Just to tell you how much I've appreciated your site, which I discovered after a month of studying possible LEJOG ways via OS, Google, LDWA and etc, so yours confirmed ideas that I'd already formed, while offering new insights and alternatives. I greatly appreciate your marking every stage, and generally noting reasons for veering from your plan, when you did.
I have solo-walked 3X across Scotland, most recently 2019, but this would be a first LEJOG (I hope 2022). I would begin a month before you did - hoping to finish before the hatching of midges in Scotland.
I have many questions but will only ask a few here: (1) do you recall your average 2003 weekly mileage, including "zero mile" days? I was impressed that you finished in 72 days! (2) You seemed to encounter many unleashed dogs in SW England. Was this in general while traversing farms? I'm not used to walking in England, would be alone and want to stay safe, with much to learn still about rights of way there. (3) Can you tell me why you only skirted the Dartmoor National Park, rather than walking through it? (4) The Cotswolds region seems so perfect... yet you chose to leave it to walk straight North through the Midlands. Can you tell me more about why you didn't proceed through the Cotswolds?
With sincere thanks again for your well constructed and informative site,
Subject: Your LEJOG questions
Thanks for the kind words! It may be a while since I did the walk, but I'm glad my site is still proving useful.
Let's see if I can help with your questions.
1. You can see my daily walking distances in the route section:
It lists all walking and rest days, so that should help. Although I had 70 walking days, I took 19 rest days, so the grand total is 89 days - very nearly 3 months. I wanted to take my time and smell the roses; no sense in rushing things. 😀
2. Almost all the off-leash dogs I met were outside of farmland - on public paths, canals, that sort of thing. In farms, particularly animal farms, people should keep their dogs on leads or (at the very least) within sight, as farmers take a very dim view of dogs hassling their herds, and there are plenty of signs to that effect.
I'd be a lot better with dogs these days, as I've got more experience with them. To be honest, reading back through my diary, the problem wasn't the dogs, it was me! I probably wouldn't even notice them these days...
3. I skirted Dartmoor because the guide book I was following did so - and there was no obvious reason to deviate from that route. Then again, the weather was awful as I approached the edges of the moor, and then I injured my ankle really badly on the outskirts, so even if I'd planned to visit it, I'd have cancelled those plans. In good weather and with good health, I'm sure Dartmoor would be a great place to explore; not so in the wind and lashing rain.
See here for more whinges about this part:
4. My original plan was to keep going through the Costwolds, following the Cotswold Way, but it meanders around so much that I decided to cut my losses and head to Gloucester instead. The Cotswold Way is pleasant enough, but when you are trying to walk across a whole country, meandering isn't always what you're after... and I adored the walking along the River Severn, so I'm glad I switched.
More on the meandering of the Cotswold Way here:
That said, this is such a personal walk, so if walking up and down along the edge of the Cotswolds is your cup of tea, then the Cotswold Way is great. It isn't that Cotswoldy - it's an escarpment walk rather than the gentle rolling fields and picture-postcard villages you might get in the heart of the Cotswolds - but if you don't mind meandering, it's a great way to kill some miles without getting much closer to John o'Groats. 😉
Anyway, hope this helps, and if you've got any other questions, feel free to ask. Good luck!
All the best,
Subject: Servern River, etc
Thanks for your informative reply. I've realized that the question "behind" my question about the Cotswolds, really had to do with decision-making about when / where / why to make one's Northern cut after emerging from Cornwall and Devon. And yes, there's a lot of ground to cover once one starts! I've found the Southwest of England nearly overwhelming, from a point of view of just so much history, so much to see, and of course one can't walk everywhere (well, not at once). I'll be looking more closely at your posts as I ponder my own plan - to date, I've thought about the Cotswolds (thank you for your thoughts on that route), the Wye River area North of Bristol, your Severn way, or even heading farther East than you did (thus skipping most of the Cotswolds in a different way), all the way to Avebury, then heading straight North ultimately to another important Neolothic site, Arbor Low (Northwest of Derby), before accessing Edale and the Pennine Way. I've also got family roots in Staffordshire, and Derbyshire, in little places that I've heard of but not yet had the chance to visit (I'm American), which might also influence my planning.
In any case I'm having a great time reading your log of 2003, hoping against hope that Covid restrictions will allow me to return to the UK in 2022 (I usually walk for several weeks in Scotland each year, longest walk to date being from Dunnottar Castle on the Aberdeenshire coast right to Callanish in the Outer Hebrides)... but like millions of others, had best laid plans cancelled in 2020 and 2021, due to the pandemic.
With very best wishes,
Subject: River routes
Planning the route is such a fun part of the process - I really enjoyed all the preparations, and I'm certainly not alone! I don't think there are any particularly bad routes, so picking the one that appeals on a personal level is probably the best bet.
If I had my time again I'd take the Severn Way all the way from the turn north, but I did enjoy my time in the Cotswolds, so it wasn't a big deal. Those damselflies down by the river were awesome, though... 😀
Good luck with the planning!