My Rules

To complete this challenge I had to set myself some rules.

I wasn’t a purist, so I didn’t try to keep to every mean high water mark and if I had been I would have needed the attributes of a mountain goat to scramble my way around every cliff and boulder. I also did not have the time to complete the estimated 11,000+ miles over such terrain. Practically the mileage varies from 4,000 – 7,000 depending on routes and rules. John Merrill first completed the challenge in 1978 and in doing so managed a claim of 6,824 miles over ten months. His was a superhuman effort which has only been repeated by a very few remarkable people. However, plenty of other apparently normal people have achieved this challenge and to me their achievements are no less remarkable. I initially estimated my route at just over 5,000 miles.

MY RULES:

  1. In the first instance I used continuous marked national trails which ran alongside or close to the coastline. When unavailable, I used marked byways, paths, roads, sea walls and beaches that I judged as reasonable to reach. In Scotland marked paths were not always obvious but their enlightened approach to trespass law allowed for flexibility when needed.
  2. At estuaries and large water inlets I used some short-hop ferries as long as they were an accepted part of a recognized trail and did not exclude more than 100 miles. (see list below). This cut over 500 miles of mental torture in having to detour a long way inland or unnecessarily pass through major cities – I calculated that one short crossing saved me 82 miles.
  3. Islands were not included – 942 of them seemed a bit much and one big island was more than enough. 
  4. I did not voluntarily back-track. i.e. If the route to a peninsula was only accessible by one road / path needing me to retrace my steps – then I was highly unlikely to go there.
  5. At MOD land I checked permissive routes and only walked around it if refused entry or firing was taking place.
  6. If I was collected by any form of transport at the end of the day, I must return to the exact point of collection or somewhere further back before resuming the walk.
  7. I would measure my true distance covered using enhanced GPS and Ordnance Survey data provided by Viewranger.
  8. I would keep in touch with my family as much as possible!!!!!

Permissible Ferries:

Town

Ferry

Crossing Miles

Saving Miles

Notes

Southampton Hythe Ferry

1.50

10.0

Bournemouth Sandbanks Ferry

0.25

24.0

Teignmouth Teign Ferry

0.25

1.5

Probably not worth it
Dartmouth Dartmouth Ferry

0.25

22.5

8.5 mile saving via alternative Dittisham Ferry
Salcombe East Portlemouth – Salcombe Ferry

0.15

13.5

Plymouth Mount Batten Ferry

0.33

4.0

Might not be worth waiting for
Plymouth Cremyll Ferry

0.66

24.0

9.5 mile saving via alternative Torpoint Ferry
Fowey River Fowey Ferry

0.25

16.0

Falmouth Carrick Road Ferry

2.75

35.0

15.5 mile saving via alternative King Harry Ferry
Padstow River Camel Ferry

0.66

11.5

Liverpool Seacombe / Pier Head Ferry

1.00

40.0

Fleetwood Fleetwood / Knott End Ferry

0.33

13.0

Clyde Gourock / Dunoon Ferry

2.50

82.0

Loch Fyne Portavadie / Tarbert Ferry

3.50

81.0

Loch Linnhe 

 Knoydart

Corran Ferry

Tarbet to Inverie

0.33

7.00

42.0

15.0

To Knoydart  as no safe path around from Tarbet
Durness 

 Cromarty

Cape Wrath to Durness

Cromarty / Nigg Ferry

0.50

1.00

est 8.0

35.0

By arrangement out of seasonEnd May to End Sep only
Tyne Shields Ferry

0.50

6.0

Thames Tilbury / Gravesend Ferry

0.50

50.0

Portsmouth Gosport Ferry

0.33

16.0

Southampton Warsash / Hamble Ferry

0.25

6.0

Note: With the exception of the Cromarty Ferry the other ferries listed run all year round. Other short hop ferries were available but were usually limited to two or three season operation and of little or no use to me. 

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