The Bottom Half 2022

This started as an attempt to walk from Eastbourne to Land’s End to John O Groats in a National Trail crushing extravaganza but our legs and feet made it abundantly clear that they didn’t consent to any of this and injury forced us to abandon the hike in Prestatyn.

Still, 1114 miles and three National Trails back to back is pretty good going and if we ever stop walking like we’ve shat ourselves then maybe we’ll come back and finish it off.



BUDGET
(For one human, based on two sharing)

Days: 90
Accommodation: £909.28
Groceries: £829.57
Eating out: £570.84
Booze: £321.63
Tea, coffee, soft drinks: £138.54
Ferries, buses & trains: £136.76
Everything else: £262.07

Grand Total: £3168.49
Daily Average: £35.21


The Stories

Lands End To John O Groats… PLUS

On account of the fact the world went to shit and no one really knew if or when international travel will return to some manner of normal, we scrapped all plans to lounge on a beach somewhere beautiful and hot…

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Day 1 – Eastbourne to Firle(ish)

We’d decided to start our trip with the South Downs Way as it’s our local trail and we’ve wanted to do the whole thing for ages. We also decided to start with the Beachy Head loop on account of it…

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Day 2 – Firle(ish) to Pyecombe

I didn’t sleep well at all last night. We were pitched on a slight slope and my mat is slightly slippy and my sleeping bag is slightly slippy which meant I frequently woke up crumpled at the bottom of the…

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Day 3 – Pyecombe to Storrington

I don’t think I’ve ever woken up in a church on Good Friday before. I’m surprised a godless heathen like myself didn’t burn up as soon as I laid out my sleeping bag. I slept so bloody well though, probably…

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Day 4 – Storrington to Didling Hill

We’ve been dragging our unwilling carcasses out of bed at some ludicrously early hours, not out of any burning desire to watch the new day dawn but that’s a happy side effect. We get up early because we’re not meant…

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Day 7 – Rest Day, Winchester

In an uncharacteristic show of restraint we didn’t try and cram everything in Winchester into our eyeholes in one day like the massive tourists we are. Instead we decided to be selective, and allow time for other things such as…

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Day 8 – Winchester to Southampton

Tarrant has been having problems with her feet resulting in her walking like she’d shat herself. Her Merrells started disintegrating around mile 60, and they’ve completely compressed so she has no cushioning at all which she’s very much not used…

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Day 9 – Southampton to The New Forest

Our original plan for this section was to follow the Solent Way to the coast then just follow the sea all the way into Bournemouth which sounds super lovely and idyllic but you know what? We’re going to have 630…

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Day 10 – The New Forest to Bournemouth

I slept so well last night in the woods, it’s always a little bit warmer and a little bit darker, and I feel more out of sight therefore a bit safer. Obviously there are potential perils such as a badger…

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Day 11 – Bournemouth to Dancing Ledge

Well I 100% didn’t need all that alcohol I drank last night, and I definitely felt like I had more than four drinks. This was possibly the reason it took so bloody long to get going today despite the fact…

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Day 12 – Dancing Ledge to West Lulworth

TLDR…Eyeholes: “Oh my fucking god will you JUST LOOK AT THAT VIEW?! I can’t even <3”Camera: “Meh. S’alright.”Brain: “WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING SO CLOSE TO THE EDGE ARE YOU INSANE?! That’s it. Sit down. You’re not going anywhere.”…

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Day 13 – Rest Day, West Lulworth

I’m so glad we decided to take today off. Not only are my poor, battered legs a bit stiff today but my arms are bloody killing me, probably from where I was using my poles to drag my unwilling carcass…

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Day 14 – West Lulworth to Osmington

Our plan today was to camp before Weymouth which would mean a super short day of ten miles or so. We didn’t really want to go further as that would commit us to going through the town then all the…

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Day 17 – West Bexington to Lyme Regis

When we camped on the cliffs at Osmington my brain took that lovely sound of the waves below crashing on the rocks and decided we were sleeping next to a motorway. Thanks, brain. Last night brain figured out we were…

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Day 19 – Branscombe Beach to Exmouth

I think my poor diet has finally caught up with me, you could pebble dash a wall with my arse this morning. Walking on a shingle beach is hard enough without having to do so whilst clenching, and I didn’t…

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Day 20 – Exmouth to Maidencombe

We woke up to drizzle. It wasn’t meant to be drizzling but here we were. Tarrant said I’d angered the weather gods because I said yesterday’s rain felt like they couldn’t be arsed. It’s not my fault the weather gods…

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Day 21 – Maidencombe to Torquay

Acceptably slopey is the new flat but you’ll still end up crumpled at the bottom of the tent, waking up every hour to claw your way back up your mat. I didn’t sleep too well last night, neither of us…

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Day 22 – Rest Day, Torquay

I adore camping, I really do, but I also love waking up in a nice, comfy bed. It’s also fucking lovely having a lie in because you don’t have to set an alarm on account of the fact you’re not…

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Day 23 – Torquay to Woodhuish

It’s always a nice, chilled start when we wake up somewhere we’re allowed to be and there was no risk of an angry local showing up and tearing strips off us. It was gone 8am when we finally shuffled out…

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Day 24 – Woodhuish to Beesands

We had some absolutely violent hills to start the day with. Six miles of the fuckers. I don’t know why I continue to be all confused and surprised when my legs are about to drop off only three hours into…

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Day 25 – Beesands to Soar Mill Cove

We managed to get the tent packed down with minimal sand incidents which had to be the work of a higher power given that between last night’s drizzle and the condensation inside the tent, it was soaking. Maybe I’ve just…

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Day 26 – Soar Mill Cove to Beacon Hill

We had a couple of things to actually think about today which was a bit of a shock to the grey spongy thing between my ears. Rather than just meandering and getting there when we get there we had to…

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Day 28 – Bovisand Beach to Plymouth

It was meant to be sunny when we woke up but it was still very much wet and windy. Thanks, Met Office. I think we can safely ignore the weather forecast as we move closer to Cornish territory, though obviously…

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Day 29 – Plymouth to Portwrinkle

We figured we might as well have a nice, chilled start to the day, largely because literally any excuse to be a little bit lazy, plus we didn’t have to check out until 11am. We treated ourself to a lie…

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Day 30 – Portwrinkle to East Combe

Fuck my life what an awful night’s sleep. Clearly our definition of acceptably slopey is getting more and more liberal as the trail presents less and less places to camp. The slope we were on meant I didn’t even have…

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Day 31 – East Combe to Black Head

It’s amazing what a difference a flat pitch makes. I slept so well that when the alarm went off I went back to sleep which is very much a Tarrant trick. I’m usually straight up and having to periodically nudge…

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Day 32 – Black Head to Dodman Point

The hideous steps between St Austell and Mevagissey were foretold by a chap I talk to on Instagram. Aaall the way down to come aaall the way back up. They’re really quite upsetting but they’re not actually relentless (I’m looking…

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Day 33 – Dodman Point to Bohortha

Another absolute stunner of a night’s sleep but yeah nah, didn’t need any of that beer yesterday. It’s not like we drank a lot but my entire being made it very clear that my age doesn’t begin with a two…

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Day 34 – Bohortha to Falmouth

We fell asleep to the sound of the waves crashing onto the rocks far below us and woke up to birds chirping in the hedgerow we’d pitched next to. Oh, and the sound of rain belting down on the tent.…

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Day 35 – Falmouth to Carne

Well it’s rude not to have a little lie in when you’re allowed to be where you are isn’t it? Plus there was literally no point in rushing this morning. We were about ten miles from the Helford Ferry which…

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Days 38 & 39 – Rest Days, The Lizard

We woke up to rain pattering down onto the tent on Friday morning and it’s almost pleasant, lying under canvas (or sil-nylon, but that doesn’t sound as romantic) listening to the rain when you don’t have to pack up in…

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Day 40 – The Lizard to Prussia Cove

God it was hard fucking work dragging ourselves out of bed at 5am after two days off but we wanted to smash some miles out today. It didn’t help that our pitch was separated from the communal fire pit by…

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Day 41 – Prussia Cove to Penberth

You know those days that are so fucking long that when you cast your dazed and weary mind back to the morning it might as well have been last fucking week? That essentially sums up today so settle in for…

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Day 42 – Penberth to Botallack

What is it about Land’s End that makes it such a thing? It’s not halfway through the South West Coast Path. It’s gorgeous but not any more gorgeous than any other given stretch of coastline around here. Yeah okay, so…

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Day 43 – Botallack to Zennor

I thought I slept last night but judging how utterly shattered I was all day it’s more likely that I woke up more times than I thought I did worrying that the wind would sweep us away to a magical…

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Day 44 – Zennor to Gwithian

I slept so well last night! Honestly, best night’s sleep in ages. The cat didn’t use the tent as a climbing frame either but it did kill and decapitate a young rabbit for us and deposited about a metre from…

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Day 45 – Gwithian to St Agnes

I still felt like shit this morning but the gut explosion I was expecting wasn’t forthcoming. I forced myself to eat a packet of Fridge Raiders but damn it, I didn’t enjoy it. I had absolutely no appetite at all…

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Day 46 – St Agnes to Newquay

We woke up this morning and evaluated how we felt. My stomach felt better, I even actually wanted breakfast rather than forcing various packaged products down my throat because if I didn’t I wouldn’t function. Tarrant’s ankles were their usual…

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Days 47 & 48 – Rest Days, Newquay

We really have done very, very little here in Newquay which was pretty much the point. There are a metric fuck tonne of things to do here from diving to surfing to coasteering but none of this is conducive to…

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Day 49 – Newquay to Trevose Head

I have no idea how we managed to get as far as we did today given the sheer amount of faffing we did this morning, plus the fact I’m hobbling like an old lady. An even older lady than I…

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Day 50 – Trevose Head to Rumps Point

We promised ourselves another chill one today. No point in pushing ourselves like we’ve done in the past, when all is said and done we’re inherently lazy. We’re not trying to set records or impress anyone. Also everything fucking hurts…

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Day 51 – Rumps Point to Trebarwith Strand

Well today was a shock to the system after the relatively flat days we’d been having. Okay yeah, so we’d been bouldering and picked our way across ankle breaking terrain and climbed some ridiculous hills but it had mostly been…

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Day 52 – Trebarwith Strand to Tintagel

We are literally the worst thru-hikers known to man. We’d never be able to do one of those time sensitive American trails where you have to complete it within a certain time window or you’ll freeze to death in a…

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Day 53 – Tintagel to Rusey Cliffs

We lay in our tent this morning listening to the rain belt down onto the sil-nylon. I’d been dying for a piss for hours but I really, really didn’t want to go out in it. I know it’s never as…

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Day 54 – Rusey Cliffs to Bude

So High Cliff wasn’t as hideous as we thought it’d be on account of the fact they’ve seen fit to carve a lovely zig-zag path up it which obviously makes it longer but less steep. There’s still the straight up…

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Day 55 – Bude to Higher Sharpnose Point

We fully intended for today to be a short day on account of the fact we fully intended to leach the electricity in Costa Coffee until our powerbanks were fully charged. They’re pretty badass, they go from dead to full…

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Day 57 – Titchberry to Peppercombe

It was off and on pissing rain all night last night, the kind that wakes you up because it blasts down suddenly like someone had taken a power hose to your tent, so neither of us slept really well. The…

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Day 58 – Peppercombe to Appledore

We woke up in our nice, dry bothy and packed away as the rain pattered down. I was quietly smug that we’d stayed here last night and now didn’t have to pack the tent down in the rain. I was…

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Day 59 – Appledore to Braunton

Me: “Well that hill can fuck right off! Far too big and steep and and and… hilly!”Also me: “Ugh, fuck my life this is so flat and tedious. God I’m so bored. I wish there was a fucking hill or…

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Day 60 – Rest Day, Braunton

We fully intended to bag a trig about a mile and a half up a fuck off big hill today but my poor feet were still battered. They were all puffy and sore, no way was I moving off this…

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Day 61 – Braunton to Bull Point

It’s sort of the law to have a lazy morning when you wake up at a campsite or a B&B or basically anywhere that you slept legally. We enjoyed unfettered access to our respective caffeine sources, charged our shit up,…

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Day 62 – Bull Point to Trentishoe

The first part of today was fucking lovely albeit a little cow infested. There was plenty of flat that you could get a pace up on insomuch as various injuries would permit, and the hills were the perfect level of…

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Day 63 – Trentishoe to Culbone

Last night’s pitch was actually okay despite reservations we’d end up crumpled at the bottom of the tent, or our pegs would trip someone up. No-one actually walked by and it turned out to be perfectly acceptably slopey. We were…

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Day 64 – Culbone to Minehead

Today’s the day! We’re going to smash out the last twelve miles of the South West Coast Path! Straight there, no faffing! We packed the tent down whilst trying to swallow as few tiny flies as possible and made our…

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Day 65 – Minehead to Nettlecombe

Obviously we didn’t leave Minehead until gone 11am, if you give us a check out time then damn right we’ll cling onto that room as long as we can. Plus everything we were meant to do yesterday got replaced with…

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Day 66 – Nettlecombe to Merridge

Neither of us slept well on our slopey woodland pitch last night. I kept sliding down my slippy mat in my slippy sleeping bag and what the fuck is it with technical sleeping gear that it always has to be…

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Day 67 – Merridge to Bridgwater

Every time I lay down last night enough snot to flood Wales seeped out of my left nostril so I resorted to plugging it up with tissue. That helped and I slept the sleep of the dead. We’d pitched very…

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Day 68 – Rest Day, Cheddar

Sleep was on and off last night on account of not being able to breathe through my nose and continously waking up in a pool of my own drool. God, Tarrant is a lucky woman. The YHA had agreed to…

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Day 74 – Bridgwater to Washbrook

We finally got our shit together this morning, bussed from our hotel back into Bridgwater and restarted the trail where we left off at the train station. Right then. Four more days and we should be starting the Offa’s Dyke…

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Day 75 – Washbrook to Clevedon

We woke up having not been trampled by cows which is always a nice thing to wake up to, and when we crossed into the next field we were treated to actual eyehole fodder which I don’t believe had been…

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Day 77 – Cribbs Causeway to Chepstow

Right then! Onwards to Wales! We very reluctantly tore ourselves away from the wonderful Mollie’s Motel this morning and veered towards McDonald’s for breakfast. Don’t look at me like that, I absolutely and unashamedly fucking love a Macca’s brekky. I…

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Day 78 – Chepstow to Monmouth

On account of the fact it seems we’re fair weather campers these days, we ended up walking a few miles further than we intended today. We were only about a mile and three quarters from the Offa’s Dyke trail marker…

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Day 79 – Monmouth to Pandy

Last night as we sat in the restaurant shovelling a particularly good biriyani into our chops we decided that we’d preempt our desire for a room tomorrow night and called a place in Pandy that kept cropping up in our…

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Day 80 – Pandy to Hay-On-Wye

We’d asked Mary if we could have breakfast at 7.30am and she delivered. We walked downstairs and she was in the process of drowning various parts of a dead pig in oil for us. My arteries hardened just watching it.…

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Day 81 – Rest Day, Hay-on-Wye

I dozed off and on this morning waiting for a break in the rain so I could make a break for the toilets but I swear, every time I thought it had stopped and sat up it resumed pattering down…

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Day 82 – Hay-On-Wye to Kington

Oh dear gosh, today was difficult. I didn’t feel too bad at first but you know how sometimes a hangover creeps slowly in like little tendrils of doom across your brain? Pretty much that. There weren’t many hills and they…

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Day 83 – Kington to Knighton

As soon as we left Kington we were waking up a right bastard of a relentless hill. You know those ones that aren’t too steep but they just don’t give up? Yeah. That. The eyehole fodder was very much worth…

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Day 84 – Knighton to Brompton Crossroads

We knew today was generally accepted to be most difficult section of the Offa’s Dyke Path and we thought we were ready for it. Dear reader, we were not. It did not fuck about, the minute we left our campsite…

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Day 85 – Brompton Crossroads to Buttington

Just a nice, short day today. An uneventful jaunt across a lot of farmland with pretty hills in the background. It was largely flat for the first part too, aside from one surprise hill which annihilated my poor, abused calf…

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Day 86 – Buttington to Selattyn

I’m not going to lie, we skipped 6¼ miles of the Offa’s Dyke Path today and I regret nothing. I’d read in a Facebook group that this section was full of feisty bullocks head butting and trying to mount each…

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Day 87 – Selattyn to Llangollen

It was already too hot by 8am today and we had many hills to get up. I could solve world drought with the amount of fluid pouring from my face. We’d had a lovely horsefly free day yesterday but they…

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Day 88 – Llangollen to Llandegla

Today was actually quite enjoyable for a few reasons. Firstly, the variety. We started off with the classic, lush, green Welsh hills, then it suddenly got wilder with scree covered slopes rising up above us up the right and sweeping…

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Day 89 – Llandegla to Bodfari

The alarm went off at 4.30 this morning, before the bastard rooster even had a chance to wake us up. There’d been a lot of roosters recently, sleep had generally been forcibly ended early for the last few days but…

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Day 90 – Bodfari to Prestatyn

The original plan was to get to Prestatyn around 3pm, check into our hotel for showers and to abandon our backpacks then finish the trail bagless and in flip flops and ready to pour obnoxious quantities of prosecco into our…

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Until Next Time

I will absolutely class the South West Coast Path as one of my most favourite things I’ve ever done. I’m not saying I loved every footstep, obviously I had bad days, we both did. You can’t have a good day…

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