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, 3 October 2005

Day 97 - Thames Head and Kemble

This was a very short day, as I'd arranged to meet my daughter Karen at Kemble station the following morning, and I was ahead of schedule. I felt strangely disoriented to begin with at the thought of having time to kill.

I was eventually back on the road just after 11am. I thought that the footpath I'd found on the map would be fine, but it turned out to be across ploughed fields, and with derelict stiles. There was heavy rain at this stage to add to the gloom.

I cheered up when I found that the route into Kemble took me past the Thames Head pub on the Fosse Way (A433) at lunchtime. The sun came out, and I decided to take the detour to the stone marking the (or a) source of the Thames (see photo). There was no water to be seen there, and I learned from locals that it only gushes after prolonged rain in winter.

When I got into Kemble at 4:30pm I found a reasonably secluded spot on railway land quite near the station (at 984978).

[This day was actually walked on 24/9/2001 but has been blogged today to reflect the geographic continuity of the Watershed.]

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