So – why exactly did I do this walk?
The first thing that people ask when you say that you’re doing something odd, like walking 1,500 miles from one end of the country to the other, is “why?”. Then people ask “what was it like”? And want to know all about what a day in the life of an “end to ender” entailed. So on this page, I’ve gathered a few of my practical experiences together, to give a general impression of why I did the walk and what it really was like.
The practical details of the walk are on the “How?” pages
Scroll down the page to see what’s on this part of the website.
You can click on the first (or any) of the sections then at the bottom of the section are links taking you backwards and forwards to the next sections, so you can easily read them all from top to bottom in sequence.
There were five main reasons why I chose to do this walk, and why now was the right time to do it. Read this section to find out what they were.
Walking from one of the country to the other isn’t like anything I’d ever done before. It wasn’t like a normal backpacking trip – in fact it was more like going to work.
This section explains why.
This is is a bit of an eclectic section detailing some of the things that I considered in preparing and doing my walk. Like whether to use trekking poles or not. Click the link to be de-mystified.
Did I take a copy of War and Peace to read in the evenings, and help while away those idle hours?
Actually the answer is no, but to find out how I coped with 11 weeks of isolation, click the link
Being a bit of a catastrophist, I tended to imagine all the things that might go wrong on my walk and plan for them in advance. In the end, the things that i had worried about didn’t happen, but the things that I hadn’t, did.
Get all the gory details here..
In a word – cold and wet.
Well that’s three words but you get the idea. So click the link to find out about the various shades of cold and wet that the country served up as I was walking
They say that cleanliness is next to godliness in which case I must have been distinctly unholy.
But this section has the details about how I kept me and my possessions moderately hygienic.
And it wasn’t just a case of eating carrots..
At the start of the walk, it was dark by 7, so I needed torchlight. But by the end it was light all night. Find out how I coped, here.
In line with my catastrophist philosophy, I tried to think about everything that I would do in an emergency and put plans in place to cope. In the end, I got is mostly (but not completely) right. The details are here.
Every expedition like this has its good bits and its bad bits. This section has them all – warts and all.
In simple terms – I saw a lot of plants but very few exciting animals. But that may be because I tend to go around in a bit of a daze a lot of the time. You can read about what I did see, here.
The only good thing about midges is these tiny pests don’t carry diseases. But there isn’t anything else. Click here to read about the best way I found, out of five options, for dealing with them.
Sadly, try as I might I couldn’t get to like this slimy creatures. And I did have lots of practice, as I encountered them everywhere. You can read my molluscan observations here.
I tried to stick to long distance paths where I could to make route-planning easier. In the end I used all or parts of 17 of them. The are all listed here.
I should add that I’m not in a hurry to rush out and do the hike again. But if I were, there are a few things I might do differently next time. They are discussed here..
It was great to be back and to return to normal life.
But there were some unexpected physical – and psychological – side effects too. They’re all here..
I met hundreds of people on the way – far too many to list and describe them all. But some of my general reflections are here.
When you do something mammoth and unusual like this, you always notice things along the way that you hadn’t expected (and also realise that some of your preconceptions are wrong, too).
Some of my closing observations are here.