Land's End to John O'Groats 2024
Covid scuppered my plans to walk Land’s End to John O’Groats in 2021 and it has taken a little while for things to line up again, but here goes…
In March this year, I will be setting off on a completely unplanned walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats. I have no route in mind, no accommodation booked, no set schedule, and no idea if my body can actually drag itself across 1200 miles of the UK. But that’s why the idea excites me.
The beauty of LEJOG is, unlike other UK long distance paths, there is no prescribed trail. The challenge is simply (ha!) to get from A to B on foot. Obviously, I’ll start at Land’s End and at some point, I’ll (hopefully) end at John O’Groats, but other than that, I have no idea where I’ll go or where I’ll stay.
Most people who set off on LEJOG do not make it. It’s a tough walk and so much can go wrong along the way. I’ll give it my best shot and know it’ll be a mix of fun, frustration, joy, pain, revelation, despair, and all else my mind chooses to throw at me. But I also know I will learn a great deal and I know it will, in some as yet unknown way, change me. I’m up for that.
The walk typically takes 3-4 months to complete, but I have no particular timeframe in mind. If I’m faster, great, but knowing myself, it is far more likely I’ll get distracted by some place of interest, monument, church, story, or other intriguing diversion, which results in sending me off on some wild detour and extending the length of the walk. I’m open to whatever comes along.
In recent months, three members of my family have each been diagnosed with cancer, including my dear brother, who is now in a fight with a stage 4 tumour, which he is handling with good humour and stoicism. This has, once again, brought me up close with the work of MacMillan Cancer Support. As some readers will be aware, I have been raising money for MacMillan for many years and was truly humbled to be awarded their Douglas MacMIllan Award for significant impact during a surprise hijacking of my introduction speech at MathsConf in 2019.
I hope that the LEJOG walk can be a catalyst for raising £10,000 for MacMillan and would appreciate any and all sponsorship donations through my Just Giving page.
I should provide a little disclaimer up front: I'm a middle aged man, fairly out of shape, with a dodgy right knee and a chronic illness, so there is a chance I might not be able to complete the full 1400 mile trek, but I'm hoping you won't mind your money going to MacMillan even if I don't make it. I promise you, I'll give it my best shot!