Hikes like these take months to plan and do. Many, many people helped me, as recognized below.
John and Alison Gilbert of Stockland Bristol near Bridgwater hosted me (and John hiked alongside also) - but they did a lot more than that with advice, direct help - and just being there as a psychological focus. John published some of my journal in his fine publication, The Stockland Gatepost, and also put me in touch with Yvonne Haggett, who gave the invaluable advice about crossing the River Parrett that I quote on day N13.
Mark Moxon, through his tremendous website and in email exchanges, shared generously of his expertise, and his photographs, and gave me a copy of his book, which I reference on day N4 and elsewhere. He is a continuing source of wisdom for me. Also referenced on that page are sites by Alan Sloman and Dave Greenwood, who did end-to-end hikes at about the same time as my northbound one, and provided companionship from afar. Terry O'B and Linda A of the Shropshire Union Canal Society confirmed the satisfactory condition of that canal's towpath for walking, in the early stages of my route planning, and even sent pictures. Keith B of Adelaide, Australia offered some helpful mapping guidance which I've included in the Overview. Keith and his wife, Lynne, are accomplished hikers planning to do this particular hike in 2010.
My cousins, Ivor and Elise S, since they live in England, stored some of the contents of my pack after a weight-savings purging that I did in Truro, Cornwall. It was great to visit their whole family when I reached London after my first hike.
I was amazingly fortunate on my southbound hike to be greeted enroute by hikers and friends who had traveled far for this dubious privilege - and I was privileged when some of them walked alongside your dubious hiker for as long as two days. These included Gavin M, Ian Shiel, Martin Banfield, Alan Sloman, Richard and Linda M, Don G, John Gilbert, John and Claire S - and Bill and Jennie W who took the photo above. Gavin also helped with blister treatments; and Martin (and Sue), Alan (and daughter, Rachel) and John Gilbert (and Alison) were more than generous with accommodation.
On Rannoch Moor at the Kings House Hotel, I enjoyed a pleasant evening with Andy S and the Bikers from Hull (that's Kingston upon Hull), who befriended a stranger, and followed my daily journal until I was safely at Land's End.
A special treat was to hear from people out of the blue, who had read about my progress on the web and wanted to wish me well. These included Mark Alvarez, Chris W, Neil McK, Russell S, Steve B, Richard Foss, Dave Greenwood, Mark Moxon, Dave N, Colette A, Gayle and Mick, Ross McNary, Steven H, Philip W, Andy P, Lori L, Rosalind B, Andrew James, and Geoff G. It would have been a lonelier life on the trail without their email greetings.
During the hikes, there were a great many landlords/ladies whose kindness went beyond providing accommodation. I particularly want to mention Shona B of Templeton B&B, Lockerbie, Scotland, who generously enabled me to email my journal home during the northbound hike. Without going into the details, this wasn't a simple process. Tricia and Allan Andrew of Morangie B&B in Tain, Scotland provided a home away from home while my blister healed southbound. Neville and Sonia Robbins of Drynachan B&B, Invergarry, Scotland provided expert practical training in Scotch, and I don't mean Scottish.
I wish to thank Walter D, cobbler-extraordinaire of Lancaster, for fixing my boots (northbound) so that a single pair lasted the whole northbound hike when it seemed that I might need a succession of new ones.
I am really indebted to Dave and Sylvia H of Leicester, who were visiting John o' Groats when I finished my northbound hike, and whose generous spirit and hospitality made that a most memorable occasion for me. After the northbound hike, I rested up by visiting English friends, John and Andrea Tippetts of Sheffield, who treated me like the long-lost friend that I am; their guest bedroom was a world of luxury, especially compared with my accommodation during the hike. But they didn't stop there; on my southbound hike, they visited me on the trail, and drove me both ways the prodigious distance to Sheffield and back to Ludlow so that I could rest for a day. After both my hikes, Peter and Angela P of Salisbury also put me up (and put up with me), and gave me a private and expert tour of the famous cathedral on one occasion, and a drop-off at Heathrow airport on another. I'm just sorry that the timing was bad for Peter to hike with me.
Bob M of Cowes introduced me to capsizing while sailing 45 years ago. Now an international sailing judge and race officer, he hosted me during the Cowes yachting season, giving me a close-up experience of race management. He also most kindly presented me with a polo shirt embroidered for my hike, and thoroughly embarrassed me by surprising me with that in front of the entire Royal Corinthian Yacht Club during an awards ceremony. The shirt is shown on my northbound and southbound home pages.
I am grateful to Jill P of http://www.dartmooraccommodation.co.uk for freely offering use of some photographs of the Peter Tavy area, after I lost my own. And I'm even more thankful to Andy P, who pointed me to a program that helped me recover a good many of them and add them to this site later.
Back home in Tampa, Florida, my friends, Merv A, Al K, Enslie S, and Bill K (Jr and Sr) were sources of moral support by email, not to be underestimated when on one's own. I knew I was on the right track when they described my hike as lunacy and, to elaborate because they enjoyed it so, said I needed to get my head examined. I particularly want to thank Enslie and Peg S for their care package of foot spray and Marmite, and other fitting things, when I got back. Gerald R from South Africa, himself a hiker but beyond that a friend for fifty years, also opined about my lunacy, but valiantly phoned me from time to time. His expensive calls were a salve for physical and mental wounds. He also helpfully advised on the journal. He is the Gerald featured on day N32 and elsewhere.
Also back in Tampa, and absolutely first among my supporters, was my beautiful wife and best friend, Jennifer. Jenny not only suffered my long absence but took over nearly all my household and business duties, and uploaded my daily journal to the web, as well as - by teaching a challenging kindergarten class - supporting this project financially. I am also most grateful to my son and daughter-in-law, Andrew and Karen M, whom I treasure more than I have let them know, for generously hosting a wonderful dinner party in my honor when I returned home from the northbound hike, and for magnanimously looking on my adventures as rare achievements by the old codger.
I'm also grateful to my old friend, Alan G of Anaheim Hills, California for commenting on and testing this website as I tried to learn the black art.
I just know that I've overlooked someone, so please contact me to allow me to remedy the omission.
|© 2007 and 2008 Daryl May|
|Hike through Britain with Daryl May|
Overview of both hikes
What others say
In these days of identity theft, I've
tried to keep last names private -
except for those who are already
publicly on the web. And I've also
added last names when people
wrote to say "do so". I apologize
for some inconsistencies.