Tom Weir | Walking Points | 5

Part 4 of Tom’s 1980 article on his love of walking – from John O’Groats to Land’s End


Part One – The Opening of the West Highland Way

Part Two – Walking the West Highland Way

Part Three – Walking Guides

Part Four – To Cornwall!


Falmouth took me a wee while to get used to with its complicated topography, but it sank in as we walked the creeks and climbed to the two castles which protect the great entrance inlet called the Carrick Roads.

Using ferries, we explored the creeks by the paths which Rhona had told me about, and with Cornish Fairways bus service time-table we could get back from different destinations.

No need to carry food. I’ve never eaten better bar lunches at prices below what we pay in Scotland, though Rhona preferred the cream teas which are excellent and very filling, costing around £1.

There’s a lot more I like about Cornwall, notably the wonderfully varied stretches from Mousehole all the way by the Vale of Lamorna and Porthgwarra to Land’s End and Senncn Cove where the sun shone for us.

We broke this long stretch into two days. So much of it is like a mountain path winding down and up through floral glades where the common birds were linnets, goldfinches and stonechats, and from the seashore we could sometimes hear the cries of whimbrel and greenshank on passage migration.

Early one morning we met a sun­tanned young man wearing only shorts and boots, and carrying a pack-frame with tent on his back. He was from Hudders field, and in two-weeks had done 200 miles with the intention of walking the remaining 315 to complete the longest footpath in Britain.

He had dumped his cooking gear to cut down weight, he told us. For breakfast, an hour before he met us, he had eaten one slice of bread and butter with marmalade on it. He would buy tea at the first establishment he came to, and would not load up with more food until as late as possible to avoid carriage.

He told us he wasn’t bothered about eating.

“Being here is meat and drink to me. I usually have a three hour rest in the afternoon, and go for a swim. I carry a face-mask and snorkel. The fact that Cornwall is such a tourist place is an aid to the walk, because shops open late and cafes are frequent. You never want for anything, and camping is easy provided you don’t need water. I just do without.”

Catch the next excerpt next Friday!

More From Tom…



We have an extensive archive of Tom Weir’s great columns for The Scots Magazine, and we’re slowly but surely getting them published digitally for new generations to enjoy.

To see the columns we have online so far, click here.