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, 11 August 2008

Day 119 - round the Tamar

The River Tamar marks the boundary between Devon and Cornwall, and it rises within 10km of the north coast. Today's walk  was entirely on roads - narrow in the morning and then south on the busy A39 in the afternoon - apart from a short but desperately difficult 200m round the head of the river.

On the way north I saw some balloons celebrating a 60th birthday, a few deer, and heard the raucous geese on the Tamar Lakes. [When I got home I discovered that one of my golfing friends had been the chief engineer for the building of their dams.]

On reaching Hardsworthy Farm I asked if I could go across their land to Newlands Farm, because the Watershed went that way. I got permission but the farmer said that there was no way through. I said that I'd encountered lots of difficult terrain over the previous 12 years and that I was sure I'd manage. Little did I know.

Suffice it to say that it took me an hour to go 200 metres. I really could have done with a machete. It was swampy underfoot and virtually impenetrable bushes above. I eventually emerged, absolutely filthy and bleeding from several places.

After brushing myself off, I walked up to Newlands Farm, and found a sign "Tamar Rise" (see photo). This was followed by 6km down the A39, with good coastal views - quite a treat to finish off this penultimate Section. I left the Watershed in Kilkhampton at 252112, and hitched down to Bude, where I caught the last bus to Exeter by the skin of my teeth. In the book I'll say how I thought I was being kidnapped by my driver.

The stats for this Section were 179km and 1028m of ascent.

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