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  • Thursday, October 23, 2014

    My Full Route Across Ireland and the UK

    Until now, I haven't really sat down and figured out how far I've gone and how much further I have to go, but it looks like I am 1,045 miles into my 1,912-mile hike across Ireland and the United Kingdom... Assuming I don't change my route.

    Originally, I planned on hiking the John Muir Way from Glasgow to Edinburgh then south to the English border to hike the Pennine Way through England. There are two reasons I changed that plan. First, I really want to see the Lake District, and second, the Pennine Way seems to be very similar to what I've been doing for the last month. This time of year, I'd likely be the only other person going south on that trail, and I want a route that will make it easier to meet people.

    I have a long way to go, but the slowest section, the Cape Wrath Trail, is behind me. I'll be able to move much faster now. Finishing before winter will only require 15 miles per day average. To finish by November 30th would require almost 23 miles per day, which is what I originally planned, but that's not going to happen. I should be able to do something in between.

    From Glasgow, I will combine several of Britain's long distance trails and some roads to hike across the rest of Scotland to The Lake District (the number one recommendation I've received from locals). Sometime after that, I'll tour Liverpool, hitch to visit friends in Leicester, walk along the border between England and Wales, take a detour by hitching toward Stonehenge, then go back to my route to walk along the Thames River to London. The final section will be a walk along the southeast coast of England to the Cliffs of Dover.

    From Dover, I'll take a ferry to France where I'll most likely visit several places around Europe by hitching and taking public transportation, but I don't have any plans made yet. I like the idea of continuing my walk across France, but unfortunately, I won't have the money for that.

    I'm still open to suggestions if you think I should change my route. Here is a list of the trails I'll be hiking to finish my hike to the English Channel..

    Clyde Walkway - 39.1 mi
    Roadwalk (New Lanark to Moffat) - 32 mi
    Annandale Way - 54.7 mi
    Roadwalk (Annan to Carlisle) - 18 mi
    Cumbria Way - 72 mi
    Dales Way - 30  mi
    Ribble Way - 72 mi
    Roadwalk (Preston to Southport) - 17.5 mi
    Trans Pennine Trail - 18 mi
    Roadwalk - 29 mi
    Offa's Dyke Path - 177 mi
    Roadwalk - 17 mi
    Thames Pathway - 180 mi
    Roadwalk - 13 mi
    Saxon Shore Way - 100 mi

    Wednesday, October 22, 2014

    The Southern Terminus of the WHW

    In the village of Milngavie (pronounced Mul-Guy for some reason), there is an obelisk marking the southern terminus of the West Highland Way, and my end of this section.
    I always convince myself that completing a section is a good reason for a reward. Although, I stick to a pretty tight budget, a donation from Lauren in Fort Wayne, Indiana let me sit down to a giant cafe latte and carrot cake without guilt. Thank you Lauren!

    Tuesday, October 21, 2014

    Loch Lomond

    Guess which part of this picture reminded me of home back in Indiana?

    Not only was the trail dry and bogless, I wasn't rained on every day on The West Highland Way. It's amazing what that does for morale.

    The trail skirted the forested east side of Loch Lomond for about 20 miles. This was one of my favorite sections of the West Highland Way, primarily because I was surrounded by trees.

    This forest is home to many feral mountain goats.
    A few miles in, the trail passed the Falls of Inversnaid. A great place to hike with the fall foliage.

    A tree on the shore of Loch Lomond that I loved. I'm not exactly sure why, but I think because it looks like it could have walked there from the forest.

    Near the end of this section of trail, I was lucky enough to spot the elusive 8-legged cow.