Book review Land's End to John O'Groats

BOOK REVIEW: Land’s End to John O’Groats by Helen Shaw and Bob Shelmerdine

by Northern Life

The 1,140 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats is no mean distance. But there are always keen walkers on some part of the journey. It is a draw. Like climbing Everest, please do it
‘because it is there’.

Middle-aged professional photographer Helen Shaw had always tacked it on the end of her ‘to do’ list, and then put it off for another year – until 2013. Her partner Bob Shelmerdine agreed to accompany her and the result of their 81-day triumphant completion of the challenge is this book.

Because they did the walk in seven stages, to accommodate work and family commitments, the book is divided into each stage – making it eminently readable and colourfully fascinating.

Land’s End to John O’Groats

Land’s End to John O’Groats
By Helen Shaw and Bob Shelmerdine

In a valuable survey of their adventure they identify the 80-plus B&Bs in which they stayed, regarding camping as needing too much to carry, and campers as “serious heroes,” as well as listing the items each carried – from knickers, to keyboard and phone stand, tick remover to tweezers, maps to midge hats, sugar to Savlon and a host of other items, including the best bits of kit, and the first aid items taken.


Apart from the things they got up to during the journey the map has a beautiful collection of Helen’s photographs of the route and things seen en route, making this a treasure trove for those contemplating the challenge, or able to reflect on their own completion of the journey.