This project was a solo trek which started at Dunnet Head, the northernmost point of mainland Britain, and then on towards the three other extreme cardinal points on the mainland: Ardnamurchan Point (westernmost), Lowestoft Ness (easternmost) and Lizard Point (southernmost). The route covered 1403 miles over 78 days. If you are interested, you can view the complete route and distance chart, in miles and in kilometres.
There was always the question of how to travel between these points: how far, which roads, where to rest? All good questions. I have always been fascinated by the opening pages of Le Petit Prince, where our narrator draws an image – which, as he explains, grown-ups perceive to be a brown hat. The picture however is not of a brown hat, but rather, in the boundless imagination of a child’s mind, is actually of an elephant having been swallowed whole by a boa constrictor.
Perhaps reason obscures the freedom of our minds, impeding the possibilities for open discovery which came so naturally to us as children. Perhaps the best answers to the above questions were as yet unseen. Why not leave the route unstructured, allowing room for creativity, serendipity and some Godly guidance? Thus, the route was not planned in advance, other than a rough outline of the most obvious way to connect the points – each day’s details left to exploration and discovery. Following mainly roads, this is the route that eventuated:
When to walk? A ramble through Britain in the Spring would have offered the most pleasant experience, full of views to make one’s heart leap up, as Wordsworth’s once did. But perhaps there was something to be found in the less usual: why not walk in Winter? Of course, it required more gear and fortitude, yet there are glories to be found in everything, and whatever might have been diminished by the dark nights and difficult experience of walking through Winter were countered by the spirit of the human soul (and by log fires, thick blankets and good company in the evenings). I started at Dunnet Head on 3 January, 2015, and finished at Lizard Point on 21 March.