Our preparation for the journey took 12 months. We set ourselves a fitness program to increase both our strength and endurance
Initially we walked just one hour each night and gradually increased this to two or more hours. Every weekend we spent at least one full day hiking through Sydney's national parks, suburbs or city. Philip honed his orientation skills even when walking in the city! Six months prior to departure we began to wear our boots for all our walking and three months before, we started wearing our backpacks, gradually increasing the weight we carried.
We spent many hours researching our equipment on the Internet and visited every outdoor shop in the city centre of Sydney. As we had to carry everything the weight was very important. We listed all the items we would need and found the lightest and best of each.
We bought OS maps over the Internet on the Ordnance Survey website and spent many a happy night mapping out our route along Public Footpaths and Long Distance Walking Trails with a yellow highlighter. We bundled our maps and guidebooks into parcels to post to Post Offices along our route, when we arrived in England. Some guidebooks we bought along the way.
A complete listing of maps, books and equipment can be found in The Journal on the 'ebook' page. This planning and preparation paid off as we had no trouble with our gear and neither of us had to endure a single blister in the entire journey. Quite an achievement, judging from the experiences of others. Although we felt some discomfort during the first couple of weeks of walking, it soon disappeared and although weary at day’s end, we were able to enjoy every day.
If you have the will and can find the time then this journey is recommended. It was such a wonder. These were precious days.
Public footpaths are ancient rights of way through fields, forests and moorland. Some of these are waymarked and maintained, some are not and seasonal changes in farming can change the ground. It is important to keep to the rights of way to give landowners no cause for complaint for their livelihood may be endangered by misuse of the countryside.