LEJOG Decision!

I had a bit of a blinding flash last night. I was thinking about long distance paths (as you do), wondering what I would like to do next year and thoughts were spilling through my head at a fine rate. I was thinking about having another crack at Offa’s Dyke, I thought about doing the Pennine Way again and then I thought about the Cape Wrath Trail and soon enough my mind turned to Lands End to John O’Groats.

LEJOG has been on my To-Do list for three years or more now and I’ve always considered it to be a long-term ambition, something I’m only going to be able to do once the mortgage has been paid off and perhaps not something I can do until I’ve retired – but I suddenly decided that I’m not going to keep putting it off and off, I’m not going to have it hanging there like an unattainable goal – I’m actually going to make it happen – and soon.

I’m 48 this year and my knees aren’t getting any younger – the rest of me is surprisingly, I’m fitter than ever, walking more miles than ever and feeling very chipper, but my knees are rattled and they are going to need some serious work soon I think. I decided that for my 50th birthday I want to arrive in John O’Groats, having walked the 1000 miles or so from Lands End. Perhaps then I can retire these knees and get some new ones!

In order to achieve this goal I have to sort out a few things first:

  1. Arrange with work to take three months off in 2014. This is likely to be the biggest stumbling block. If work won’t or can’t give me the time off I can’t achieve this goal. I’m completely dependent on the goodwill of my company in this respect. They are a great company to work for and I would never consider resigning just to complete this walk, so I need to persuade them that this is the right thing to do. I will need all of April, May and June off – fortunately this is the start of our financial year and this may help, as it’s often the quietest period for us. I need to have a chat with my boss, as soon as I can.
  2. I have a mortgage to pay, if I’m not working for three months I’m not going to be able to cover the mortgage and all the other bills that need paying each month. One of the three months off will be as annual leave so I’ll get paid for that, but the other two months (assuming I can get them off) will be unpaid leave. I need to try and arrange a mortgage holiday with my lender – a three month period when I don’t pay any mortgage.
  3. I need to cover the other household bills for at least two months; that means finding about £3000-£4000 that we can support the household on while I’m not working.
  4. I need to pay for the cost of the trip. A conservative estimate suggests I need to allow £4000 for the cost of food, accommodation and other travelling costs. Added to the living costs above that means I need to find £8000 before April 2014.

I know a lot of people walk LEJOG every year, but none of the journals seem to go into much detail about how people juggle all these considerations and costs. I’m sure I can’t be the first person to come across these.

More to follow as time goes on.

12 thoughts on “LEJOG Decision!”

  1. In order get an idea of whether you’ll have enough money, it would be a good idea to run through your finances. Check your expediture and see where can make savings. Then set up a standing order paying a fixed amount into a savings account each month. You have 21 months in which to save up £8000, so that ‘s £380 to save up each month!

  2. I may be able to pop over from the states to join you for a section. I wish I could do the whole thing as a walk but doubt I will be able to take the time off. Especially the final portion in Scotland to Jon O’ Groats.

    1. Thanks Devin, I’d love to have you along 🙂
      It’s still a long way off, but it’s great to know that people are interested in joining me

  3. Ooh very tempted to join you. Seriously, I think I could get the time from work quite easily, and I’ve promised myself some leave of absence for aeons.

    Maybe I’ll walk the other way and meet you halfway. We could have a ‘whose knees are most knackered’ contest.

    Good luck with the boss

    1. Pete, I would love to have you along for big sections of the walk, especially Wales and the far north of Scotland and please don’t take this badly, but this is something I want to do alone for the most part.

      I will definitely be asking for guest walkers along the way (always assuming I can do it of course), I certainly don’t want to be alone for the whole three months.

      I enjoy walking alone too much though and three months even with such an easy going chap as myself would almost certainly drive you to distraction. I’d wake up one morning alone, with just the imprint of your tent in the grass next to me 🙂

      So book some holiday for late April and June 2014!

  4. OK, I’ll do the start and end collections ( in your car 🙂 ) – the least of your issues I’d imagine!

    I think a publisher should take you on – and get them to cover the cost of lost wages, accommodation & expenses as your first payment!!

    Keep us all posted.

  5. Devin Matlock

    A great ambition. I have contemplated this walk but I doubt I will ever make it a priority. I look forward to hearnig about your plans and progress.

  6. That’s an incredible idea and goal. Your workplace should not only give you the time you need, but should sponsor you…surely there’s something that ties your walking/writing in with your position? Two birds and all that!

  7. A big decision!

    I can’t offer you a lift (from the other side of the Atlantic) and I can’t offer you much (if any) advice.

    But I can commit to studying your thinking as you consider your approach this challenge (maybe “adventure’ is a better term) and I’ll be there the cheer you on through thick and thin. Might even see you on trail if paths cross on the SUW next year.

    Five years older and five weeks after knee surgery I will have to wait a few years before I can muster the courage to follow in your footsteps. At this point I’ll be doing well to walk a Dales High Way in two weeks’ time.

    Should be great fun for all of us to follow along as you plot the next step and then take it.


  8. Dodgergammon

    Wow!! That sounds like some (financial) challenge. I’d have a week off work to ferry you about if you like?

    1. Well I would certainly appreciate a lift to either the start or the end, but don’t think there’s much call for ferrying around. Still lots to be considered though. Hurdle 1 still has to be successfully negotiated too!

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