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Crossing Iapetus – on foot

The Route of The Walk!Peter Maguire’s Big Charity Walk across Iapetus (from Leicester to Loch Ewe) is getting under way soon. Leicester’s Emeritus Professor of Geophysics tells us why…

Geoscientist Online 13 March 2009

A major goal of mine for this past two years has been to raise money. ‘So why didn’t you just keep working?’ I hear you say. But it’s not for me - it’s for charity.

In the last 10 years too many of my family and friends have been hit by cancer. While I realise there are hundreds of others raising funds for cancer care, awareness and research, I just know that more is needed to alleviate the suffering this disease brings, and to support the hard unending struggle of developing methods of cure.

So – to achieve my goal, I have set myself to walk from my home in Leicester to Loch Ewe and Inverasdale in the Highlands, from the northern shore of Avalonia to the southern margin of Laurentia – across Iapetus! Six hundred miles.

One fellow walker, whom I met while recently tramping the hills heard my plan and said, encouragingly: ‘You must be bloody mental!’ He may be right, yet all it needs is about 45 days of tramp, tramp, tramp along country lanes, footpaths, canal towpaths, drovers’ tracks, stalkers’ paths, the odd main road, open hillside – and a good deal of sunshine! I decided however that I was not up to doing it ‘all in one’ and have broken it into five stages: Leicester to Edale, to Carlisle, to Glasgow, to Fort William, and finally to Loch Ewe.

Peveril Castle, nr. Castleton, Derbyshire As my ageing limbs are not quite as supple as they used to be, I decided to have a go at a lot of it before daring to ask for sponsorship. I have therefore completed the first four stretches, and great they have been: the low crags of Charnwood, that volcanic edifice on the northern margin of Avalonia; the long tramp over the Pennine Carboniferous grits, Kinder Scout and Bleaklow, past ‘Wuthering Heights’ on Haworth Moor before the limestone cliffs of Malham and the moorland vastness of Pen-y-Ghent and Whernside.

Through Dent, the birthplace of Adam Sedgwick and over the fells to Shap and the market town of Penrith before Carlisle; onto the Ordovician-Silurian accretionary prism of the Southern Uplands Terrane through Eskdalemuir, Moffat and Tweedsmuir. From there the path followed the ever-widening River Clyde along the floor of the Midland Valley to Glasgow and the start of the West Highland Way. On to the Grampian Terrane arc-continent collision on the southern margin of Laurentia; Loch Lomond to Crianlarich, the remote wildness of Rannoch Moor, Glencoe and the Devil’s Staircase, Kinlochleven and the last tiring haul across the hills to Fort William.

The stretch to Loch Ewe in Wester Ross remains to be done. For this I am being joined by lifelong friend, Graham Allen. We will walk the southern part of the Caledonian Canal, across the strongly folded and thrust northern Highland Terrane to Glen Affric, overnight camping before Glen Carron, crossing the Moine Thrust to Laurentia! Then Kinlochewe and the final hike on the Lewisian along Loch Maree to our destination - Loch Ewe. We have set aside seven days for near 100 miles. Here’s hoping for fine weather!

The intrepid walker - Prof. Peter Maguire Now – I hope to raise £1500 for two great causes – one at each end of the walk.

The southern one is Hope against Cancer  - a Leicester and Rutland based charity that provides funds to support research staff and the best available training for doctors and nurses in the field of cancer care in Leicestershire and Rutland. The northern one is Maggie’s Highlands Centre - a cancer care centre in a fantastic chain that is gradually expanding to many parts of the UK.

If you could sponsor me, that would be wonderful.

You can give on line via the Justgiving webpages at:
(or both!)

So, finally - thanks for your support. They are both wonderful causes and I really do hope you feel able to donate to them - in the light of my doing ‘The Walk’!

Peter Maguire