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My blog nick-name is SIR HUGH. I'm not from the aristocracy - my middle name is Hugh which relates to the list of 282 hills in Scotland compiled by Sir Hugh Munro in 1891. I climbed my last one (Sgurr Mor) on 28th June 2009


Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Day 15 - on the train home.

Wednesday 8th May 2019

All these long distance trips are pleasurable but hard work, interspersed with usually pleasant stopovers and interesting and rewarding encounters. Instinctively I plot routes through sparsely populated areas avoiding large towns and  have walked for miles without seeing anybody never mind speaking, and for even me who has no problem with my own company it can be a bit lonely at times. There is something sort of smug in witnessing reactions when presenting oneself as an eccentric traveller of the highways and byways, perhaps with latter day connotations to the wandering minstrel except that I can’t sing or play an instrument, if I could I may get even more freebies. The original concept was bold and I have wondered as I walked whether I would have completed it all in one hit if I’d not had the debilitating physical interruptions. There is no doubt that would have been a lot more satisfying for me if achieved, but there is satisfaction  in having overcome the problems and battling on to the end. For me there is an aesthetic pleasure in the idea of a  none stop completion.It has been a fine route through hugely contrasting terrains. A route of this length must have sections of lesser interest and between leaving the Weaver Navigation river south of Northwich and Newport in Staffordshire it was pretty boring, often on tedious tarmac with high hedges, no views and agricultural uniformity, and I guess that is why I bailed out st Newport after.that thirteen day section. I am now just thinking back about my Land’s End John ‘o Groats walk and I think my route through England maintained a more consistent interest than this one. I found I had to make a few diversions from my original plot to have accommodation. I only used the tent twice and I’m sure I could have managed without which would have lightened my pack. But really I never felt overburdened as it was.


  1. i can't remember your original line or origins for this interrupted walk which seemed to end nowhere. Please remind us all.
    I too get more satisfaction following my own ideas rather than a prescribed LDW although I have completed many of the latter.
    Last year I did a week's stretch, Inverness to Helmsdale, on the proposed John O'Groats trail which hardly existed on the ground - I had no map or guide but enjoyed every step of it. In a few days time I'm returning to Helmsdale to hopefully finish at John O'Groats, this time I've a professional looking Harveys map and a downloaded step by step guide, I wonder whether it will be a different experience.
    Not in your league, no camping gear to weigh me down just B and B's all the way. Backpacking for softies.

  2. BC - The original ides was just to create a long distance walk. Berwick upon Tweed seemed a good starting point and two of the three McMillan Ways run through Castle Cary. I had previously done one of those as well as the Boston to Barmouth Macmillan and Castle Cary looked like an attractive little town to finish the walk and also having the advantage of a railway station to get me back home. I then plotted what I thought was a pretty direct route using footpaths, bridleways and minor roads, avoiding main roads and large towns where possible.

    Below is a list of identifiable places I passed through up to the start of this Stage 4.

    Stage 1

    Berwick, Wooler, Rothbury, Kirkwhelpington, Gt. Whittington, Westgate (Weardale) - broken arm

    Stage 2

    Westgate, Cotherstone, Gunnerside, Raisgill (Langstrothdale), Settle, Hellifield - knee 2 packed up.


    Stage 3

    Hellifield, Kelbrook, Worsthorne, Whitworth, Middleton, Salford, Thelwall, Northwich, Winterley, Madeley, Eccleshall, Newport


    Stage 4 - Newport to Castle Cary as per recent daily blog posts.


    I wish you well on your own resumption.

  3. For we arm-chair warriors , the very fact of at least the first two interruptions and then the semi-voluntary lacuna made the fourth section and final triumph all the more interesting - i might almost say 'suspenseful' if that were a proper word : I myself was pretty sure, after our last chat, that unless some irrestible force or immovable object bared your way, that you would make it through.
    Particualarly when you said it was 'only' fourteen days - somehow the idea of walking from the edge of 'the north' to somewhere in the deep southwest , as it seemed to be, was quite a major effort in itself, but you certainly have corrected that impression - it still seems strange to have taken the same time to walk from north Lancs borders to the south Cheshire border area as to go from there to the far southwest (except, of course, it isn't, but feels as if it should be) - from the edges of the industrial north past two major conurbations and on into the myth-shrouded vales of Somerset seems instinctively to be much more of a transmigration than the former and really should, therefore, in the labyrinths of the mind, have taken months of hard pounding.
    Just shows how perceptions can shape conceptions.
    And the more 'well done' for all of that !

  4. gommer - Compared with stage one from Northumberland to Weardale I have slowed down. Up there I was doing around sixteen miles a day. On this last section I did one fifteen miler, but the rest have been around twelve. That does not concern me. My desire is to only walk what is comfortable so that I can enjoy it rather than be under pressure. Days seem to go by quickly on such trips and I think, for me at least, I am really only into the swing of it by the end of two weeks by which time it is becoming more a way of life than a kind of brief holiday, but unfortunately with advancing years two weeks may be the physical limit. I do have various sorenesses and perhaps a shin splint in the right shin so rest is required now for a while.