About this blog

The journey from John o'Groats to Land's End took place in 14 sections, starting in 1996 (a week or so each year). The idea came to me in 1995 and I completed the British JoGLE Watershed in June 2009.

I was joined by a number of relations and friends from time to time. Most notable among my walking companions were my son Tim (7 sections) and nephews Peter and Jonny.

After walking the first section in 1996 I discovered that Dave Hewitt had already pioneered the Scottish Watershed (to Cape Wrath) in 1987, and had published his excellent account Walking the Watershed in 1994. We have been in touch since then, and he has been a great encouragement.

A simple definition of the watershed is that any rain falling to the left of the path finishes in the North Sea or English Channel, and anything to the right flows into the Atlantic Ocean, the Irish Sea or the Bristol Channel.

I believe that this was the first walk along the full length of the British JoGLE Watershed. I became aware just after I completed the journey that the late Mike Allen walked a slightly different version (from Land's End to Cape Wrath) between 1988 and 1994, so he will have covered the same ground apart from the most north-easterly 220km.

There have subsequently been several walks and publications about parts of the JoGLE watershed, including Peter Wright's 2010 Ribbon of Wildness account of his Scottish section walked in 2005, which has brought the subject of watershed walking in the UK to a wider audience.

I hope you enjoy this blog. I'm planning to publish a full account in 2013/4. A summary of the walk appeared in The Angry Corrie volume 76 in 2009.

Malcolm Wylie.

Sunday, 1 June 1997

Day 11 - the first Munro, Conival

The Watershed had now reached very close to the west coast - no more than 5km away, and today's walk was due south.

After a short DIY service, including Psalm 121 ("I will lift up my eyes to the hills"), we found a good way up onto the shoulder of Beinn Uidhe avoiding the crags. Then it was a straightforward climb up to the summit of Conival (987m). The mountains were covered in white rock, with just a very occasional snow patch. We encountered our first recognisable path (Munro-bagger) at the small loch (shown with a southeastward outflow on the map, but oozing our side as well) at the head of Gleann Dubh.

The direct route off Conival looked too craggy on the map, so we dropped to the bealach towards Ben More Assynt, then gingerly made our way steeply down the boulder/scree slope toward Dubh Loch Mor. Probably a poor decision, because the whole slope seemed to be groaning as though it was about to slide from under us.

Then a pleasant walk along the broad ridge of Breabag, until we dropped down and pitched camp at 280115 by Loch Sgeireach. A welcome pint or two at the Altanacealgach Motel was our reward for the short detour - accompanied by a Beatles album I'd not heard for years, including "Here comes the sun", which was playing in my head for days afterwards.

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