Saturday, 13 June 2009

Day 70 Saturday - Watten to John o'Groats

Walking 8.00am to 3.30pm
Distance walked today 19 miles
Total distance walked 1059 miles

Today was a road walk all the way to John o'Groats. The site we were on was three miles north west of Watten. There didn't seem much point in going into the village - it was an A road with no footpath. Therefore, I went up the A882 in the Thurso direction for half a mile before turning right signposted Gillock. I tramped along this road for two miles, turning right on to the B874 for half a mile to Gillock, then left for three miles to the B876, turning right for one and a half miles.

At Hastigrow, I turned left and continued almost in a straight line for eight miles to Upper Gills. Just before here, I came over the brow of a hill (more a vague change in elevation as, shortly before this, I'd passed a trig point at a height of 66 metres) and there before me was a view of the Pentland Firth something over a mile away with Stroma Island to the fore and the Orkneys beyond.

First glimpse of sea since Sennen Cove, Cornwall!

Continuing through Canisbay, it started to rain. As an aside here, one of the commonest birds I've seen on this walk has been the oystercatcher and, in a field in Canisbay, there must have been at least two hundred of them. Passing by the youth hostel, I then joined the A836 in to John o'Groats.

On the way in, there was a house named Aargh - is this some strange Scots word?

Just about there!

I'm told I'm grimacing here! I usually look a bit less ferocious

Just for the sake of completeness, having started from the most southwesterly tip of England, I shall continue tomorrow to Duncansby Head, the north east tip of Scotland. The rest of tomorrow will be spent exploring some of this part of Scotland, Monday involves a trip on the ferry to the Orkneys with a circuit by coach of the main tourist sites and we shall head for home on Tuesday via Morpeth to visit the people at my charity, MS Research and Relief Fund.

As for the other End to Enders I met, Reg and Geert, who I Iast saw on the West Highland Way, got to John o'Groats a couple of hours before me (Amanda met them whilst parked up some way ahead of me). Unfortunately, they'd had to make a dash for a bus to Wick just before I arrived.

Vinnie, my American friend, is just two days away and I shall go off in search of him at some point.

If having got hooked on this blog, you wish to switch to another, you might try - Brendan is now close to the Scottish border.

At this stage, I'd like to thank all family, friends, friends of family and friends and others who've given so generously to my charity. The original target was £2,000 and now the amount raised is nicely over £3,000.

I hope this blog has kept people entertained. I've certainly enjoyed doing it. I shall add more photos to it in due course and hope to make the whole adventure available as a downloadable pdf. The blog itself will continue with occasional postings relating to ultralight hiking and backpacking as before.

Strictly for afficionados (and sad people), I shall post some statistics of the trip and do a review of kit items when I get home.

Duncansby Stacks


  1. Congratulations and well done!

  2. Very well done!

    Thanks for sharing


  3. Awesome! I'm so happy for you!

    As you know I'm planning to do my own walk in a few years' time, and I was wondering if I could ask you a question about a proposed part of my route. I'll ask you the question in a few days when you have more time.

  4. Congratulatins Geoff! What a fantastic achievement - you must be delighted!
    See you soon
    Love Jane and David.

  5. Congratulations Geoff, well done!

    I'd be interested in hearing what you feel about the whole walk, now that it's over.

    Was it as hard or harder than you expected etc? An "Afterthoughts" posting would be very much appreciated.

    I've enjoyed reading your daily reports, thanks,

  6. Congratulations and well one. I've loved reading this blog of your journey

    Al the best


  7. Have enjoyed following your progress through the country, some of it familiar territory bringing back memories of past trips. Was it as good as you expected? Well done.


  8. Well done. We have enjoyed reading about your walk since we met you aat Eskdalemuir in May. We were on holiday then but have read your blog daily since our return. CONGRATULATIONS

  9. Hi Geoff. It seems a long long time since we launched you at Lands End. Ever so pleased it all went well. Have really enjoyed the put your feet up for a while!

    Best Wishes,


  10. Well then - that's it knocked off.

    Congratulations Geoff - well walked.

  11. Great Stuff! Really enjoyed following your journey.


  12. Fantastic stuff. Well done. I look forward to your reviews and post-mortem when you are back.

  13. Great site!!! I really need to do more outdoor stuff. I actually went hiking in the south of France near Biarritz, and when I was driving to the mountain my tire went flat and I had no idea how to change it. A helpful stranger gave me a hand but I think everyone should know how to change a tire especially if you are going on a long trip somewhere. I found this video a couple of months ago that explains how to change a tire but I wish I had had watched before

  14. Been great following the walk you did and well done.

  15. The walk you did and the money you raised is inspirational. I added this article to my pinterest board :)

  16. Thank you for this blog - most enjoyable. Well done.