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.

Thursday, 12 June 1997

Day 22 - the scariest moment

This was by far the wettest day on the Watershed so far, with persistent rain and no views of any note. It was a stern test of our gear, Tim's navigational skills (one of his roles in the team), and our ability to remain reasonably cheerful. We were hoping to reach the Cluanie Inn (and our final food parcel) by nightfall, which spurred us on.

We soon reached the popular path between Glen Affric and Loch Duich (at right angles as usual) and met a small school trip who'd spent the previous night in a bothy. Onto map 33 (the one which is held together by more sellotape than any of the others, having barely survived several wettings!).

A stiff but straightforward climb up Beinn Fhada/Ben Attow was followed by what would have been a great ridge walk if there'd been any visibility. A very steep descent into Fionngleann was followed by a climb up to Sgurr a Bhealaich Dheirg. Others tell me that this isn't too airy, but in zero visibility it appeared that parts of the ridge were one boot wide with vertical drops on both sides. I've never been more frightened on a ridge, but we encouraged each other along to the end. The photo shows me extremely relieved to have got to the cairn (room for one only!) and celebrating with the last Mars bar.

We dropped down to the A87 at 038117 and walked to the inn, arriving just in time for supper. We camped across the road from the inn.

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