End to End Route diagram

Or, how I walked from Land's End to
John O'Groats in 1384 miles and 119 days

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The Concept

On 1st April 1988 I set out from Malham in North Yorkshire to walk the Pennine Way, in sections. The walk grew, linking together a series of British long-distance footpaths. At 7pm on 29th May 2004 I arrived at the Inchbae Hotel, Easter Ross, thereby completing a contiguous series of hikes from one end of Britain to the other - Land's End to John O' Groats. Altogether I had walked 1393 miles.

I planned the walk as the Americans would call a section hike - a bit at a time, a day or two here, a weekend there, not necessarily in sequence, gradually linking the long series of day walks into one continguous whole. I though that the Pennine Way would take me five years but it took just three, and by the spring of 1990 I was already wondering how to follow it up. The West Highland Way was an ideal choice for scenic beauty, but on the other hand the Cotswold Way looked like an easier option. It was while researching the choice of footpaths that I discovered others that were linked together - where the Cotswold Way ended, the Heart of England Way began, and that in turn connected to the Staffordshire Way at Cannock Chase. I realised that the Staffordshire Way ended not far short of the Pennine Way, and I wondered if there was a route that would connect the Pennine Way in turn to the West Highland Way Before I knew it I'd hatched a plan to walk from Land's End to John O'Groats, one extremity of Britain to the other. It would be done mainly on recognised long-distance paths, but where these didn't exist I'd make up a route of local footpaths or (in Scotland) forest tracks and estate roads. I made one or two wild dog-legs and diversions, mainly in the south west to include Dartmoor, Exmoor, the Quantocks and the Mendips in the route. Altogether the distance came to around 1378 miles (since revised.)

My chosen route keeps as far as possible to the best of Britain's scenery; mountains, moors, hills, forests, pastures and clifftops, and nowhere is it technically difficult. Maybe I'll inspire you to try it yourself. I don't expect that anyone will follow the same route - the sequence of paths described here is full of my own preferences and quirks and you'll no doubt have your own. Many people have waked from Land's End to John O'Groats, for many reasons and by many different routes. Few accounts have been published but it does seem that most went by road. I did it the hard way and took my time, but after all it was a labour of love.

Other walkers have inspired me and I have based parts of my route on theirs; particularly Hamish Brown (whose Pennine to Highland route forms most of my South of Scotland Way) and Laurence Main (on whose Somerset Way I based my own).

The Heart of England Way in Banman's Wood, Warwickshire

The various paths that make up the End-to-End Walk: (Click the links for the individual walk indexes)

South Cornwall Coast Path Land's End to Plymouth 15 days 154.03 miles
Devon Coast to Coast Plymouth to Minehead 10 days 112.17 miles
A Somerset Way Minehead to Bath 9 days 111.54 miles
The Cotswold Way Bath to Chipping Campden 9 days 103 miles
Heart of England Way Chipping Campden to Rugeley 6 days 88 miles
Staffordshire Link Rugeley to Thorpe
3 days 27 miles
A White Peak Way Thorpe to Edale 4 days 34.9 miles
The Pennine Way Edale to Kirk Yetholm 23 days 253.2 miles
A South of Scotland Way Kirk Yetholm to Milngavie 13 days 143 miles
The West Highland Way Milngavie to Fort William 8 days 95.7 miles
A Great Glen Way Fort William to Cannich 5 days 54½ miles 
North of Scotland Way Cannich to  John O'Groats 14 days 184½ miles

News Update,
25th November 2010:

Updates have been very slow over the past three years and it must seem to all my regular readers as though this site has ground to a halt. The truth is that I've had other priorities; in September 2005 my dad suffered a heart attack, and even as he was lying in the recovery ward in Bedford hospital my mum was diagnosed with cancer. As their health deteriorated I had to put leisure and hobby activities aside and act as full-time carer for them both. The crisis came to a head during 2010. I was made redundant in January. Dad died in March, and I lost Mum at the end of August after months of continual and horrendous suffering. Her passing was a happy release.

Matters having been resolved, therefore, I am free to persue a normal life and I expect to resume hiking, hillwalking and photographing activities in 2011.

Work on the end-to-end walk will continue. Route revisions are being made, work on the website itself is still in progress and I want to rewalk sections of the route - as weather and opportunity allows - to bring the patchy photographic record up to a consistent high standard.

Another route change is in the offing. I've discovered the existance of the Macmillan Way, the Samaritans Way and the West Deane Way, a combination of which will almost certainly provide a superior route on the Dunster - Bicknoller and Bicknoller - Taunton sections of the Somerset Way. In many places these trails are either coincident with or run close to my present route. It's unlikely that I will be able to explore these alternatives in the short term but once matters are resolved I hope to be out on the trail again.

'm embarking on a complete remeasurement of the route. This has been made possible by the aquisition of some digital mapping software ( I have started to add "walk statistics" tables to walks for which I have map data available, showing distance walked, net ascent, net descent and time taken. I shall also be able to add route profile diagrams in due course. It has become apparent that the various route distances given in guidebooks are inaccurate, sometimes by more than two miles per walk; it's likely that the aggregate distance of the End-to-End will drop by around twenty to thirty miles as I remeasure it. I'm aiming to complete this remeasurement before the end of 2011.

Expeditions completed in 2008/09:
Sept 3rd 2008
Wells to Cheddar
Repeat walk, new photos
May 30th 2009 Rugeley to Abbots Bromley
Repeat walk, new photos

The Website

The main reason for building this web site is to share the pleasures of the end-to-end challenge and the joys of the Wild Green Yonder with you all. This site will contain sketch maps, a brief route narrative and (most importantly) my photographic record of the walk.

I am currently adding images as quickly as possible, and am no longer constrained by webspace limitations. I have to admit that when I started to build this site I didn't really appreciate what I was taking on; its construction is proving far more time-consuming than I'd like. Please bear with me - it'll continue to grow.

In the meantime, enjoy the walks!

John A Butler, Biggleswade, Bedford, England.


Peak to Peak Trail and Wilderness Links
Peak to Peak Trail and Wilderness Links

  Walking in Britain - the Great Outdoors Recreation Page
  The Ramblers' Association
  The Long Distance Walkers' Association
  Council for the National Parks
  Thomas Keijzer's Walking In Britain site
  The UK Walking Routes website
  Pierre Lavaurs's walking diaries and links to other sectional walks
  Landscape photography by Byron E. Crowley

  David Cotton's Land's End - John O'Groats walk
  Phil and Marylin Slater's  John O'Groats to Land's End experience; an enjoyable and comprehensive account.
  Judith Sharrock's JOG to LE journey on horseback
  63 year old American Daryl May's Land's End to John O'Groats Walk, a most interesting narrative

Important Notice: Copyright

All images on this site are the copyright of the author. You may download and archive them; you may use them as wallpaper or backdrops; you may alter and manipulate them for your own amusement.

You may not use them for commercial gain. You may not pass them off as your own. If you wish to include any of these images on your own website, or otherwise place them on the internet in any way, you are required to contact the author first for permission. Original credit and a copyright notice will be a manditory condition before such a request is granted. If you derive any new image wholly or partially from them such as a manipulation or composite, and you wish to publish any resulting image or use it for commercial gain, you are similarly required to contact the author for permission, and to give original credit, and to append a copyright notice to any such image.

Page updated 2 November 2011