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.

Monday, 9 June 1997

Day 19 - thunder, snow and hypothermia

My 48th birthday today, and so far so good for my aspiration to reach Land's End on my 60th in 2009! My wife Chris had secreted a card and presents (new pants and some lipsil - both of immediate use and very welcome) in the food parcel.

We set off quite late, just before noon, and were quickly up (and slowly down) Sgurr nan Ceannaichean. Skye was in view but a bit hazy.

We reached Sgurr a Chaorachain at 4pm in time for a late lunch, which we ate huddled in the des-res circular cairn. It was just as well that we had found shelter because we then had the whole lot - rain, wind, hail then snow. We'd just finished our soup and sandwiches when there was a loud rumble of thunder, so we decided to get off the ridge as quickly as possible. The slopes were very steep, so we didn't get very far before having to take refuge behind a large boulder. Tim's clothing was inadequate and he had become quite hypothermic by the time it was safe to resume.

We nipped over Sgurr Choinnich and dropped down NE at Bealach Bhearnais, camping at the first opportunity (065457). Before long the tent was up, Tim was in dry clothes and his sleeping bag, and full of hot soup.

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