UPDATE I have now completed the walk. The review of kit taken can be found here.
I’m trying to get to John O’Groats, via the three peaks of Snowdon, Scafell Pike and Ben Nevis. I am going to be wild camping every night to see if it’s possible to complete this challenge on a tiny budget.
Final gear choices
I have finalised my gear choices, and you can see the full list gear list here. In an earlier post, I debated which boots I was going to wear. I’ve now decided I will set off in the Inov8 Roclite 345 GTX boots (which I’ve reviewed here). When they are worn out, I will swap these for my Altra Lone Peak 4 Mid RSM. This plan is dependent on meeting up with my wife at the right moment, as she will bring me the new boots to save me carrying them.
Due to the possibility of temperatures ranging from -8 to +20 degrees centigrade, and the very high chance of me being wet through for days with little chance of drying gear, I’ve chosen gear that will make me as comfortable as possible in these conditions. I’m erring on the side of caution (and comfort!) taking a little bit too much. If there’s anything I find I’m not using, I will post it home. This approach will be cheaper than having to buy something while I’m out.
My rough base weight will be 10kg, not including food, water and fuel.
The plan is that I will set off from Land’s End with my wife and two youngest children (aged 7 and 8). We will walk and wild camp together for the first three or four days until Newquay, then we’ll part company and I’ll continue north on the South West Coast Path alone while my wife and children head home. Hopefully they will walk another section with me later in the challenge when they bring me my new boots.
The rough route plan from Newquay is as follows:
Follow the South West Coast Path to Barnstaple, then head across to Cheddar, across the Severn Estuary to the Brecon Beacons, then north to Snowdon along the Cambrian Way. Update: I didn’t follow the Cambrian Way due to bad weather, but enjoyed the Wye Valley Way instead.
From Snowdon, I will join the Wales Coast Path heading east to Chester, then inland around Liverpool heading for the Lancaster Canal. I will follow this canal all the way north until I can turn west into the Lake District, heading for Scafell Pike.
I will leave Cumbria on the Cumbria Way to Carlisle, and follow minor roads and forest tracks all the way to Glasgow.
From Glasgow, I will follow the West Highland Way to Fort William and Ben Nevis, then the Great Glen Way to Inverness.
From Inverness, I will be on the home straight of the John O’Groats Trail.
This route is obviously subject to weather and fitness – it’s really open, which is the massive advantage of wild camping. I have no bookings to restrict me or dictate my route!
The rough estimate for total distance is 1,300 miles.
1100 mile Dover to Cape Wrath walk in 2020 (wild camping every night)
I recommend the Ulefone Armor 3W rugged smartphone for GPS navigation, map reading, (with Ordnance Survey mapping on the Memory-Map application), photography and usual everyday phone use. I couldn’t have done this walk like I did without one.
Inov-8 are updating their range all the time and adding Graphene soles to more and more of their shoes, so check the Inov-8 website for the best choice of footwear for you.
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