They did a magnificent job for my father, Jeff Sloman and all his very large family!

You know you should; you know you want to. Do it for me, there's a poppet!

Thank you



  1. Alan...congratulations and thank you. Thank you to all those that have made a donation to Sue Ryder Care.

    Sue Ryder Care

  2. My warmest congratulations Alan, we're all very proud of you!!


  3. Congrats Alan, I've 'followed' you from the very start. Thanks for all the publicity you have generated and thanks for 'my Dads hands', they were my Dads hands as well.
    Thank you.
    Al-anon from OM

  4. Very well hiked, Alan.
    And a special thankyou for letting us participate via your blog. It has been most entertaining :-)

  5. Good one Al, are you walking home?
    Mr. Grumpy (the other one)

  6. Congratulations on completing your epic walk Alan! A fantastic achievement both for Sue Ryder and you personally.

    It has been great following your progress via your superb blog which I know we are all going to miss immensely.

    All the best for your return home.

    The Rev.

  7. Nice one Alan.
    Time for a slower beer now?

  8. Congratulations Alan.
    When does the book come out ?

  9. Congratulations on an epic journey, I`ve really enjoyed reading your blog.

  10. Well done Alan. It's been great to follow your walk. You are a real inspiration to all us softies who only walk from west to east.

    Ian C.

  11. Well done!
    You now have memories and tales to last a lifetime.

  12. Congratulations, Alan. A great achievement, all those miles - and all that well-earned charity money. I left a note for you in the guest book of the Groats Hotel on May 16. But not important.



  13. Hi Alan

    Well done! We're all suitably impressed by your overland (and online) achievements - you're an inspiration to us all.

    Just one question - what are you going to do for an encore?

    Congratulations from Stef and family.

  14. Congratulations Alan a real achievment and honour to complete this.

    It does beg the question of how 100's of people will now fill their coffee breaks without your ripping yarn to read!

    If you feel like unloading your thoughts in chat form before normality sucks you in, you know where I am.

    All the very best to you and your supporters/helpers.

    Podcast Bob and Rose

  15. Congratulations, on the walk and the words!

  16. Bloody well done oh beardy one and the beers might well be on me,on our next meeting.Jonny aka Indie/Jones

  17. Hi ALan,

    Well Done! congratulations

    It is allways a pleasure to see someone achieving what he set out to do.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts. And thanks for the little but very interesting chat we had after the Montrose dinner.

    So from all of us here in the Netherlands :



  18. Congratulations on completing the walk and on the money you raised.

    Wishing you a peaceful re-entry to the rest of your life.


  19. Your dad would have been so proud of you Alan. He changed a lot of people in his life and I feel you have done the same on this journey.
    It's been an epic trip and you have raised a great sum of money at the same time.Congratulations. I know all our side of the Sloman family are really proud of you. WELL DONE!! Hope the trip home goes well and you manage to settle back into the daily grind without too many Cuz Helen

  20. Outstanding effort and great blog - will miss reading it immensely.

    I think your own father would be very proud of his son's achievement

  21. Well done Alan.The difficult part now comes in trying to adjust back to normal everyday life.(As I have found when recently getting back from the C2C walk)Again well done-It has been a tremendous achievement on your part.

  22. what took you so long. too much beer and talking, Suppose u are going to put your feet up now bruv, Dad would larf at all the comments and tales . see u soon
    bruv with not much hair

  23. Many congratulations on this great achievement well done indeed

  24. To finish - a moment both sweet and sad. Well done.

    How did your weight vary, then?

  25. Great stuff Alan. Resist the normal life, and start planning the next adventure. I look forward to reading it.

    Dave Greenwood

  26. Hooray! Well done, Alan. That was some walk... and I really enjoyed the blog.

    Where next, then? :-)


  27. What next then?.........

    There's a thought. I am sitting on my settee watching the ten o'clock news. Perhaps another glass of Gigondas. That will do for the moment!

    Who knows what follows that!

    Thank you all for your very kind comments.


  28. What an incredible achievement! Well done, Alan.

  29. Congratulations! I've enjoyed reading this very much. Now I want to have a go too!

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