LEJOG South West

Land's End & The Long Ships

Planning for an experience of a lifetime

I decided to walk from Land’s End to John O’ Groats, starting around the beginning of March 2022. I planned a broadly central route travelling along the spine of Cornwall and Devon then across Somerset to get to Bath. Then through the heart of England to join the Pennine Way. Once in Scotland a combination of historic routes took me across the Southern uplands and central lowlands to pick up the West Highland Way which I followed to Fort William. Then its the Great Glen Way to Inverness followed by the final leg to John O’ Groats.


The start Lands' End

Day 1 to Long Rock

With a single step the journey starts.

Will luck play ball? How far will I get? 1/3/2022

It wasn’t far to Sennen Cove but it would not have been right to pass the tea rooms without stopping for cake. After the downpours of the previous day the ground was very wet. I was barely out of Sennen when I happened on a footpath on the map that didn’t exist on the ground. I had been warned by a local expert, but so soon!! Over a few open spaces Carn Brea, Tredinney Common, Caer Bran and The Beacon. Sancreed Church was lovely, then in the rain down in to Penzance and along the coast path to Long Rock. 13.2 miles

St Michael's Mount

Day 2 to Palladras

A dreich morning so took a chance and started late. Paid off and still covered the planned route over Tregonning Hill (trig pillar) to Palladras. Sign on a building said En Hen Gofal, the language is so similar to Welsh.

12.5 miles today 25.7 miles total



Day 3 to Ponsanooth.

Lots of villages, Nancegollan, Porkellis, Carnkie Porkanuggo. More missing paths added to the distance covered. Dry!

14.1 miles today 39.8 miles total


Day 4 to Ladock

Started out through the lovely village of Perranwell, was pleased with my planning which avoided most of Truro. Stayed at a campsite run by a lovely couple who were the son and daughter in law of Wendy Lewis who was the first woman to finish the 1960 John O’ Groats to Lands End Walk in just 17 days! The story is well worth a google. The sun came out!

15.5 miles today, 55.3 miles total

Lane North of Trendeal

Day 5 to Belowda

Lovely lanes North of Trendeal edged with daffodils. Later the impressive hill fort of Castle-en-Dinas. Amazing views back to The Beacon and ahead to Bodmin Moor. Dry, sunny but cold.

14.2 miles today 69.5 miles total


Bodmin in the distance

Day 6 to St Breward

A quick visit to Belowda Beacon and its trig point. Along lanes and a short section of The Saints Way to eventually reach Dunmere. Then the Camel Trail and a final climb to St Breward. Dry, overcast and cold.

16.5 miles today 86 miles total


Rough Tor

Day 7 to Trenarrett

An exciting day with some lovely names. Left St Breward along the edge of Church Hay Down then along the edge of Treswallock Downs eventually passing Middle Moor Cross and over to a stone circle under Rough Tor (pronounced Row Tor) keeping to the open access land to get to the summit of Brown Willy highest point in Cornwall. Despite the sun, the East wind was cold so did not linger long for pics. Broadly Eastwards around Leskernick Hill then North East to leave the moor near Carne Down. Gentle lanes to Trenarrett. A lot of cattle on the moor. Hardest part of the day was the cycle out in strong headwinds, the walk back was relatively straight forward. Bright but cold.

12 miles today 98 miles total.


Packhorse bridge

Day 8 to Lifton

First leg to Trewen then Pipers Pool and Gospenheale descending to follow the Kensey Valley around the outskirts of Launceston to cross the Tamar in to Devon. At which point the forecast rain arrived for the remainder of the walk. Cornwall has been good. Only two wet days out of eight. Lots of commons and interesting villages.

11.5 miles today 109.5 miles total.


Day 9 to Okehampton

A day of two halves. Left Lifton on a blustery but dry morning following the Two Castles Trail as far as Galford Down. Onwards towards Lydford I had hoped for views of Brent Tor but not today. The Granite Way provided a straightforward route to Okehampton. Took a short diversion to The Pump and Pedal which caught my interest, Cafe, Pub and Bike shop in one. Was pleasantly surprised to see some Belted Galloways in a field next to the railway, quite a rare breed now and a long way from home.

17 miles today, 119 miles total. Blustery morning, wet and blustery afternoon.

Belstone Common

Day 10 to Crediton.

Day 10 to Crediton. What a day! Targa Trail along East Okement River, Belstone and the River Taw is a stunning area. Lovely Church in South Tawton then minor lanes thereafter. The weather was warm and sunny so a change of route to keep to the higher ground and some very very short sections of The Two Moors Way and The Devonshire Heartland Way. As ever intrigued by the names, one that caught my eye was No Man’s Land.

20.6 miles today,  148 miles total. After a damp start a warm and sunny afternoon.


Day 11 to Tiverton

Following a very wet night I decided on a late start and a change to a lower route to avoid the low cloud. Took the main road to Creedy Bridge and then South along minor lanes via No Man’s Chapel to Thorverton and onwards to Bickleigh Bridge. The weather clearing slightly after a very wet morning I decided to take a higher route along the lanes rather than follow the Exe Valley Way along the river, mindful of reading a blog from Alan Sloman where he mentioned the mud on that section in his walk of 2008. As I struggled up Swallowhays I was beginning to regret my decision especially when met with a big puddle. But on the descent in to Tiverton all that was forgotten.

13.8 miles today, 161.8 miles total

Lime kilns?

Day 12 to Wellington

A forecast for a good start to the day with wind and rain later led to an early start. The Great Western Canal Towpath facilitated good progress out of Tiverton and I was soon taking a diversion through Halberton. There parked on a side street was a Cortina Mk 3 2000E. You don’t see many of those on the road. At Ayshford in the Parish of Burlescombe the family chapel stands next to the canal. The limekilns near Burnthill farm are near the end of the existing canal. Thereafter the West Deane Way proved very muddy slowing progress to Wellington.

18.2 miles today, 180 miles total. Dry and sunny morning, overcast and windy by by the end of the afternoon. Rained hard 5 minutes after the end of the walk.


Burrow Mump

Day 13 to Othery

A very wet and windy evening. The forecast was for heavy showers tomorrow. However it was dry first thing and forecast to stay dry till late afternoon. Mindful of the mud yesterday afternoon and the further rain since, I set off for Taunton on minor roads and after Taunton on canal paths as far as Creech St Michael. Thence Minor roads for the rest of the way. At North Curry there is a notable memorial commemorating the reign of Queen Victoria. The highlight of the day though is Burrow Mump near Burrowbridge. A natural hill on which stands the now ruined St Michaels Church.

19.3 miles today, 200 miles total. Dry until 5 minutes before the end.


Day 14 to Glastonbury

Woke to a bright dry morning with a light mist over parts of the levels.  First short section today was on the A361 so a late start after the work traffic had cleared. Left the main road past Beer Farm then along Beer Drove. On the levels now, long straight minor roads with drainage channels either side.  On to Walton Hill  and Ivy Thorn Hill. Through the small town of Street then along Street Drove before taking a left to go over Cow Bridge all the while with excellent views towards Glastonbury Tor.

11 miles today 211 miles total. Dry and bright but cold towards the end of the afternoon.

So two weeks in, 211 miles done. It’s been interesting travelling at a pace where I can observe the landscape. It’s constantly changing in all manner of ways. Perhaps the most obvious is the topography but so also is the soil, the stone, the flora and the fauna. Each area has it’s own special character made from that mix. Older buildings are made of the local stone so their appearance and design changes too. Cornwall had many commons and open spaces with their grazing practices the largest being Bodmin Moor, crossing that brought the biggest changes, to the East more rolling. Over the Tamar and Devon is noticeably different. The hills are higher but greener as you head East the soil gets redder, the lanes narrower but little common grazing. In Somerset the levels have a unique character, whilst not to my taste it’s intriguing. I had never seen a flood gate to a road before, reminiscent of snow gates in Scotland. The walk is highlighting to me the importance of protecting the unique and special character of each area.


Wells Cathedral

Day 15 to Farrington Gurney

Leaving Glastonbury more levels to cross to get to Wells. It’s on this section that I first pick up Monarch’s Way. (Worth a Google). The cathedral is seriously impressive inside and out. Over Milton Hill and Arthur’s Point before ascending on to the Mendips. Great to be on trails for most of the walking today. Greendown Batch was a delight. Nothing prepares you for Stoneyard Lane, barbed wire forces to walk in the actual ditch for quite some distance. Reported on the Ramblers App. It’s a shame that a small minority of landowners behave like that and give the majority a bad name.  After that easy walking along Hollow Marsh Lane.

18.4 miles today, 229 miles total. Warm and sunny all day.


Day 16 to Bath

Woke to the sound of rain and set off in the rain. Villages came and went, but with hood up and head down didn’t really see much of them or the Limestone Link I followed for most of the way. 

15.5 miles today 244.5 miles total. Rained all day.