Land’s End to John O’Groats for Myositis and MS

Oh no”, you say as you read the title of this post, “not another Land’s End to John O’Groats for charity blog post!” Yes, you are correct, but this is a little different! No there is nothing really special about the route. The participants are just putting one foot in front of the other over two-million times to cover the 1105 miles (OS Map suggested route), there is no hopping backwards on a pogo stick, no diver’s suits. Just a bloody long hike through some lovely and not-so-lovely countryside. What makes this walk different are the causes for Craig, Karen and Bullet the dog.

Land’s End to John O’Groats is a serious challenge and a tremendous undertaking, no matter how you are doing it. For Craig and Karen of the “End to End Hike”, their journey will be a difficult and poignant one as they try to raise awareness for two charities they support.

Craig, Karen and Bullet - looking for support for their Land's End To John O'Groats Challenge
Craig, Karen and Bullet – looking for support for their Land’s End To John O’Groats Challenge

Raising Awareness

The first is Myositis an autoimmune disease and the charity Myositis UK. Mysositis contributed to the death of Craig’s daughter Elise in 2018. Donations and any awareness of the illness raised will help to remember her. The second is MS UK, the charity that supports people with Multipe Sclerosis. MS is a debilitating condition that Craig himself suffers from. It hampers his everyday life, including his mobility.

What is Myositis?

Myositis is a rare condition attacking the auto-immune system. It causes inflammation in the muscles leading to weakness, joint pain, difficulty swallowing and fatigue. It is not considered “life-threatening” by medical experts.  Living with Myositis is a much different proposition than the medical opinion. The chronic nature of the disease, the pain, inflammation and fatigue can cause many day-to-day issues. Thereby resulting in a lower quality of life and often the onset of mental and other health issues. For more information please visit the MS UK website at (www.myositis.org.uk UK).

Myositis

What is Multiple Sclerosis (MS)?

MS is a much more widely known condition and like Mysositis it attacks the auto-immune system disrupting the flow of electrical impulses in the nervous system. Symptoms are varied and differ in length and severity, but often included in health website lists are fatigue, mobility and coordination issues, incontinence and vision problems. The most usual form of MS is called Relapsing-Remitting MS (RRMS) where a person will experience periods of relapses or flare-ups, where symptoms worsen, followed by periods of remission with partial or complete recovery. Even when in a relapse period a sufferer is waiting for the next flare-up and this is limiting to how life is lived. There is no cure to MS, treatment can only help manage the condition and slow down any progression. For more information about the condition please follow this link to go to the MS Society website (https://ms-uk.org/).

MS Society
Lands End Panorama (Credit: Gareth Lyons)

1105 Miles with Mobility Issues

Although MS is the better-known condition it is still misunderstood. Statistics vary, but the consensus is that many people with MS will within 10 to 15 years of diagnosis use some form of walking aid. This makes Craig’s effort more inspiring as he will be using a leg brace to help him every step of the way.

“I now wear a leg brace and my balance is terrible. my ‘get up and go’ got up and left some time ago!.. Due to the MS this is why we give ourselves eight months to complete it although we are targeting 4 months.”

700 Mile Warm-Up

In June 2023, Craig, Karen and Bullet, warmed up for their Lands End to John O’Groats adventure with a South Coast walk. Hiking from Margate to Land’s End covering nearly 700 miles in 110 days. The End to End Instagram and Facebook accounts detail many stages of this journey.

With this behind them. They were able to start planning and trying to attract sponsorship/help for their thousand-mile challenge starting in May.

The planned route follows the “traditional” hikers path making as much use of trails and paths as possible. Taking in sections of Bodmin Moor, Dartmoor, The Costwolds, The Pennine Trail, Loch Lomond, Glenn Coe, Loch Lochy, Loch Ness, finally skirting the East Coast of Scotland for the final sprint past Wick to John O’Groats! For information about a Land’s End to John O’Groats route take a look at Mark Moxon’s excellent and informative website (https://www.landsendjohnogroats.info/).

Such an endeavour takes a huge commitment for anyone. Craig and Karen ask that if you can help them with any support they would love to hear from you. 

Image: Mark Moxon www.landsendjohnogroats.info (Google Maps)
Image: Mark Moxon
www.landsendjohnogroats.info (Google Maps)

How to Support the End to End Hike

To Donate to charity

To Follow on Social Media