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, 5 October 2005

Day 99 - birthday, Ben and Wootton Bassett

This was Karen's 26th birthday, and she was now half my age.  I gave her a card (a view of Blockley, bought there a few days ago) and some perfume which Chris had given to me at Vere's 90th party. Poultry farmer Colin (photo) kindly showed us around his sheds and explained the poultry rearing business.

We were off at about 9am (onto map 173), and it quickly became clear that Karen was suffering - knee then ankle then shoulders then hips - so we decided that she'd catch the train back from Swindon today rather than come all the way to Devizes.

Apart from aches and pains, the morning's walk was quite pleasant, with enough footpaths to keep it interesting. At Grove Farm (021876) we were adopted by a welsh collie, who simply refused to leave us. This was OK on paths and minor roads (he's just visible 50m ahead of Karen in the photo), but when we reached the B4696 at Lydiard Plain he very nearly caused a car crash. We managed to corral him into someone's garden and found a phone number on his collar (and his name - Ben). His owner picked him up 15 minutes later; he explained that  Ben had been cooped up for a long time because of foot-and-mouth and that he must have seen us as a way of getting some decent exercise. Fun, but we were relieved to say goodbye to him.

We picnicked in a field outside Hook, then Karen caught a bus just outside Wootton Bassett into Swindon. [In the book I'll say a bit about Wootton Bassett - now Royal - and also about the early days following the 9/11 bombing, which happened just before I started this Section.]

It rained very heavily after I'd left Karen, and the road which rises quite steeply up through Quidhampton Wood had become a stream in itself. I reached Broad Hinton at 6pm, and much to my delight the landlord of the Crown offered me the use of his beer garden for the night (103765).

[This day was actually walked on 26/9/2001 but has been blogged today to reflect the geographic continuity of the Watershed.]

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