First published in 1968, Journey Through Britain by John Hillaby, detailing his long walk from Lands End to John O’Groats, made a huge impression on me when I first read it.
In this very readable volume Hillaby, recounts his adventures as he takes the back paths of Britain, through the west country, along Offa’s Dyke, up the Pennine Way and then through the Borders and Highlands of Scotland to his destination.
Now, of course, we are used to people doing such long walks but, at the time that Hillaby did it, the practice had become unusual. In fact, Hillaby thought his walking journey would be one of the last. Little did he guess how many readers and walkers would be enthused by his adventures.
Hillaby is a grand travelling companion, anecdotal, fascinated by nature, landscape and people. His book was massively influential on publication, probably inspiring the creation of many a long distance trail and correspondingly long walks.
It now has an historical value, giving as it does the feel of the long lost 1960s in Britain (and how some of us miss them!).
Do give it a try or a re-read:
Other books by John Hillaby:
Journey to the Jade Sea
Journey Through Europe
Journey Through Love