Dave Byrnes' Adventures

Land's End to John O'Groats - 2010

Overview     Planning     Schedule     Map     Diary     Pictures


I'm going to try and travel quite light, to maximise the enjoyment from hiking.  I know from previous long hikes that my fatigue and injury risk clearly rise in direct proportion to the weight of my pack.  Not surprising, really!  My gear includes

  • CamelBak Vantage 40 litre Hydration Pack with a 3 litre bladder.  Originally bought for multi-day backcountry hike/run, but seemingly large enough for this trek.
  • Marmot Helium EQ 15 Sleeping Bag
  • Tarptent Contrail One-Person Tent


I will have a small Sony AM/FM Walkman Radio (I love listening to the local radio stations, want to be aware of the weather forecasts, and am a current affairs addict) with me along with an iPod Nano with the 750 greatest songs of all time.

Communications Equipment

I plan to carry a mobile (cell) phone as well as my Dell Mini 9 Laptop and a wireless modem.  I will purchase the mobile hone plan and wireless modem when I arrive in the UK.


I plan to begin hiking in late April and to finish in late June.  Apart from fitting with personal commitments in Australia, this time period has the advantage of spring weather and long days.  It should also beat the summer tourist season meaning accommodation may be easier to get when needed.  One disadvantage will be that I arrive in Scotland after the start of the "midge" season, but I'm hoping that will be bearable.

Daily Schedule

I will stick roughly to the schedule used by Andy Robinson which requires an average of 32km per day.  Because of booked return flights to Australia, I can't afford to drift too much behind this schedule.  I know I will need some rest days here and there and will hope to walk a little further some days so as to build up "credit" that can be used for rest days.


I will be carrying a light one-person tent and will hope to use it about 50% of the time to keep costs down.  Many walkers use Bed & Breakfasts as their preferred accommodation and I'm sure I will stay in those some of the time.  There are also hostels along the route which are will offer cheap accommodation and laundry facilities and I intend to use those where available.


I hope to be able to survive without carrying much food at all to keep the weight down.  The planned route will pass through at least one or two stores or pubs each day and I will buy food there.  Cost is also an issue here, so I hope to avoid buying all meals.  For the latter part of the route, which passes through relatively uninhabited highland areas, I may need to stock up with as much as five days of food.  I won't be carrying a stove so will survive on cold meals where necessary.


I also hope to survive without carrying more than a litre or two of water, given that opportunities to resupply should occur several times a day.  I'll be a bit wary of drinking from streams, but it should be OK at higher elevations.  I will carry some water purification tablets just in case.


I will wear shorts and a T-Shirt for hiking and carry some high quality lightweight thermals in case it gets colder.  I will also carry a high-quality lightweight rain-jacket and trousers and a spare pair of shorts and a T-Shirt for "town" use.  I have some lightweight Nike hiking boots, but may switch to running shoes if these prove to be uncomfortable.  I hiked most of the Appalachian Trail years ago in running shoes.


In early February, I badly aggravated a chronic right knee injury that I have tolerated for the last four years, and haven't been able to run of cycle since.  I have, however, been able to walk increasing distances sine the start of March and will be in reasonable shape by the time I start hiking.  However, I anticipate that the first few weeks will be tough as my body adapts to the trail and am mentally prepared for that.  To take the pressure off the bad knee, I plan to hike using trekking poles for the first time in my life (I've always been anti-trekking poles up to now, seeing them as a gimmick.)



Round Ireland

Hume & Hovell Walking Track

Via Alpina

Australian Alps Walking Track

Land's End to John O'Groats

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Round Oz Bike Record Attempt

Australia Tip to Top MTB

Adelaide to Darwin MTB

Sydney to Melbourne MTB

Three Peaks Race

Appalachian Trail

Alpine Track

You can email Dave directly at dave@davebyrnes.com.au or subscribe to his Adventure Blogs here.

You can see Dave's Running Blog here.