more about me and my walking cv

Having told you a little about my introduction to walking, I guess that I should try to fill in some of the gaps between then and now. Well, I moved from Harrogate to Benwick in Cambridgeshire in July 1995. The contrast couldn’t have been greater from the Yorkshire hills to the Cambridgeshire fens. Having been bitten by the walking bug, not knowing many people outside of work and being a stranger to this part of the world, I decided that joining the local Ramblers Association group would be a good idea to get out and make new friends whilst finding my way around the footpaths of East Anglia. I went on the inaugural walk of the Fenland Ramblers some 13 years ago and now regularly lead walks for them.

Along with local Ramblers walks, I ventured farther afield on holidays throughout the UK with HF Holidays and overseas with Ramblers Holidays. My travels have taken me (in alphabetical order) to Austria, France, Italy, Madeira, Majorca, Portugal, Northern Cyprus, Spain & Tenerife. I’ve left Canada to last as it was here that I decided to celebrate my 50th birthday and this is perhaps where the idea of doing the C2C originated as ever since then, I’ve been thinking about how to mark my 60th birthday.

Interspersed between the foreign trips, I’ve also had a number of UK based walking holidays taking in Snowdonia, Scotland around Glen Coe, the Howgills, Brecon and many more visits to the Lake District.

I was lucky enough to be able to take early retirement in May 2005 at the age of 54 and to mark this momentous milestone in my life I bought a motorhome as a means of furthering my walking hobby. This would provide both transport and accommodation for my planned travels around the UK which have taken me the length and breadth of the country from Devon & Cornwall to the Isle of Skye. After 4 years of motorhoming, I decided that a car and caravan would be a better option and made the switch at the start of 2010 since when I’ve been away for 11 weeks during the summer.

My itinerary always includes some time in the Yorkshire Dales, the Lake District and the Peak District but this year I visited the Mendips for the first time and can recommend this as a good, relatively low level, walking area. I don’t normally keep fastidious records of my walks but started a blog of my travels ( The entries in this blog show that I managed a total of 377 miles with 70,600 feet of ascent during this summer’s walks.

It was during one of these walks, up one side of Snowdon and down the other, on my 59th birthday that I started to seriously think about how to mark the big SIX O. I had previously done the Cumbria Way (72 miles in 6 days) and managed 3 days consecutively walking a total of 23 miles and 6,600 feet of ascent in Snowdonia. I guess that by now I can consider myself as a seasoned walker and 192 miles over 17 days ought to be within my capabilities.

Alfred Wainwright said “Some people (in parties) pity the solitary walker and seem unable to understand that he walks alone by preference. But surely a man doesn’t have to be odd to enjoy his own company best, once in a while; away from the hills he has precious few opportunities for quiet meditation. And if a man cannot enjoy his own company, what effect does he think it has on others? Sometimes the reverse is the case: I always consider myself, when alone, a vastly entertaining companion, but when with others am considered unsociable, boorish, not with it. Again, some people (in parties) confuse aloneness with loneliness, but there is all the difference in the world between being alone and being lonely. I was least lonely when I was alone on the hills and free to indulge my imagination; most lonely in a crowd.”

I guess that there is something of Wainwright in me in that I don’t like crowds and would much rather than be in the countryside than in a town or city. The same applies to walking although I’m equally at home walking on my own as walking in a group. When it came to the C2C my thoughts were that I would derive most pleasure from finding my own way and doing it at my own pace. For this reason, I discarded the idea of doing it as part of an organised group in favour of the DIY approach. I was happy to out-source the accommodation and travel arrangements to Coast to Coast Packhorse, but route finding would be my preserve. I recognise that I will meet with fellow walkers along the way and in the various B&Bs/hotels. Their company will be welcome if our plans coincide, if not, then I will happy on my own.