The Ultimate UK Walking Challenge
UK Coastal Walk
Until recently I thought Land’s End to John O’Groats (LEJOG) was the toughest walking challenge the UK had to offer. It’s certainly very well known and I guess at least a dozen or so people walk it every year, along with many more who are doing it in stages over a number of years.
Earlier this year though I stumbled across an even longer, tougher and more extreme walking challenge you could do – the UK Coastal Walk. This is between 5000 and 7000 miles long, depending on the ‘rules’ you apply to your walk, how many ferries you allow yourself to take and so on.
I first came across this, when I saw a tweet (that’s a message on Twitter, for all non Tweeps out there) from a guy calling himself the Shoelace Express (his Twitter ID is @ShoelaceExpress). He started walking just three weeks ago – while we were still in the grip of winter and he plans to walk about 6000 miles over the next 300 days.
I have tremendous respect for this undertaking, it makes my LEJOG plans pale into insignificance. I did some more research and this is what I found:
The walk was first undertaken in 1978 by a guy called John Merrill – he walked about 7000 miles, averaging 26 miles a day and carrying an incredible 60lbs of equipment on his back. He wrote a book about his journey – as anyone who’s done this absolutely should – it is called “Turn Right at Land’s End” (Amazon link embedded). I think this is out of print now, but you can still get it second hand from loads of places. It set the scene for people to follow him.
Other books on Amazon which cover the same walk include the following:
There are probably others too, but I haven’t found them yet.
The popularity of the walk is increasing too – there are currently three people walking round the UK coastline as I write this and you can follow their progress live as they walk – thanks to modern communications this makes their progress interactive and you can leave them messages on their blogs, or on their Facebook page, or via Twitter. Details below:
Craig Adams – Website/Blog – Facebook Page – Twitter ID
Tommy B – AKA Shoelace Express – Website/Blog – Facebook Page – Twitter ID
Christian Nock – AKA Christian Around Britain – Facebook Page – Twitter ID
An additional walker, also walking the UK Coast, but currently on a winter break is John Rayment – he’ll be walking again in March
John Rayment – Twitter ID
They are all walking for worthy causes, so please give them whatever support you can, even if its only moral and message-based.
UK National Trails
While I’m on the subject of mammoth UK walks, this one appeals to me even more than the UK Coastal Walk – all 19 UK National Trails, in one go, walking between them!
Currently being undertaken by Roger Foreman, with his son.
He has already completed 13 of the 19 and is now on the Pennine Bridleway – his 14th successive trail since he started walking.
He estimates about 5500 miles for the whole trip, so not quite as long as the coastal walk, but certainly more varied in scenery and landscape I would have thought.