Cape to Cape

A 1,250-mile backpacking walk from Cornwall to Cape Wrath in Scotland

Author: John Sutcliffe

Series title:

Paperback publication date: 01 May 2018

Paperback ISBN: 9781909461550

Cape to Cape is the inspiring story of John Sutcliffe's backpacking trek from Cape Cornwall in South West England to Cape Wrath on the north-westerly tip of Scotland: a breathtaking 1,250-mile-long walk.

'I was very grateful for today’s near perfect visibility and, despite the late hour, just had to sit down to take it all in.' On a late April morning, lover of landscapes and professional geologist John Sutcliffe, approaching his seventieth birthday, sets out on a backpacking trek from Cape Cornwall in South West England to Cape Wrath on the north-westerly tip of Scotland: a breathtaking 1,250-mile-long walk. Starting out along the sea cliffs of Cornwall and heading inland across the remote moor country of Dartmoor, Exmoor and the marshy Somerset Levels, John crosses into Wales and follows the delightful Welsh border to Shropshire. Continuing into the limestone dales of Derbyshire, he then treads the Pennine Way for 250 miles to the Scottish Borders, often sharing his campsite with the creatures of the night, facing unforeseen challenges and making new friends along the way. After traversing the Southern Uplands of Scotland and the Pentland Hills – hidden gems that many walkers overlook – he then follows the West Highland Way to Fort William where he clocks up 1,000 miles and takes a brief pause for his mother's 100th birthday. Celebrations over, he sets out across the rugged and wonderfully remote North West Highlands of Ardgour, Knoydart, Torridon and Sutherland, exploring the bothy network along the Cape Wrath Trail and pitting himself against the elements with the onset of Hurricane Bertha. Whether wild camping with curlews or indulging in the occasional hot-shower luxury of a guest house en route, John furnishes his story with details of the cultural and political heritage and the geology underpinning the stunning landscapes encountered on his journey. Cape to Cape is an inspiring story of one man's celebration of the diverse British countryside.

John Sutcliffe was born in Doncaster in the final days of 1944 and spent most of his childhood in the small North Yorkshire railway village of Hellifield on the western edge of what later became the Yorkshire Dales National Park. His freedom to roam alone from an early age and his love of the countryside has been a big influence in his later life. He went on to study geology at the Royal School of Mines, Imperial College, London and shortly after graduation headed overseas with his new wife of one month, Bridget, to eventually have five children in two clutches on three continents. Until recently John worked as a geologist in the minerals industry, mainly running copper and gold exploration projects in North and South America, Europe and the Middle East. In more recent years his work has mainly focused on the Andean countries of South America. He is now ‘semi-retired’ in his native Yorkshire Dales, wondering what to do next. John’s website – www.johnsutcliffe.net – contains maps and photographs of the walk as well as route GPX files that can be downloaded.

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