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.

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Day 126 - journey's end at Land's End

The final day of the Watershed was brilliant. The six of us set off at about 9:30am along the beautiful coastal path, and we were joined by brother-in-law Keith (of Section 12), nephew Peter (Sections 11 and 12) and brother Bartow (Section 3) along the way.

There were enough episodes in the morning to keep it interesting and fun for all 9 of us - a legitimate "rhubarb" in Trevowhan, some quasi-trespass and near-impassable vegetation, the large Chun Quoit stone, an enormous UFO-like maritime navigational aerial, and conversation about the phenomenal Painted Lady migration this year.

We lunched on Carn Brea with a clear view down to Land's End, and the excitement rose. Although we could have avoided part of the A30, we stuck to it as far as the Land's End car park, being joined by my friend Tony (Section 13) in Sennen. I'd previously decided that the finale would not be through the awful theme park, so by arrangement we met the rest of the family on the perimeter.

  • previous walkers: daughter Karen (Sections 7 and 10), grandson Rufus (Section 7 as a babe-in-arms), sister-in-law Helen (Sections 11 and 12), sister Rowan (Sections 3 and 11) and her friend Phil (Section 11)
  • and first-timers: my wife Chris, mother-in-law Dot, sister-in-law Marianne and Karen's partner Reuan.

We headed north to the coast - and gave everyone a taste of how rough the Watershed walking can be. A few were in their party best, but they all saw the funny side as we encountered walls, brambles, heather and bog.

The last km was on the coastal path, and there was a great reception at the official end - including the only two whose legs weren't up to the final bit, my father Shaun and father-in-law Ray. The photo shows me at the end, supping a pint of Cornish Rattler cider (a gift from Dave Hewitt) from an engraved tankard commissioned by Chris to mark the occasion.

The Watershed finished at 342250 on map 203, and the stats for this final Section were 215km and 1,280m of ascent.

The party in the Land's End Hotel that evening was excellent, with mini-speeches by 96-year-old Shaun, myself and 6-year-old Rufus. My father had made a great effort to be there at the end, and this blog is dedicated to his memory; he died just a few months later.

1 comment:

  1. A great day indeed, which marked an enormous achievement. It was brilliant that your dad was there to celebrate with us all.