Walking The Bryson Line: Deciding On The Route

It sounds easy enough: ‘Follow that line, and you’ll get there.’ And it’s true. Well, if you’re in a helicopter, that is. 

But I’ll be walking The Bryson Line. I’ll find hedges, fences, houses, and other obstacles on my way. So walking the Line literally is impossible. Instead, I’m now in the process of deciding on the route: which roads and paths and alleys does one need to take in order to walk safely and somewhat comfortably from Bognor Regis to Cape Wrath?

I’ve been on Google Maps for tens of hours already, trying to find the best possible route. Initially, I wanted to stay as close to The Bryson Line as possible, but when I found out that the Pennine Way – the UK’s first National Trail – pretty much runs alongside the Line, I ditched that thought. If I can make the walk more scenic, more fun, more remote by moving ten kilometers away from the Line, I will. And so, two days ago, I bought three maps: one describes the southern section of the Pennine Way; the second map the central section, which, interestingly, ends right where it crosses the Hadrian’s Wall Trail; and so the third map is a map of that trail. As soon as I reach the latter, I’ll be spending a few days hiking Hadrian’s Wall, so that by the time I reach Cape Wrath, I’ll have touched all four seas enclosing the island of Great Britain.

In my research I found that the UK truly is hiker’s paradise. I had no idea. Thousands of trails have been set out all over Britain to accommodate one-day walks and long-distance hikes alike. This week, I learned about bothies – huts of stone in the Scottish highlands where hikers can sleep free of charge. And I’ve been looking into the Cape Wrath Trail, of which the last five days run alongside The Bryson Line.

Not only the route is in the works, also the equipment I’ll be using is slowly but surely being purchased. I booked my hotel back in November already. This week I bought my train ticket from Amsterdam to London. In addition to the three maps, I also bought a trail stove and a 4-piece cooking set consisting of a small pot, cup, pan, and cup for the delicious dinners I’ll be cooking up. I went through about ten backpacks in four different outdoor stores – from the very cheap to the very expensive – but have not yet been able to make up mind. The same goes for two other crucial items: the tent and the sleeping bag. I need to make an informed decision on these things, and I’m still absorbing the information that is available.

We are close enough to the starting date of this awesome new adventure to reveal that day. It was inspired by the day on which Paul Theroux started his journey around the United Kingdom he wrote about in The Kingdom by the Sea: May Day – May 1st. 

So on May 1st 2018, at 10:00am, I’ll be setting off from the Leisure Pier in Bognor Regis. If you happen to be around, definitely drop by to say howdy. This is how I want to symbolically unite two of my favorite travel writers into one project. And of course I’ll be writing a book about this whole adventure: In Britain. But that’s something to talk about afterwards. 

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