Walk completed August 28, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Day 2, June 2, 2011 Land's End to Trewellard

The Angel of the Mendips

The Start

The signpost says 874 miles to John O’Groats. The joke around here is that 874 miles is the straight-line distance – a straight line passing through the Irish Sea. Today, I felt as if I walked (or swam) the full 874 miles. The trail passes through excellent coastal scenery, and many historical tin mines. I was not in a mood to enjoy any of that, and was totally wiped out by the time I reached my destination.

There are many possible reasons: jet lag, difficult terrain, age, etc. But the real reason is that my backpack is too heavy. The other conditions may have contributed, but the weight is just too much. The sole reason for my pack being over-weight is the quantity of maps I am carrying.

Directional Sign
 George and Ann are holding the maps for northern England and Scotland, and will deliver them to me when we meet. That accounts for 1/3 of the total maps, and I’m carrying the other 2/3 – 20 maps. When I walked across Ireland, I had a total of 12 maps, and I didn’t have the added weight of a computer. It’s pretty clear that I’m not going to be able to finish this walk carrying all those maps.

Some End to Enders solve the weight problem by having the maps mailed to them at various points along the route. That requires local assistance, which George and Ann can’t presently provide since they are in Utah. Other End to Enders use electronic mapping programs on their I-phones, which requires technical skills that I don’t have. I can mail a few maps ahead and pick them up when I arrive at a destination, but that requires having room reservations farther in advance than I want to do.

Lunch -- Cornish Pasty and Cornish Milk
 Yesterday, Donald Gray, who has been corresponding with me for over a year, sent me an email offering to be my map depository for Southern England. Donald is an avid walker, and lives in the Mendips Hills southern England. He has developed a delightful reputation for unannounced appearances on the trail and walking for a day with other End to Enders. He obviously anticipated my problem, and offered to provide in Southern England what George and Ann are providing in the north.

So tomorrow, I will mail to Donald 10 maps, and will mail six more to a B&B at which I will stay in a few weeks. I’ve already got a plan in place to mail George my used maps. I’m also going to send him the duffel bag which was necessary for checking my gear for the flight over. The total reduction will get me below the maximum I can comfortably carry.

In addition to being a depository for my maps, Donald Gray is also a repository of history of place names in southern England. The origin of place names has long been of interest to me, and I have studied the source of Yosemite place names. Southern England has some wonderful place names, and I’m looking forward to Donald’s explanations when he returns my maps in a few weeks.

If I'm successful in completing this walk, it is because there are many people who will make it possible.  At the conclusion I will acknowledge all of them. For now, though, I want to thank Donald Gray, the Angel of the Mendips.

© 2011 Ken Klug

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