We live in a world of lessons learnt and checklists. In that spirit, here are 5 lessons for that possibly quite small group of people who are thinking about walking around England and Wales. Imagine one day, a few years in the future, when "EW walking" - as it may come to be known - will be talked about in the same way that people discuss doing the Camino de Santiago. As always in life, preparation is key. So here are five lessons I've learnt even before starting my little jaunt:
1. Have a good map. I love the one that's been made for me - see picture. Conveys the vision and the timing. Thank you, Wallisches! This can be supplemented by Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 maps, but its always good to have the big picture.
2. Have great friends and family. As one example, I've been given a stack of letters, to open on certain dates, or upon seeing particular sights. Almost like turning the whole escapade into a giant treasure hunt, with loadsa surprises. Terrific!
3. Start earlier. Whatever date you were going to start preparing for the trip, bring that forward. This means that its best to read these lessons before you've started preparing. If its too late, never mind, you're in good company. Things that took longer than I'd expected: making the website; figuring out the routes for each day; waiting for letters back from potential corporate sponsors (still waiting, maybe they're in the spam filter...)
4. Raise money for a cause which has a decent number of followers - otherwise who's going to see all the photos and read the stories of being chased by bulls? I'm delighted to be raising funds for Cancer Research UK, who have got loads of followers.
5. Read Ruth Livingstone's brilliant book: "Walking the English Coast: A Beginner's Guide"https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/191107931X