Preparation

General

I have been using Evernote for quite a few years now as my digital notebook.  I have a notebook for my trip and both have some specific notes but also one for every (theoretical) day of my trip.  Here I collect information from magazines and web sites on places of interest whether they be historic buildings, gardens or accommodation or even great sounding places to eat.

Books

  1. Land’s End to John O’Groats, A Choice of Footpaths for Walking The Length of Britain by Andrew McCloy.  I found mine on Amazon but it is out of print and so it is a matter of trying to find one at a good price second hand.
  2. The End to End Trail.  This is a Cicerone guide written by Andy Robinson.

Maps

  1. Ordnance Survey.  I bought the 1:50,000 Landranger maps.  I have all my maps on the Outdoors GB app on my iPad.
  2. I have also been trying out Gaia GPS which is cheaper and has both great maps and an excellent app.

Web Sites

  1. The best resource is Mark Moxon’s site.  Here you will also find links to blogs of other walkers.
  2. http://www.ukendtoend.com, the journal of a couple who hiked LEJOG in 1998.

Resources

  1. Accommodation in Scotland.  The best site I have found is www.walkhighlands.co.uk.

Training

After a largely office based career, and despite keeping reasonably fit, I decided that I needed to have a nice long training program to insure that my body was well prepared.  13 months before my planned start date I began a program of getting up most mornings and walking for about an hour and a quarter a day.  I live in a steep mountainous area and so my walks are a good workout.  My plan works something like this:

  • April to October – Do my 10,000 paces minimum most days of the week.  On Mondays go out with a hiking group to get one longer day in.
  • November to March – Same as above but carrying my backpack one day per week and then increasing each month by one day a week so that I am carrying it five days a week in March.
  • Throughout – weekdays on the elliptical trainer.

Given that I live here in the Pacific Northwest and so have to deal with very wet winters I am fortunate to have an elliptical trainer in our back bedroom and so on weekdays I spend an hour a day on it with increasing load.  I am assured by my doctor that the stationary bike or elliptical are some of the best things for my knees which will prove to be my weak point.

Packing List

A couple of notes on my packing list.  First of all the list below does include the clothing I will be wearing and so, actually packed will include one less pair of socks, pants etc.  Also I have decided against carrying a stove since travel in the UK will never have me far from hot food and a nice cafe.  I have my pack with everything in it below down to about 23 lbs.

  1. Navigation
  2. Maps (with protective case)
  3.  Illumination
    1.  Headlamp
    2. Extra batteries
  4. First-aid supplies
    1. First-aid kit
    2. Insect repellent… the midges are miserable in Scotland
  5.  Fire
    1. Matches or lighter
    2. Waterproof container
  6. Repair kit and tools
    1. Knife or multi-tool
    2. Repair kits for
      1. Mattress
      2. Tent
  7.  Hydration
    1. Hydration system
  8. Tent, sleeping etc.
    1. Backpack with pack cover
    2. Tent
    3. Sleeping bag
    4. Stuff sacks
    5. Sleeping pad
    6. Trekking poles
  9.  Meals
    1. Energy food (bars, gels, chews, trail mix)
    2. Plastic plate that converts into bowl
    3. Spork
    4. Sharp knife
    5. Food storage container
  10.  Clothing
    1. T-shirt – 3
    2. Shirt – 1
    3. Quick-drying pants – 1
    4. Zip off pants – 1
    5. Shorts – 1
    6. Lightweight sweater – 1
    7. Sun/Rain hat – 1
    8. Rainwear (jacket, pants & poncho)
    9. Underwear – 3
    10. Handkerchiefs – 2
    11. Long-johns (doubles as pyjama bottoms) – 1
  11. Footwear; Assorted Personal Items
    1. Boots
    2. Socks – 3
    3. Liner socks – 3
    4. Sandals (for fording, in camp)
    5. Spare boot laces
  12. Bug jacket
  13. Toothbrush and/or toiletry kit
    1. Toothbrush
    2. Toothpaste
    3. Biodegradable soap
    4. Quick-dry towel
    5. Eye shades
    6. Toilet paper
    7. Lip balm
    8. Skin cream
    9. Nail clippers
    10. Needle and thread
  14.  Wallet
    1. YHA membership
    2. National Trust membership
    3. Heritage England membership
    4. Visa
    5. Debit card
    6. Drivers License
    7. Insurance cards
  15.  Miscellaneous
    1. Ipad with
      1. Gaia GPS and downloaded maps (also have these on my phone)
      2. Field guide(s); star identifier
    2. Ipad/phone chargers
    3. Harmonica