It was a difficult decision in places but the intended route so far looks like this:
The plan is to first follow the South West Coast Path from Land’s End to Minehead. I know that all the headlands and tidal inlets will add a lot of “unnecessary” mileage to the trail but apart from continuous hail storms or a late onset of winter there’s no way I’d miss a coastal path, especially not one which promises spectacular views like this one. From Minehead I’ll try to find my way via Bridgwater, Glastonbury and Cheddar (have to see the gorge!) to Bath.
From Bath I’ll take the Cotswold Way and despite all its twists and turns I’m not looking for shortcuts (at least not now, as another of my long-term goals is to walk all the National Trails). Then I want to squeeze my way through Birmingham and Coventry on the Heart of England Way just short of Stafford before heading for Edale by a mixture of available and perhaps signed paths.
From Edale it will of course be the Pennine Way. In many accounts on LEJOGs I’ve read that people avoided the last bit of the PW to head for Jedburgh directly. As this would leave me with an unfinished PW my plan is for the whole route to Kirk Yetholm even if this – again – will add some more miles. From Kirk Yetholm another combination of more or less signed routes will hopefully bring me first to the Union and the Forth&Clyde Canal and finally meeting the West Highland Way at Carbeth Loch. I’ve done the WHW before so there’s no need to include Milngavie at all cost. But as Loch Lomond and Rannoch Moor are so beautiful I don’t want to skip the WHW altogether.
After Fort William the most interesting part starts, at least as far as route finding is concerned. I don’t want to include the Great Glen Way as I’ve done it before and although the views on the lochs are beautiful the extensive conifer plantations make it a bit boring to walk. In addition, the possible routes from Inverness are made up of too much tarmac for my liking. So I’m thinking of a more westerly route as if heading for Cape Wrath via Ullapool to Oykel Bridge and then crossing Sutherland and Caithness to JOG and Duncansby Head.
All this should happen from the 20 April on (19 April is day 0 travelling to Cornwall). The route like that will add up to about 2200 km or 1400 miles with about 57000 m (or 187000 ft) of ascent. Phew! Calculating with an average of a bit less than 30 km per day (18.5 mi) this will result in 75 effective walking days. So far I’ve only included five days for resting or Munro bagging (just in case LEJOG alone is not enough 😉 ) which would see me in JOG on 8 July. There is buffer available as the latest day I need to be back at work is in the second week of August. I don’t hope that I’ll have to use all these days but it will be comforting not being forced to hurry at all costs. And I hope to have some spare days up there for visiting the Orkneys as I never before have been that close.