From John O'Groats to Land's End eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,027 pages of information about From John O'Groats to Land's End.

It was a big undertaking, especially as we had resolved not to journey by the shortest route, but to walk from one great object of interest to another, and to see and learn as much as possible of the country we passed through on our way.  We were to walk the whole of the distance between the north-eastern extremity of Scotland and the south-western extremity of England, and not to cross a ferry or accept or take a ride in any kind of conveyance whatever.  We were also to abstain from all intoxicating drink, not to smoke cigars or tobacco, and to walk so that at the end of the journey we should have maintained an average of twenty-five miles per day, except Sunday, on which day we were to attend two religious services, as followers of and believers in Sir Matthew Hale’s Golden Maxim: 

  A Sabbath well spent brings a week of content
    And Health for the toils of to-morrow;
  But a Sabbath profaned, whate’er may be gained.
    Is a certain forerunner of Sorrow.

With the experience gained in our walk the previous year, we decided to reduce our equipment to the lowest possible limit, as every ounce had to be carried personally, and it became a question not of how much luggage we should take, but of how little; even maps were voted off as encumbrances, and in place of these we resolved to rely upon our own judgment, and the result of local inquiries, as we travelled from one great object of interest to another, but as these were often widely apart, as might be supposed, our route developed into one of a somewhat haphazard and zigzag character, and very far from the straight line.

We each purchased a strong, black leather handbag, which could either be carried by hand or suspended over the shoulder at the end of a stick, and in these we packed our personal and general luggage; in addition we carried a set of overalls, including leggings, and armed ourselves with stout oaken sticks, or cudgels, specially selected by our local fencing master.  They were heavily ferruled by the village blacksmith, for, although we were men of peace, we thought it advisable to provide against what were known as single-stick encounters, which were then by no means uncommon, and as curved handles would have been unsuitable in the event of our having to use them either for defensive or offensive purposes, ours were selected with naturally formed knobs at the upper end.

Then there were our boots, which of course were a matter of the first importance, as they had to stand the strain and wear and tear of a long journey, and must be easy fitting and comfortable, with thick soles to protect our feet from the loose stones which were so plentiful on the roads, and made so that they could be laced tightly to keep out the water either when raining or when lying in pools on the roads, for there were no steam-rollers on the roads in those days.

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From John O'Groats to Land's End from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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