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.

Friday, 30 September 2005

Day 95 - Cleeve Hill and Cheltenham

This morning's walk was glorious (onto map 163). I was on footpaths (and the Cotswold Way) all the time apart from past Charlton Abbots, and Bunny had arranged for me to walk without my rucksack - bliss! There were buzzards all day, green woodpeckers, jays and assorted butterflies. A wonderful late summer day.

I was reunited with my sack near the Long Barrow Belas Knap (see photo), where we'd hidden it en route to my starting point. The path continued as far as the Cleeve Hill summit (330m), festooned with radio masts and containing a large artificial pond - presumably for the livestock.

I lunched just below the summit, with a grand view over Cheltenham. This was a very special place on the Watershed for me, because I'd spent my youth (8 to 18) here, and one of the regular family walks was up onto Cleeve Common. I was full of memories as I walked the ridge, and then down via Whittington and Upper Dowdeswell to Seven Springs, one of several places claiming to be the source of the Thames (and where my grandfather used to go fishing).

I left the Watershed at 960184 to drop down into south Cheltenham for a couple of nights with more family friends, Bernard and Jean. Bernard was a long-term walking companion of my father, having done the Coast-to-Coast, Offa's Dyke and several other LDPs together. The following day was off-Watershed, as I took the coach to Oxford for a big family celebration of my aunt Vere's 90th birthday.

[This day was actually walked on 21/9/2001 but has been blogged today to reflect the geographic continuity of the Watershed.]

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