JOGT News Vol. 6 No. 2 — Year End Update and Appeal

2020 was a tough year for the JOGT, as it was for almost everyone. A few hardy souls did walk the trail long-distance, while the trail provided a welcome escape for locals wanting to go for a longer walk. Volunteer days were few, but we managed to do some good work. We hope to make 2021 a special year of renewal and advancement, and we would love to have your help.

July walk and volunteer day near Helmsdale: From front, volunteers Ian C and Ian M, walkers Tricia P and Ian H, and volunteer Derek B.

A note from the chair

I sincerely hope his finds you and your loved ones well. In this trying year for all of us, walking holidays and volunteer days have had to take a back seat to safety and other priorities. For the sake of all of us, I hope that with the vaccine roll-out, the New Year 2021 will fulfill the prospect of renewal. 2020 has been a year of holding our own by keeping the trail open for the walkers who were able to use the trail, while also raising funds for future growth. Please consider supporting us by becoming a member or renewing your membership, or volunteering in your local area or for online efforts such as this newsletter. See the end of the newsletter for more details on donations.

We’re also working to fund a full-time trail manager position that will take pressure off our volunteers and add a more professional element to our organisation. This would be someone to perform both administrative functions such as overseeing contractors as well as coordinating volunteers and finding new sources of funding.

Please see the article below written by Tricia, one of our long-distance walkers this past summer. She and her husband Ian used the JOGT to complete their journey from Lands End to John o’ Groats. With help from several of our volunteers (see above photo), they met the challenges of summer bracken head-on and finished their journey successfully. By working with us, they helped us open the trail for walkers the rest of the year.

One of the other walkers we met was Margit, who spent a week walking most of the northern sections of the JOGT and helping to smash some of the bracken, and is now helping to organise our membership list. In fact, one of the miracles of 2020 was that we’ve had several volunteers appear out of the blue. Thank you to everyone who, through inspiration or perspiration, have helped us make it through this difficult year.

I hope you’ll all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Happy Trails!

Jay Wilson, Chair

Coronavirus Update

Please exercise caution when walking the trail, as emergency services are stretched thin as it is. Respect any signs or requests from landowners. If you happen to meet someone on the trail, try to keep a two metre distance as you pass them. Be safe!

Ian and Tricia encounter beauty (and bracken) on the JOGT

a href=””>The bracken. Oh, my, gosh, what stuff! Following a good growing season in spring 2020 and no footfall during lockdown, Ian and I found forward progress difficult in places due to bracken way above our armpits and sometimes over my head.

We were hugely grateful to the JOGT volunteers who joined us for three tough days and slashed the way through the undergrowth to open the trail on the very days we were on our planned walk in August.

We started walking the long distance footpaths of Britain 17 years ago so it took us a while to get to Inverness. Our route had included the ‘standard’ long trails including the South West Coast Path, the Pennine Way and the West Highland Way. Filling in the gaps between these routes involved some great walking including rambling across Somerset in perfect April weather (2019) and crossing the Central Belt of Scotland using drover’s routes (August 2019). The JOGT was the indispensable final stretch of our LEJOG walk.

Undoubtedly, the highlight of our whole End to End adventure was the fantastic coastal scenery, wildlife and history found on the JOGT trail and the great people we met on your volunteer days.

Year-End Donation and Membership Appeal

Thank you for your donations this year. We now have a new online donations provider: GoFundMe! We have updated the links on our web site so you can find it easily, or you can follow the link below.

Whether you would like to become a member or renew (£10), your membership will be good from now through the end of 2021. Membership is a great way to support the trail while also getting a vote at the AGM and access to member updates. Please consider paying your member dues by the end of the year.

If you’d like to order a guidebook, or would like to make a donation, all donations to the trail help us pay for tools, supplies such as timber, and important matching funds for grants for bigger trail-building projects. After donating, please forward the confirmation email to and let us know what the donation is for. Click on the donation link below:

Make a Donation

We wish you peace and health this Christmas, and a better 2021.