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.

Wednesday, 3 July 2002

Day 62 - Wark Forest and midge hell

This was the most forest-bound day on the entire Watershed, with only 2km clear of trees. The forest was a mixture of established, recently felled and newly-replanted trees. Each type posed their own problems for walkers (including my getting severely stabbed in the shin).

I'd cheered up a bit, and the weather was dry. Tim and "Madge" did a great job with the navigation, and we made good progress, particularly on the rare occasions when the thin blue lines allowed us to use the forest roads. We spent several minutes watching a tree-felling machine in action - very fast and efficient - from a distance it almost seemed more like an animal than a machine.

We were so relieved to get out of the forest at the end of the day that we didn't think hard enough about where to pitch the tent. The result was the worst midge storm in history; at least I had a midge hat, but I could hardly see a thing as I was putting the tent up (at 701717). So many of the blighters got into the tent with me, that when the midge net was up and they congregated on its inside, they appeared like a heaving liquid mass - more like oil than animals.

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