After an initially obsessive focus on peak bagging, I started looking at long distance paths. My first LDP was the North Downs Way, which is local and the plan was to do it as a series of day walks. Since then as I’ve discovered more and more paths I’d like to do, I seem to have several projects on the go at once. Here are all of the paths that I’ve started, am part-way through or finished (path name will link to the page for each path).
North Downs Way
At the start of 2006 I came up with the idea of doing the North Downs Way as a means of keeping reasonably walk-fit in between the infrequent mountain trips. Being reasonably local, I could do this as a series of day walks and the plan was to plan it around railway stations that are close to the path. Originally, the intention was to complete the whole path during that year. But at the time of writing in 2011, I still haven’t done it. This project has suffered from being forgotten in favour of things I’d rather do. So far I’ve only got as far as Knockholt, and I’ve set myself a new target of completing it in the 6 months I’m taking off work this year.
South West Coast Path
This one came out of a conversation with my father when in 2007 we talked about doing some walking on the Dorset coast, scene of several childhood family holidays. Realising the the SWCP covered all of the area we were looking at, the idea morphed into doing the path itself, although originally we were only really looking at that first stretch and had no firm plans to do the whole thing.
The 4 days my father, brother and I did in June 2008 were hot and sunny and it was a great few days walking – so much so that we decided to continue with the path and to do it in annual chunks.
I’d toyed with the idea of doing this as it was a good length for a week’s walking and looked like it could be tailored to build in some additional Wainwrights and high ground. For a couple of years I rejected it in favour of straight day walks and peakbagging, but having pretty much done the whole of the central part of the lakes and started thinking about how to mop up the stragglers, this came back onto the table.
I did this LDP, or rather my own adapted version of it, in March/April 2011.
There are a number of paths that I’m keen to do. I don’t expect to do them all, but this is the shortlist. Generally, these have been chosen for scenic reasons or because of the ruggedness of the terrain:
- Lands End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) – the ultimate UK long-distance walk. I keep saying I’ll do this in a couple of years time. But creating the time (2-3 months) to do this is a big task in itself.
- Coast to Coast (C2C) – Wainwright’s classic long distance walk, or more likely an alternative that ends in Northumberland. This is the LDP I hope to do in 2012.
- Cape Wrath Trail – I just like the sound of the remoteness and scenery of this.
- Cambrian Way – a walk the length of Wales through the mountains. I almost did this in 2011 but couldn’t find a time window big enough to do it in one go.
- West Highland Way – I’m slightly deterred by the popularity of this walk, and so will probably do a version which is a blend of the WHW and the Highland High Way.
- Saxon Shore Way – This will probably be my new home-based day walk project when I finally complete the North Downs Way.
- Thames Path – there’s something about walking from sea to source (or vice versa).
- Two Moors Way – a coast to coast walk through Dartmoor and Exmoor.
- Limey Way – an obsolete challenge walk now largely replaced by the Limestone Way. Takes in some of the best parts of the Peak District. This is high on my list for a 3-4 day slot. I’ll probably customise this one, with one idea being to base it around the River Dove – from its confluence with the Trent to its source.
- Cleveland Way – a new entry following my recent trip to the North York Moors. An enticing blend of moorland and coastal walking.