Grand Walking Plans

Published on 29 April 2010 in , , , , ,

Just after Christmas Catherine and myself began to think about our various holiday plans for the next year. The result somehow ended up being a plan that would essentially see me try to complete four long distance paths over the course of 2010.

Shadow Play

Catherine was particularly keen to do Wainwright’s Coast to Coast at some point in her life, so this summer seemed as good a time as any.

Although not an official National Trail, it’s one of the most popular of all the long distance trails in the UK, and in 2004 was rated the 2nd best walk in the world, by Country Walking Magazine, beating the Inca Trail, Everest and Mont Blanc. With a recommendation like that, who could say no?

Second on the list was that we both really wanted to finally finish the Pennine Way. We did our first stages on that back in the spring of 2007, returning the following Autumn and in Spring 2008. However for various reasons, we’d never gone back to finish off the final third.

Wanting a sense of completion on that particular endeavour, we decided we’d head up there at the end of March as we both had some annual leave to use up before April.

Well that’s two. However I had a problem. I actually had too much leave to use up before the end of the financial year! The Pennine Way wouldn’t use it all…

The BBC allows you to buy (or sell) a weeks extra leave, and in 2009 I’d done just that, giving me six weeks instead of five. The plan was that myself and Catherine would go on holiday over two weeks in the summer, there would be a week for autumn, a week for spring and a week for “misc”. Then my extra week could be used for a weeks walking by myself, and thus my Cumbria Way journey was born.

Unfortunately there was a snag in the plans in that due to Catherine writing her book, we only ended up having one week off together, and thus I ended up with some unused leave.

So I’d hit upon the plan of doing the South Downs Way, over a number of weekends as I’ve been recently blogging about.

And to add to that, spurred on by my Cumbria Way jaunt, I’d already decided to buy another weeks extra leave and go off by myself again. Catherine had suggested that the 84 mile Dales Way sounded quite nice, and I’d already pencilled it in.

It took a few weeks to realise quite what I’d planned. I’d be walking some 480 miles – over two times what the average person in the UK walks in a year! I’d be completing four long distance paths. Given I’ve only ever completed two long distance paths in my life (the West Highland Way and the Cumbria Way – both last year) this would be a huge undertaking.

Still, it’s got to be worth a few blog posts. Hasn’t it?


  • Will says:

    But isn’t the planning half the fun. Pouring over the books and maps during the long winter nights.

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    I’d say absolutely. And I’ve been doing just that recently for this years insane plan…

  • Will says:

    Any hints on this years insane plan?
    Its just that you appear to attract the rain and as such we would like to avoid the same dates 🙂

  • Andrew Bowden says:

    Well much of it is still a vague idea rather than concrete, but we’re certainly doing the Glyndŵr’s Way at the end of April. A summer splurge is hopefully going to be the rather challenging Southern Upland Way.