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.

Saturday, 14 June 1997

Day 24 - the final push to Loch Quoich

The weather was much better, and we rose at 4:30am - a really great time to be in the mountains eating bacon and eggs!

We reached the summit of Creag nan Damh by 7am (Tim, in red, is just visible on the rock face in the photo). The views were very welcome after two poor days, and the hillsides had been transformed since we'd last seen them - gushing waterfalls everywhere.

We followed the wall to Sgurr a Bhac, then took the SE ridge down to the small Loch Bealach Sgoireadail where we lunched and rested. The ascent of Sgurr Mhaoraich via Sgurr Thionail ("Toenail" to us, as we'd lost a few on the way!) was a bit of a struggle, and my final descent to the road was painfully slow - to the extent that Tim said he'd refuse to come next year if I didn't buy a stick.

We reached the road at 972040, and played Scrabble while we waited for a lift. There were only 3 cars in an hour and a half, but the third one took us back to civilisation. The end of a wonderful 2 weeks on the Watershed - definitely the most arduous of all 14 sections, and nicknamed "the Big One".

My records show the section was 276km long with a total ascent of 17,469m.

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