How it started

I don’t remember when I first came across the acronym LEJOG and what it meant. It must have been after I’ve discovered the UK as my favourite destination for long distance walks. But I set it aside as I had no idea how to get the necessary time off from work before being retired from my job. Only there was a nagging feeling of not wanting to wait that long. Various joint surgeries keeping me from serious walking over three years seem to put a project like that on hold for much longer if ever. But after some hiking holidays in Scotland I was confident again that I would be able to do this walk physically and also that it would probably be a good idea not to delay it for too long. So some time in late 2015 I started thinking about it in earnest.

Initially, I asked myself if I couldn’t do something similar here in Germany. I decided against it for a couple of reasons. First, the end points in Germany – no matter if you’re looking at a route between the southernmost and the northernmost points or a more southwesterly-northeasterly direction, I’m not sure what would make the longest distance – aren’t really end points. You take another step and in the south you are either in Switzerland or Austria and in either Denmark or Poland in the north or northeast without even noticing the difference. There is simply nothing which looks like an end. Being an island certainly has advantages here 🙂

Second, as I don’t especially like walking against the wind and weather and with the light from the front the route would have to lead in a general south-north direction which would mean to start in the High Black Forest or the Northern Alps and ending in the Northern Lowlands where – as some people joke – the land is that flat that you can already tell on Friday who will visit you on Sunday. I like the landscape up there very much but it’s boring for hiking. And finally, there’s simply no tradition for a walk across the whole lenght of the country as in Great Britain.

That settled I started research for this project and I was astonished how many people do it every year so that by now the internet provides a wealth of information on every aspect. The most interesting question of course would be the route. To get a better idea of the network of trails available I ordered the LDWA’s “Long Distance Paths Chart” and spent hours following the various routes and linking them to a possible trail. There was simply too much choice! Some pieces were set quite early, some needed more thought and map studying. But in the end I came up with an overall track which appeals to me. I’ll give more details on the route shortly.

By now a lot of preparation has already been done but still there are many things waiting to be arranged. I’ll try to write more about my preparation so far and the things I still have to organise until the start. 19 April is day 0 when I will travel to Cornwall, so the first leg will be on 20 April for a very personal reason.


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