14 March, 2017

Invitation to the late summer Holiday Weekend

All members and their guests are warmly invited to join us for our annual social weekend. This year we are off to Oxfordshire for the weekend of Thursday 21st to Sunday 24th September 2017. The Hotel is the Oxford Witney Four Pillars Hotel, Ducklington Lane, Witney.

Attractions near Witney include The Blanket Hall, the Oxford Bus and Morris Motors Museum, and Blenheim Palace in Woodstock. In Oxford itself there is Magdalen College, Christ Church, Oxford Cathedral (the film set for Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films), the Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archeology, the University Museum of Natural History, and Christ Church Meadow for walks by the Thames. West of Oxford, you can explore the Cotswold villages, Burford, and Bourton-on-the-Water for the microbrewery. The atmospheric 15th century ruins of Minster Lovell Hall and Dovecote are by the idyllic River Windrush (pictured below).

Our special rate for a standard room for two people sharing is £114 per room, per night, for dinner, bed & breakfast. The single supplement is £45 per night, making the single rate £102. Therefore, for the three nights, the cost is £342 for a double, and £306 for single guests.

Please email our Social Secretary Eldon Mackridge and indicate your interest in coming, so he can arrange the numbers with the hotel.
Email: eldongladys[at]btinternet.com

13 March, 2017

Quo Vadis? Issue 92

The Spring Edition has just gone to print! The beautiful cover photo is of Hadrian's Wall, by Richard Owen. You can read the blog of his 2012 along the Wall here, and the blog of his 2016 End-to-End cycle here. Happy Reading, fellow travellers.

Association News, Issue 92

Greetings to all readers and a warm welcome to the nine new members who have joined the Association since our last issue. As usual, the spring QV? is a bumper edition, with all the news of our Presentation Dinner in Torquay, the proud trophy recipients, and articles about eight End-to-End trips.

The weekend in Torquay was a great success, with ten of our fourteen awardees present, which was lovely. The Association AGM was well-attended, and I can announce some changes to the Committee: Jack Adams and Cliff Harrison both stepped down after many years of service to the Association. We will have tributes to them in the Summer Issue, in thanks for all they have contributed. We welcome on board our new IT Team Karen Bower and Ian Holmes, who will be managing our website and social media. Eldon Mackridge has taken over from Jack Adams as the new Social Secretary.

We also welcome Patrick Jordan to the Committee, and our honorary chaplain, Revd David King. I will include an introduction to these members in the Summer edition, but in the meantime, we welcome them and thank them for the benefit they bring to the Association.

Looking ahead, I’ve let the Committee know that I’ll be stepping down as editor of QV? after the Winter 2018 edition. We are looking for a new editor to job-shadow starting from Spring 2018, so if you would like to take on the position, please be in touch with us!

The late summer holiday weekend will be 21st – 24th September in Oxfordshire, and as you will see from the invitation, there are a host of things to see and do in the area. I encourage you to let Eldon know if you are planning to attend; I am sure it will be a lovely time for all who can make it. The 2018 Presentation weekend at the Tooraq Hotel in Torquay is booked for the same dates as usual: the last weekend in January. The AGM and Presentation evening will be Saturday 27th January 2018. Our Chairman Brian Dawson writes: Please put it in your diaries!
Thank you to Kathryn Hough, who kindly wrote up an account of the latest Presentation Weekend and took the photos of our recipients. The indomitable Mr Neville Tetley also wrote me a letter of appreciation to everyone for the enjoyable time he had.

The first End-to-End trip is from Kevin Clements, who began at a run and ended on a bicycle; what a story of determination to finish the journey, no matter how the challenge unfolds! Shanks Pony Trophy recipient Patrick McGuinness also faced injuries on his trip, necessitating a hospital stop, bandaging and painkillers for a broken toe!

The next article is from walker Susan Liechti, winner of the Committee Cup, who wrote (not in her first language, but so beautifully-expressed!) about her amazingly-long trip from Zurich. She is already on another expedition this year and as I write, is near Rugby. You can follow her progress and thoughts at swissalpinesnail.com.

Richard Owen (awarded the Chambers/Hume-Spry Cup) cycled in June last year, and wrote an honest, heartfelt account of his solo trip, which you will enjoy reading. 

Paul Ucheck sent me the tale of his barefoot walk, and I was also lucky enough to meet Paul in person when he was in Cape Town last November, visiting his daughter. Paul is planning another long walk this year, also in aid of cancer, for the charity Cancervive. He will be walking barefoot from Durban to Johannesburg starting on 1st August, and I will keep you up to date on this adventure. 

Katharine and Paul, November 2016

Nicky Watling sent me a great read about the JoGLE tandem cycle trip she and her husband Gary made. I’ve included the first half of her account, and you can look forward to the rest in the Summer Issue. Hats off also to Louise George who wrote a lovely article of her family’s train and bus trip. Many of you will have met the Georges at the Presentation Weekend, as their daughter Sophie now holds the record for the youngest person to travel End-to-End; she was only two at the time.

We end off this issue with a ‘vintage’ account of a walk undertaken by Bob Carter in 1976, and some suitably orange-tinted photographs of his journey. Bob plans to walk again this year, and the intended fast pace he is planning has me crossing fingers for an injury-free expedition. All of the best!

The deadlines for QV? submissions will remain the same each year, and they are –
Spring Edition: 30th January for End-to-End articles, and 15th February for other submissions.
Summer Edition: 8th June.
Winter Edition: 30th September.

Our Association welcomes and includes all members equally and doesn’t view one method of travel above any other. Our adventures, journeys, and efforts to raise funds for charities, or raise awareness of issues close to our hearts, are all meritorious and worthy of support. Our newest Committee member Patrick Jordan has proposed that in an effort to attract and retain more members, particularly those using motorized transport, we consider offering a range of certified challenges in addition to the End-to-End. To be clear, no one is suggesting we change our core requirement for membership – we remain the Land’s End - John o’ Groats Association – but that members who complete additional challenges, such as LEJoG plus the four extreme points of mainland Britain, for example, be awarded a certificate for this journey, once verified.

Patrick has written a thoughtful proposal here. Please read through it, and post a comment with your opinion so we can hear what our membership thinks of this idea. Patrick has covered all aspects including route advice, financial issues, verification, and promotion. He has volunteered to promote the additional challenges, if adopted, within the long-distance riding and driving communities, and is happy to write to walking and cycling websites and magazines. I look forward to a lively debate on the idea. Please share your thoughts!

As always, I would be delighted to hear from you with your news, stories and photographs of End-to-End trips, whether upcoming or completed, and any other travel articles you’d like to share with our members. Please be in touch!

12 March, 2017

Tooraq Weekend 2017

by Kathryn Hough

It really didn’t seem a year since the last AGM weekend. The last weekend in January is now firmly fixed in my diary. Once more, I am sure I held the record for the shortest journey, having spent the day working in Newton Abbot.

In no time at all I was parking at the Toorak (in the same space as last year, realising the advantages of small cars!) and found my name badge at reception and then my room. I passed Chris and Anne Hatton in the corridor – they’d been here since Wednesday on South West Coast Path Association business. Soon, forgoing the temptation of the voucher for the “bargain” drink in the bar, I was off for a run in the rain (training for London Marathon again) to the far end of Paignton and back. Sad to say, I initially mistakenly thought the television in my room was broken – however, fortunately managed to work out which button to press before being reduced to phoning reception. I caught the local weather forecast promising better weather on Saturday. After that, it was the first social event of the weekend with dinner. The first problem was finding the right table as we were moved from our usual tables in the raised area of the dining room.

I’m sure it was the same menu as last year. However, it was good to catch up with some members I’d met before. Before long a new member, Tom Clancy, joined us followed by Jill Woodman. At that stage there was only one topic of conversation as we’d all walked the route and all taken scenic footpaths. Jill completed LEJoG on 7 June 2016 which was when Tom started JoGLE. However, they never met, as Tom set off in the morning down the A9 and Jill arrived in the afternoon on the A386. Suffice it to say, all our routes were different, as were our planning and accommodation strategies. My account is in QV? Spring 2014, Jill’s is in QV? Winter 2016 and I’m sure Tom’s will appear soon. With the arrival of Chris Hatton and then Brian Dawson, we were soon all outdoing each other with tales of distances walked, snow and wind, bottomless bogs and overnight highlights and disasters.

Brian confirmed that indeed I was entrusted with the role of recording the weekend for posterity – both photos of the presentation and written highlights. He proceeded to exert his authority as chairman, telling us that the AGM would be at 10am which meant we should be there by 9:55 at the latest. I also discovered to my relief that the excellent new trophy engraver had polished the silverware, so there was no need for the polish I had packed in anticipation.

The next morning, we were all present in good time for breakfast. I was privileged to talk again with our President Roy Walker (2:26 marathon – that is VERY fast!). His LEJoG included walking all round London and so was almost as far as my circuitous 1395 miles, but at times he had been accompanied by thousands of other walkers. The story of the police demanding that 900 walkers should be in single file on the footpath is certainly worth hearing!

By 10am we were all assembled for the first formal business of the weekend – the 34th AGM. Fortunately there’s a proper minute taker – Meriel Shotton, so I don’t need to cover the formal business. I’m sure she won’t mention that Mr “Teabags” Tetley informed us that he was at his 35th annual meeting at Toorak. I thought he must have been on his own that year but then Geoff De’Ath said it was his 35th time too.

After the interlude, it was my second Committee Meeting. By 12:15 even the committee members were free, until 4pm when we needed to meet to gather the trophies.

Cockington Court (just down the road from the hotel). Photograph sent by Don and Margaret Cannon.
I’m not sure what everybody else did. The weather, as forecast, was much better than on Friday so I ran along the coast path to Brixham. After Goodrington there are some very muddy bits but I had learned my lesson from last year, and was wearing trail trainers. I didn’t meet any other runners on those parts but there were several walkers and dogs. There was one very brief but heavy shower including hail but then the weather improved again. Having taken nearly ninety minutes to reach Brixham with all the slow bits with steps, I decided to head back to Torquay on the road. Without a map, I took a turn off the main road though and it must have increased my distance as it took nearly as long to get back on roads as to get there on trails.

I arrived at the trophy cupboard to find Mr Teabags clutching at least three trophies and further trophies being handed down from the cupboard. He was certainly on form and I confirmed later that there had been no chance of him escaping from his “carers” in Torquay. Having escaped from them last year in Poundland (the biggest Poundland ever seen!) this time they had kept him sandwiched with one ahead and one behind.

The trophies gathered together on the presentation table looked magnificent and Brian insisted on a photograph of them all. Rarely has there been such a bumper year with so many extraordinary completions.

The high spot of the weekend had arrived – the Presentation Dinner. We assembled from 6.30pm in the bar then took our places on the numbered tables of the adjacent Arlington Suite – yes it was officially numbered tables for this Formal meal. Unfortunately despite an air of expectation Mrs. Trellis did not turn up… again (see QV? Winter 2016, page 58). Grace was said by Reverend David King (newly appointed honorary chaplain and last year’s winner of the Charlie Hankins Memorial Trophy) and we tucked in to the dinner, enjoying multiple conversations with friends old and new.

Reverend David King
Eventually the Chairman decided that it was time for the climax of the evening – the presentation of trophies. Following the successes of 2015 and 2016, Route Adviser Chris Hatton interviewed the winners as they came up for their awards.

First the “absent” winners were announced:

Shanks Pony Trophy – Patrick McGuinness – JoGLE in 42 days covering 1,124 miles and raising over £2500 for Macmillan and Amy’s Retreat (helping families who have children with cancer).

The Committee Cup - Susan Liecht from Zurich walked 1695 miles from Zurich to John O’Groats and thinks that the British countryside is better than Switzerland's!

Chase Korte Trophy – Paul Ucheck from South Africa who raised £3500 for Cancer Research UK with a barefoot walk.

Charlie Hankins Memorial Trophy – Chris Harrington who has impaired sight and walked 1150 miles completing LEJoG. (Apologies, no photo yet received!)

The first cup actually presented was the Alex Dick Jubilee Cup (Alex Dick was a competitor in the "Billy Butlin Walk”) to Jill Woodman from Leeds who walked LEJoG. She confidently booked eighty six nights’ accommodation before setting off and managed to stick to the schedule. She raised money for Parkinson’s UK as her mother has it. Fittingly she was welcomed at John O’Groats by her mother and sister who had prepared an enormous banner “Well Done Jill”.

The second award was the Jack Adams/Richard Elloway Trophy awarded to the youngest person to complete the journey by whatever means other than as a passenger in a motor vehicle during the preceding year. This was to Sophie George who was two years old at the time of the journey. Her sister Jessica was four years old. The family travelled by bus and train taking three days and raising money for Little Hearts Matter.

The Alroyd Lees Trophy to the oldest motorist (age verification required and apparently it was a closely fought contest) went to Steve Gibbs for his full circle of around 2,600 miles from the centre of mainland England and taking in the four cardinal points of mainland UK as well as Land’s End and John O’Groats. Incidentally he also went to Orkney! The epic expedition was completed driving a Bajaj tuk-tuk – a genuine three wheeler with engine only 198cc.

Patrick Jordan was next under the spotlight winning the Tourco Trophy riding a British motor cycle on his eighth LEJoG. He didn’t get lost but he did get stuck behind caravans in Wales and also had some panics about running out of petrol.

Richard Owen won the Chambers/Hume-Spry Cup for an unsupported cycle ride. He covered 921 miles over eight days managing with virtually no luggage. He raised in excess of £2000 for three charities – Help for Heroes, Hope House Children’s Hospices and the Kenyan Schools Project, all in memory of his father.

Ian Holmes won the David Webb Commemorative Trophy awarded to a cyclist or cyclists who have, in the opinion of the committee, achieved the most meritorious journey, taking into account health and disability issues. He cycled for seven days covering a daily average of over 129 miles and one mammoth day of 164 miles. He was supported by his son David who also attended the presentation. He raised £1500 for Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire Air Ambulance.

Darren Bailey won the Brenroy Trophy awarded to the cyclist/s who raise the greatest amount of money for charity that does not qualify for the Griffin Trophy. He raised over £2,600 for Macmillan, travelling independently with fifty six hours in the saddle over nine days. He couldn’t take any longer as his wife was pregnant and he didn’t want to miss the birth. His wife and baby were also at the presentation.

David Mulligan won the Mabel McCracken Mug awarded for the most entertaining account of or about or relating to a journey successfully completed by any means and in either or both directions at any time during three years immediately preceding the presentation of the award. This was for a solo walk over forty days in June-July 2016. His account is in Winter 2016 QV? and certainly worthy of a thorough read. At the presentation he explained that he had got lost once – in Worcester. He has managed to raise around £8,300 so far for Blind Children UK, of which more news to follow.

Tom Clancy was the recipient of the Joan Cave Trophy having walked JoGLE including the highest peaks in Scotland, England and Wales. He took an interesting route in the south – reaching the coast at Lyme Regis and heading west along the south coast rather than the walk along the North Devon and Cornwall coasts which most footpath walkers seem to favour. Tom raised money for three mental health charities.

The Griffin Trophy which is the most prestigious trophy and awarded to the person who raises the most money was won by David Mulligan, deservedly being called up to the Presentation Table for the second time.

Following this came the award of certificates to others who have completed the journey in the past year: The George Family – Michael, Louise, Jessica and Sophie – Journey by bus and train.

Maria King – Journey by car on a 1,936 mile round trip.

Gary and Nicky Watling on a tandem with Colin Bottomley driving their support vehicle. We heard that Gary was on the front and Nicky behind. A highlight for Nicky was a stag in the road in Scotland while Gary told us about overcoming his vertigo crossing the Severn Bridge.

Further specific awards followed – Julie for the smiliest face; Jack Adams leaving the committee after 18 years and Cliff Harrison leaving the committee after many years. Cliff made the clocks which were presented and one was auctioned last year. Theresa Adams and Brenda Walker were both presented with bouquets.

There followed the raffle (almost forgotten by Mr Dawson). All evening Theresa Adams and Val Becket had been beavering away selling lots of raffle tickets. With such a vast array of prizes, the winning numbers had been drawn and stuck on to prizes by them during the evening – so everyone who won a prize had to take it. Otherwise, we would have still been there at breakfast time.

Gradually we all drifted away and the extremely successful and sociable evening came to a close. Next morning most people were up for breakfast just after 8am – a repeat of Saturday morning but with a difference. Somehow a disaster had happened and Kevin Clements completion had not been recognised at the Presentation Evening. His presentation was made belatedly by Brian Dawson at breakfast. Kevin had an amazing story to tell. He had planned and trained to run JoGLE to raise funds for Weston Hospice Care in memory of Sheila Baker who had been a founder of his running club Burnham Harriers.

Unfortunately he sustained a stress fracture when near Perth and was told by the hospital doctors that he could not continue. However he decided to cycle the rest of the way using the bicycle that one of his two man support team had been riding. This was really an end to end to be proud of to complete it in the face of such adversity. A real tribute to Kevin; Sheila would surely have been delighted if only she could know. Kevin isn’t daunted by it and says he has learnt from what went wrong and intends to have another attempt to complete the whole distance as a run.

Following this there was the usual opportunity to buy ties, mugs and sweatshirts etc. – Russell George as treasurer assisted by Steve Gibbs were ably running the shop.

Time to say good bye – but the venue is already booked for next year, when all the trophies will be presented again to those who complete the LEJoG challenge in a way which is worthy of extra special recognition.

Those attending the presentation dinner on Saturday evening:

Jack Adams and Theresa Adams
Rob Willis and Val Beckett
Cliff Harrison and Anne Harrison
Susan Fernee
Don Dyer and Jean Dyer
Geoff De’Ath and Anne De’Ath
Eddie Sedgemore and Sarah Evans
Don Cannon and Margaret Cannon
Eldon Mackridge and Gladys Mackridge
Brian Dawson and Pat Dawson
Rev David King and Maria King
Roy Walker and Brenda Walker
Neville Tetley
Jed Cooke and Liz Bowen
Colin Jones and Julie Jones
Russell George
Tony Bagley and Kath Bagley
Steve Gibbs
Chris Hatton and Ann Hatton
Kathryn Hough
Meriel Shotton
Derek Bootyman and Janet Bootyman
David Mulligan and Trish Mulligan
Keith Ogley
Cindy Lewis
Patrick Jordan
Richard Owen
Emma Jones
Ashley Harwood
Jodie Angel
Ryan Jeffs
Clair Cox and Paul Cox
Steve Athawes and Lyne Athawes
Richard Popplewell
Ann Golch
Ian Holmes
David Holmes
Jill Woodman
Michael George and Louise George
Jessica George
Sophie George
Darren Bailey and Danielle Bailey
Harry Bailey
Tom Clancy
Gary Watling and Nicky Watling
Kevin Clements and Lorraine Clements
Colin Bottomley

Late afternoon on Friday, overlooking the bay. Photograph sent by Don and Margaret Cannon

11 March, 2017

Letter to the Editor

2nd February, 2017

Dear Katharine,

Once again I thoroughly enjoyed the weekend at the 2017 AGM at the Toorak, as did my “carers”, Liz and Jem. Having attended some 35 of these events this weekend was the best in spite of the usual jibes, barracking and leg pulling that I have to put up with on occasions like this from certain long established members who enjoy using me as their butt of humour.

It is all part of the memorable weekend and many thanks to the committee and hotel staff who made everything possible. My “carers” and I are looking forward to many more. DEO VOLENTE.

Yours as ever,
Teabags (Neville Tetley. No.295)

07 March, 2017

Proposed Additional Certified Challenges

Proposal to the Land’s End – John o’ Groats Association Committee

Patrick Jordan
1 Feb 2017

This document outlines a proposal for offering a range of certified challenges in addition to the End-to-End. I am proposing this because I think it will enhance members’ enjoyment of the Association, particularly those using motorized transport, and help us to recruit and retain more members across all categories.

The new challenges would be in two categories:

  • End-to-End Plus: these would involve doing the ‘standard’ End-to-End but with additional challenges on top.
  • UK Country Challenges: these would involve doing something less than the End-to-End, within the individual countries of the UK.

See appendix for a list of suggested challenges.

There are two main reasons why I think this may be attractive to members and potential members:

  • For those who do the trip by motorized transport (a group under-represented in the Association in terms of numbers of members), it is possible to do many trips over the course of a life time and it would be interesting to have other challenges to do in addition to the ‘standard’ End-to-End.
  • Those who travel on foot or cycle may not have time to do a full End-to-End, especially when they are of working age – having some shorter options may be attractive to them.

From the point of view of the association the potential benefits are as follows:

  • Increased membership. I think we would attract more members this way. Within the long distance driving and (particularly) riding communities there is a strong appetite for completing certified challenges and having a range of these will be attractive. For walkers and cyclists the shorter challenges will set the bar lower in terms of doing a challenge recognized by the association.
  • Improved member retention. Many people join the club in order to gain their End-to-End certificate and leave the following year. If there were a range of further challenges to do, they may continue to do them year on year and therefore retain membership. Again, this applies particularly to those using motorized transport.
  • Wider age-spread. Because the shorter challenges make it more likely that people of working age will be able to complete one on foot or by bicycle we may get a wider age-spread of members.

If we offer additional challenges it is important that they do not ‘dilute’ the integrity or standards of the Association. I propose that only those who have completed a full End-to-End are admitted to Full Membership. Those completing the shorter challenges would only be entitled to Associate Membership.

As now, if a Member has completed a trip in a particular year, they would be entitled to a certificate on paying that year’s membership fee. However, if they had done more than one journey that year the additional certificates would be charged for (for example £ 10 per challenge completed). Similarly Associates paying their annual fee would be entitled to one free certificate and would pay for additional ones.

I could take to the lead in promoting these challenges, and the Association generally, within the long-distance riding community where I have extensive contacts and also within the long-distance driving community. I would also be happy to write press releases for distribution to walking and cycling websites and magazines.

I could take the lead in suggesting places where those doing the trips by motorized transport should get receipts, stamps or signatures to show that they have completed a particular challenge. Largely, though this would be left to the initiative of the person doing the challenge and the onus would be on them to collect sufficient evidence that they had completed it. The same applies to people doing the routes by other means.

If a substantial number of people undertake these new routes it could potentially create a significant amount of work in terms of verification. In this eventuality the committee may decide to appoint a dedicated ‘Verification Officer’.

These routes could also create an additional demand for route advice and we do not have route packs for them. Whether or not we offer informal advice for these routes would be at the discretion of the Route Advisor.


End-to-End Plus
  • 6 Points of Great Britain – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of mainland GB.
  • 6 Points of United Kingdom – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of mainland UK (I assume the most West would be in Northern Ireland)
  • 14 Points of Great Britain – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of England, Scotland and Wales
  • 18 Points of United Kingdom – LE and JoG, plus the most north, south, east and west points of mainland England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland
  • Multiple trips awards – for example, awards for 5 End-to-Ends, 10 End-to-Ends, 15 End-to-Ends etc.
This list could be increased by also adding mid-points etc.
UK Challenges
  • England End to End – Land’s End to Marshall Meadows Bay
  • Scotland End to End – Mull of Galloway to John O’Groats
  • Wales End to End – Barry Island to Bull Bay
  • Ireland End to End – Crookhaven to Fair Head
  • Northern Ireland End to End – Belcoo to Fair Head* (*This is probably too short to be a challenge for motorized transport)

In each case, these are what I am guessing are the furthest two points apart accessible by public road based on looking at a road atlas and doing some internet research. Please can someone correct these if they are not right and you know the correct points?

  • Four Points of England – Marshall Meadows Bay, Lowestoft Ness, Lizard Point, Sennan Cove
  • Four Points of Scotland – Dunnet Head, Peterhead, Mull of Galloway, Ardnamurchan Point)
  • Four Points of Wales – Point of Ayr, Chepstow, Rhoose, Treginnis
  • Four Points of Ireland – Malin Head, Burr Point, Crookhaven, Dunquin
  • Four Points of Northern Ireland – Ballintoy, Burr Point, Cranfield Point, Belleek

Again, these are what I think are the four extreme most points that are reachable by public roads and I would be grateful if someone would correct the ones that are wrong.

This list could be extended by adding six-point challenges, midpoints etc.