I will follow the closest right of way to the coastline. For certain parts of the walk this will be relatively simple with continuous national trails such as the Wales Coast Path & the South West Coast Path. Where these are not available, or they divert inland, I will use marked paths, byways, seawalls, beaches and roads to keep as close to the coast as possible.
In Scotland it will be slightly different, with their right to roam, meaning you can walk almost anywhere. This has both positives and negatives. The negative being that due to the open access there are in fact less actual marked paths, but the obvious positive is that I can walk cross country to keep as close to the coast as possible. Therefore where there is no actual path/road close to the coast, and I deem it safe, I will go cross country to stay close to the coast.
I will include any islands that are linked to the British mainland via a bridge or non- tidal causeway. The biggest two of these are Skye & Anglesey.
Rivers by their very nature always end up at the coast, and these need to be crossed. I will cross over at the first bridge (or in one case tunnel) with foot access. I was a structural engineer specialising in bridges before having to quit due to my mental health issue, so if there is a particularly interesting bridge further upstream I may continue and cross over that instead.
These are a slight annoyance on the walk, as in essence you end up retracing your steps. In general I have included all non-tidal peninsulas in my proposed route.
MOD land |
If any MOD range is active (shooting/bombing red flags everywhere), I will have no choice but to divert around it. Where possible I will try and cross MOD land at weekends as it is less likely to be active.
Originally I had assumed I would not use any ferries. But as I started planning the route I soon realised that certain parts of the country notably the south west still have ferries instead of bridges. These ferries are just incorporated into the transport landscape so there may be no alternative crossing (road/foot bridge) for a significant distance in some cases an inland diversion of over 50 miles. Where there is no feasible alternative, or the alternative includes excessive extension or dual carriageway walking I will use the ferries. I will not use seasonal ferries, and will only use ferries that are a genuine part of the transport landscape and not purely tourist wagons. Below are the list of ferries that I believe I will use, and the reason why:
- Gosport Ferry – Alternative includes dual carriageway, doesn’t follow coast and all within busy city.
- Hythe Ferry – Alternative includes dual carriageway, and goes inland due to oil refinery/container terminal.
- Sandbanks Ferry – Forms part of the SW coast path, and part of the actual transport landscape.
- Kingswear Ferry – Forms part of the SW coast path, alternative is a massive diversion inland.
- East Portlemouth Ferry – Forms part of the SW coast path, no alternative that follows estuary.
- Cremyll Ferry – Forms part of the SW coast path, no alternative that follows estuary, and lots of roads.
- Polruan Ferry – Forms part of the SW coast path, alternative is a massive diversion inland.
- St Mawes/Falmouth Ferry - Forms part of the SW coast path, alternative is a massive diversion inland.
- Mersey Ferry – Alternative includes busy roads, busy city and massive diversion inland.
- Portavadie Ferry – This is the only ferry that goes slightly against my rules, as instead of crossing a river it actually crosses a Loch (Loch Fyne) which technically is part of the sea.
There will be areas where tide dependent I can walk along beaches or along the bottom of cliffs which will enable me to stick as close to the coast as possible. Also at some river crossings there are fords, stepping stones which can be used to cross rivers at low tides. Obviously the tide won’t always be on my side so route will adapt slightly depending on the tide and certain days I may set of early or late to try and maximise low tide if it is critical to a specific day.