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LETJOG is Nick Heath’s Charity Walk site, set up in Spring 2021 ahead of my successful solo walk from Land’s End To John O’Groats in support of Mind, Parkinson’s UK and The Hospice of St Francis. It has been a great pleasure to be able to support these three excellent charities in these times of great need for the healthcare sector, and my thanks to everyone for your most generous support and contributions.

My LETJOG nordic walk (with poles) took me 1,084 miles, and just over 2.2 million steps, from the tip of Cornwall to the far north-east of Scotland. This marvellous journey lasted 58 days and included some wonderful parts of the South West Coast Path, the Cotswold Way, the Pennine Way, the West Highland Way, the Great Glen Way, the John O’Groats Trail and a great many other parts of our beautiful country. What’s more, along the way I visited 26 breweries and distilleries!

My fundraising page is now closed, having raised nearly £13,000 for the three charities. However, early in the New Year, I am hoping to announce my next LETJOG challenge!

The Charities I Supported

Please see some quotes from Mind, Parkinson’s UK and The Hospice of St Francis at the foot of this page.

Mind

Information and Support. When you’re living with a mental health problem, or supporting someone who is, access to the right information is vital.

Parkinson’s UK

Having Parkinson’s can feel overwhelming if you don’t have the right information and support. We’re here to help everyone feel in control of life with Parkinson’s.

The Hospice of
St Francis

We only have one chance to get end of life care right for our patients – and we need your help.

About Me

I’m Nick Heath, a young 60-something, with a dream and a plan to raise some funds for three wonderful health-related charities, whilst fulfilling a personal challenge to walk the length of Great Britain assisted only by a pair of nordic walking poles.

The walk I’m embarking upon will be undertaken solo, unaided and carrying my own pack. Whilst for the most part I will be walking alone, I will be very grateful for the wonderful company of the several family members and friends who have arranged to join me for certain days of the walk, and for various evenings.

Along the way I hope also to use the opportunity to visit as many breweries and distilleries on my journey, for company and refreshment, as is practically possible.

Based in west Hertfordshire, my trekking experience includes many of the UK’s long-distance paths, including the Pennine Way, and some significant overseas walks such as the Gokyo Lakes and Everest Base Camp trek in Nepal. I took up nordic walking over a decade ago, and I have undertaken some endurance and competitive events in recent years, including the Nordic Walking UK annual marathon around Purbeck. My interest in breweries and distilleries includes past experience as a founder/director of a local micro-brewery.

My Route

My challenge entails around 1,100 miles (1,770 kms) of walking, on a generally northward route from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in north-east Scotland, and an aggregate ascent of over 105,000 feet (32,000 metres).

Staying in a combination of hotels, B&B’s, pubs and hostels, if all goes to plan I anticipate around two months of walking, including a few rest days, at an average of about 18 miles per day (roughly 7.5 hours of walking).

There is no prescribed route, but my plan is to include parts of several UK long distance paths, including those listed above, as well as various other designated trails through many beautiful parts of the British countryside. My walk will also take me along numerous country lanes and towpaths, and my intention to drop in on many breweries and distilleries will enable visits to a good number of our fine market towns along with a few cities.

My Rules

  • The walk will be self-financed, including all administration, travel, accommodation, food and drink, and other expenses. All sponsorship monies will be donated in full to the three charities in equal shares.
  • Starting on 18 May, it is my initial intention to do the walk in one go, subject to scheduled rest days, although the challenge allows for enforced breaks due to external reasons (including any pandemic restrictions), injury or illness, or other personal reasons, up to an end date 12 months from my start.
  • No motor transport, ferries or cycles, will be used on my main LETJOG route. Such transport will be allowed from the route around rest days, and as needed during walking days and evenings to reach breweries and distilleries off-route, so long as the entire LETJOG route is walked.

My Progress

Well – I made it! Nearly 1,100 miles and 58 days later I have reached John O’Groats. Thank you to everybody for your supportive messages of encouragement along the way, and for your astounding generosity to the three LETJOG charities, Mind, Parkinson’s UK, and The Hospice of St Francis.

Days 44 to 58
Days 35 to 43
Days 22 to 34
Days 1 to 21

With thanks to Mark Smith for the progress maps!

My Sponsors and Supporters

As well as many individual sponsors, the following businesses and organisations very kindly supported my LETJOG challenge:

CALIBER FINANCIAL MANAGEMENT – All Your Financial Requirements At The Touch Of A Button http://www.caliber-fm.co.uk

ALISON & WAYNE BLUNDELL Chiropody/Podiatry http://www.blundellchiropody.co.uk

SLOW WAYS – help create a national walking network http://www.slowways.uk

SUNNYSIDE CHURCH, St Michael and All Angels, Berkhamsted

I am very grateful for the following kind quotes from the three LETJOG charities:

“We are really grateful to Nick for choosing to support Mind through this walking challenge, and we wish him well. It continues to be a really challenging time and many of us will be feeling the impact of the pandemic on our mental health and wellbeing, especially for those of us with existing mental health problems. It’s so important that no one has to face this alone. Every donation that Mind receives allows us to campaign to improve services and helps us to provide information and support, such as through the Mind Infoline, legal line and our online peer support community for adults, Side by Side, so we can be there for as many people who need us as possible.” Vicky Urquhart – Community and Events Fundraising Manager, Mind

“We want to say a huge thank you to Nick for choosing to support Parkinson’s UK with this incredibly gruelling challenge. With more than 40 potential symptoms, Parkinson’s can devastate lives. We’ve made huge breakthroughs in the last 50 years, but there is still no cure and current treatments are not good enough. Fundraising for Parkinson’s UK like Nick helps to drive forward the groundbreaking research we need to transform the lives of people affected by Parkinson’s.” Beth Condie – Parkinson’s UK.

“Everyone at The Hospice of St Francis is behind Nick every step of the way! We are absolutely delighted to be involved with this incredible challenge and can’t wait to hear how he gets on. Throughout the pandemic our care has not stopped, but it is only thanks to amazing people like Nick that we can continue to be that much needed hand in the darkness. As all of us have been so restricted this last year we can’t think of a better way to celebrate coming out of the pandemic than to trek the length of the UK! We wish Nick all the very best on his fabulous adventure.” Lucy Hume – Joint Fundraising Director, The Hospice of St Francis.