It all started the same way that many such schemes do, with a Friday afternoon daydream at work. We've all been there, it’s the end of a long week, the clock appears to have set up camp at 4:30 and the mind starts to wander in search of a mental shelter from the tedium. My refuge on this particular Friday was the view from the window of our stuffy office. Looking out beyond the industrial units and idling lorries of the estate I could just glimpse the hazy outline of green hills on the horizon. Anyone who has worked at a computer all day will vouch that at times the urge to abandon the thing and go stretch your legs is a hard one to resist and at that moment I would have liked nothing better than to strike out across country in search of those hills. Sadly my employers would probably have frowned upon an impromptu afternoon hike so I resigned myself to simply contemplating the logistics of such a trek. How many miles would it be? Could I walk it in one day? Come to think of it, just how far could I even walk in one day? Such questions eventually led to their inevitable conclusion: Could I, a relatively inexperienced hiker walk from one end of the country to the other? For most this would just be a fleeting thought no sooner dreamt up as dissipated but for some reason the question refused to stop circulating through my mind. Could I really do it?
I thought of my Granddad after he had completed the Coast to Coast with his mate Reg and his satisfaction at not only finishing, but doing so in well under the average time scale. I remember the fondness with which he used to talk about his exploits on the trail and I new that he for one would tell me to grab life by the scruff of the neck and run with it. So I did.
To cut a long story short, after a spot of internet research and a long conversation with my folks I became the proud owner of more ordinance survey maps than I'm certain is healthy for one individual to have. The reason for this cartographical extravagance was two fold;
First the route I had decided to take covers 54 1:25000 OS maps on its journey through the country and given my ability to get lost in even the most familiar setting I figured I would need each and every one of them to stand a chance.
Second I thought that the best way to invest myself in this endeavour was to 'invest' in the endeavour. There's no backing out when you've got a house filled to the brim with maps and the bill to go with it.
So there I am, a man with a plan and a giant box of maps. Over the next few months I'll be hammering down my route, adding to my pile of equipment, and desperately trying to bash myself into shape before the big day. Along the way I’ll try my best to keep you up to date with my joys, sorrows and frustrations as I make the preparations for the longest walk of my life.
Until then, happy daydreaming to you all!