Long Distance Path 2013 Decision

By this time, I’ve normally decided which long distance path I’m going to walk next year, but it’s taken me much longer this year. With barely three weeks remaining of 2012 I have finally decided though – just a minute ago!

Since finishing the Skye Trail in May I’ve pretty much had my heart set on returning to the Pennines and re-visiting the Pennine Way, I enjoyed it so much last time it seemed like a great decision. I had other irons in the fire that also meant a return to the Pennine Way would be the right thing to do.

However, as the year progressed I felt I needed to walk somewhere new, somewhere just as remote and challenging as the Pennine Way, but somewhere I’d not been before. The Skye Trail was majestic, but I was using a fixed base of operation for that walk and that left me feeling somewhat unsatisfied, so I also had to return to a continuous linear path.

I have had a route on file for a couple of years now, one I keep dragging out and blowing the dust off of and one that I keep putting off for another year – but this time I won’t be putting it back in the box – I’ll be using it. I’m doing another Coast to Coast crossing!

No, not Wainwright’s C2C again, this time I’m walking Scotland’s official C2C route – the Southern Upland Way.

Southern Upland Way Overview Map
Southern Upland Way Overview Map

Just as challenging as the Pennine Way, almost as long, more remote in places (if that is possible) and probably just as quiet if the lack of personal journals on the Internet is anything to go by.

The SUW was originally part of my “Perfect LEJOG” route, but since I had to pare that route back to meet the constraints of reality, the SUW must now be completed in its own right. 2013 seems like the perfect time to do it.

I’ll be carrying all my own gear, for the first time since 2007 on the aborted Offa’s Dyke. There are two reasons for this; a) the baggage courier service costs about £300 and b) I need to train for the LEJOG in 2014 when I’ll have no choice but to carry all my gear. The SUW seems like a good place to test the kit load and look for ways to improve on it.

I won’t be backpacking it though, the route is too long to experiment with that part of the LEJOG planning, so I’ll be finding other ways to hone my skills in that area.

More posts as the planning continues 🙂



10 thoughts on “Long Distance Path 2013 Decision”

  1. The Southern Upland Way has been on my radar for a while, but I just can’t seem to get organised enough to tick this one of the list. I’ll get this one ‘in the bag’ sooner or later!

    I’ll be looking keenly for your daily updates upon your return – a pity you’ll not be updating on route – but getting away from technology, and the everyday hum drum is the point anyway.

    Only the best for your walk.

    1. Thanks!
      I will be blogging along the way! That’s something I’ve been doing for a few years now, so please follow along.
      I love reading the comments in the evening and writing up the day’s walk is one way of recording the walk for posterity.
      I’m also on Twitter now (@LoneWalkerUK) and I will be tweeting during the day, where I have a signal and with photos if the signal is good enough.
      I think Russ (a couple of comments lower down) also blogs live and he leaves a few days after I get back, so another SUW report to look forwards to.

  2. Just came across the site again, whilst since I’ve been here and noticed your doing the SUW. I’m following in your footsteps starting on the 25th May, so look forward to your write up. As your walk starts in a few days time, I hope you get this beforehand. hope you enjoy it and have a great time.


    1. Thanks Russ, much appreciated!
      Strange isn’t it, I’m following a few days behind Tim and Ben, who I met a couple of years ago on their Pennine Way.
      ‘They’ say the SUW is a quiet path, but it seems to be gaining some popularity perhaps?
      I leave home on Saturday and first day walking is Sunday – follow the blog and see how I fare 🙂

  3. Great idea! I’ve been spending quite a bit of time researching kit. Will post the tentative list on the blog when it’s finally ready to go live. Will send you separate message on that next week. Logistics of backpackin is a bit more challenging but fun and the resulting flexibility should be worth it. Scotland should be perfect place for trial run. Cheers. Tim

  4. Sounds like a great decision Stuart. As you know my own 2013 Scotland C2C plans involve the Highlands. But I recently reached the conclusion that if my walking partner (B.) is unable to join me, I will fall back to the SUW option on my own. This time backpacking. It would be a good opportunity to “live test” some ultralight equipment and see how I do with more weight and less (relative) luxury. April is the likely target, whether Highlands or Uplands. Bit conventional I know, but thinking west to east no matter latitude. Learning much about ultralight options, which would certainly come in handy on any LEJOG journey. Cheers and ldo et us know how preparations are going. Tim

    1. Tim, I need to get some backpacking training in next year, so if you want some company for a day or two of your walk, whichever one you end up doing, then let me know, it would be great to meet up again and get some ‘tent time’.

      I’m always keen to see what kit people are using, so if you can, share it 🙂

      I’ll be publishing a kit list for this walk in the near future.

  5. Don’t not walk it because I am… Please! I’d hate to think that’s what put you off 🙁
    I’m sure you’ll have a great walk on the Cambrian Way – I can console myself with the knowledge that I won’t have to train anything like as hard as you will 🙂
    I have Drake’s little guide book if you need it – not sure how easy it is to get hold of any more. There’s probably a Cicerone guide for it now anyway – I hear it’s a bit of highway nowadays, almost as popular as the West Highland Way 🙂

  6. This explains your vote when I asked around for which one I should do. Hope you have better luck with it than with Offa, but I think it’s a good choice as a build up walk to the big one next year. And at least this does mean that there will be a marked increase in the amount and quality of SUW journals out there. As the SUW was one of my shortlist, I think it’s only fair that I leave it to you and not try to steal your thunder on that walk by also doing it in 2013 😉

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