Click here for a sneak preview of the 5th edition of my book The Walker’s Handbook; Everything you Need to Know about Walking in the British Isles to be published in May 2015.
The Cicerone End to End to Trail describes an off road route from the end of the Choire Lodge access track to John O Groats if you go that way. If you're lucky you may get a preview of p390-99 at Google Books. I've heard from someone thats tried it thats its anything but easy going though (bogs, blocked forest paths, downed bridges etc).
Also of interest may be the Ca na Catanach, the old drove road between Kinbrace and Dorrerry, from where you can cut across to the north coast and follow this to John o Goats. Again this is described as challenging with rivers, deer fences and bogs to cross.
I haven't tried either of these myself, I just gritted my teeth and kept to the roads.
Too late for you now, but just for reference, there's an easy route from the PW to the WHW mostly on waymarked trails, St Cuthberts Way to Melrose, Southern Uplands Way to Traquir, short way on road or over the hills to Peebles, John Buchan Way to Broughton, a signposted RoW and tracks to Lamington, over Tinto to the Falls of Clyde, then the Clyde Walkway (finally complete)and Kelvin Walkway to Milngavie. The centre of Glasgow may be avoided by cutting across to a level crossing just north of Coatbridge (NS722673) from which an old railway may be easily followed to (annoyingly) a mile before the WHW joins the railway south of Drymen. Theres's a parallel track for this short stretch though.
Interesting point about the lack of paths in farmland, Hugh. I think Cathy has got it right. Paths possibly didn't evolve the same way up here as they did down south. Paths follow the line of least resistance, and they probably became roads up here. There wouldn't have been the same amount of cultivated land, as modern techiques were needed to make much of the land suitable for growing crops.
You don't need a map to cross a field.
I'm sure you've already thought of it, but you could follow the great glen way for the first part (Fort William- Inverness).
Whatever you do I hope you enjoy yourself and have a grand finish to your walk.
cathyjc wrote (see)
Hugh I may be teaching you 'how to suck eggs' here, please ignore this if I am !! I have just found this web site - www.heritagepaths.co.uk and wondered if it would help for your route to John O' Groat's? It might be of interest to other Scottish walkers too. I have no idea how well know this site is.
Its the site I linked to for the description of the Ca Ca Catanach, Ca Ca.. Cathy.
I agree with Hugh about difficulty of planning a LEJOG route in Scotland. Its not only the lack of numbers of viable routes, its the dispersed nature of the information that is available, even on the web.
For instance I've just found that 1 of the 2 "gaps" in the route I described above between the PW and the WHW is actually filled - there are 3 supposedly waymarked "Tweed Trails" between Traquair and Peebles, one along the Tweed via a forest track and the old railway and two over the hills. But I only found these by accident on a horse riding website! (Although the pdf leaflets describe the routes as being suitable for walker, cyclists and riders).
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