The End to End Trail


The End to End Trail

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Offa's Dyke Castles Alternative


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The End to End Trail is a 2000 km (1200 mile) off-road walking route from Land's End at the tip of Cornwall to John O'Groats at the tip of Caithness in the north of Scotland.

The route is an unofficial one, so it isn't waymarked on the ground all the way, although it follows parts of a number of shorter waymarked routes. To follow the whole End to End Trail route you will need a copy of my book "The End to End Trail: Land's End to John O'Groats on Foot", published by
Cicerone Press in March of 2007.

The route of the Trail follows what I thought was the best walking route, and it seeks out hills and wild country where practical, rather than cultivated farmland.

Section 1: Land's End to Barnstaple (Devon)

The first section follows the spectacular northwest coast of Cornwall and Devon all the way. Most of it is on the South West Coast Path, which is a waymarked National Trail.

Section 2: Barnstaple to Knighton (Welsh borders)

The route leaves the coast at Barnstaple and crosses Exmoor, the Quantocks and the Mendips to skirt Bristol and reach the M42 bridge over the Severn Estuary.  Across the bridge it picks up the Offa's Dyke Path, another waymarked National Trail, and follows it up the Wye valley and over the Black Mountains to Knighton, halfway up the Offa's Dyke Path.

Section 3: Knighton to Hebden Bridge (West Yorkshire)

From Knighton the Trail heads northeast through the Shropshire hills to cross the Severn again at Ironbridge. It then continues in a more easterly direction into Staffordshire, joining the Staffordshire Way and following it across Cannock Chase and north towards the Peak District. It crosses the Peak along limestone valleys and gritstones edges on the line of the Alternative Pennine Way, to reach Hebden Bridge in the Calder Valley.

Section 4: Hebden Bridge to Jedburgh (Scottish borders)

Just north of Hebden Bridge the Trail joins the Pennine Way, following it as far as the Scottish border in the Cheviot Hills. It then makes a beeline for Jedburgh, following Dere Street, a Roman road.

Section 5: Jedburgh to Fort William

The route crosses the Southern Uplands via Melrose, Peebles and West Linton to join the Union Canal west of Edinburgh.  It follows the Union Canal to Falkirk, then the Forth and Clyde Canal most of the way to Glasgow, leaving it for a disused railway track which is eventually joined by the West Highland Way.  The Trail now follows the West Highland Way along Loch Lomond, along the edge of Rannoch Moor, and past the foot of Ben Nevis to reach Fort William.

Section 6: Fort William to John O'Groats

Initially this stage follows the Caledonian Canal to the northeast along the Great Glen, before cutting north into wilder areas of the Highlands. The route visits Glen Garry, Strath Cluanie, the head of Glen Affric, the tremendous Falls of Glomach and Kinlochewe, to reach the head of Loch Broom on the west coast. From here the direction changes to northeast, crossing wild and remote country to Oykel Bridge, round the northwest end of Loch Shin, then out of the mountians to the lower moorland around the Helmsdale and Thurso valleys.  The last few miles follow the cliffs of the east coast to Duncansby Head and John O'Groats.

Page last updated 26 August 2008