Andante Info


John O’Groats to Land’s End   –   “at a walking pace”  !!!

So what?  Lot’s of people walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End – and most of them do it to raise funds for some worthy cause.  What was so different about this project?

Well, I certainly did it to raise funds for my own two particular musical charities:-
Vacation Chamber Orchestras  (
Ripon St Cecilia Orchestra  (
One purpose was to raise money to pay for the “customised” minibus that we used during the walk – a very useful vehicle which will also be available in the future for us and many other organisations to transport people, instruments and musical equipment.

However, the emphasis was very much on music and music education!  Call it a “fact-finding mission” if you like.  All along the way, I made considerable efforts to …
·        Invite musicians and members of other musical organisations to join me for as little (or as much) as they would like to walk – and, by doing so, to help to raise a bit of money for their own organisations.
·        Meet and talk to as many musicians as possible – professionals, amateurs, teachers, students, young musicians, concert promoters, organisers etc. – mainly with a view to sharing ideas and identifying and discussing any problems with funding, rehearsal and performance venues, recruitment, equipment, publicity etc.  Ultimately, the idea (especially with regard the the government's new "National Plan for Music Education") is to produce some kind of report or document which can be sent to the Ministers for Culture and Education, the Arts Council and various other agencies to highlight the state of “where we’re at” with music and music education throughout the country.
·        And, whilst I wanted to learn about other musicians and organisations, after 40 odd years of working pretty successfully as a professional musician (conductor, performer, teacher, lecturer etc.) and generally “making things happen”, anything I could offer in terms of help or advice, I was absolutely delighted to contribute!
So, if you or anyone connected with your musical organisation would like to contribute to the "Andante Report", I would love to hear from you.
Along the way, I met a considerable number of musicians - not as many as I would have liked but enough to get a pretty clear picture of what is needed and where most of the problems lie with music and, particularly, with music education.
The walk started on 1 October 2011.  Stages were relatively short and gentle. (Rarely more than 10 miles on the flat and less if hills were involved!)  It wasn’t continuous either – I just did a few days at a time, with no fixed dates or itinerary. (I too had work to do!)
I reached Land's End, completing the walking part of the project, on 20 October 2012.  About 934 miles walked and 20,245 metres of climbing, spread over 123 days.  (I had allowed up to 150 days so I'm pretty pleased with how it's all gone!)  The next task is to try to keep the funds coming in while I write the report.  This will take quite a while because it is a complex picture and there is a great deal of thought needed.  I certainly hope to complete it before Christmas this year!  The report will be published on the internet and sent to a number of government departments, agencies, organisations and significant individuals.
Every day during the walk I posted a blog on my own website – – and this also has a link from the other two websites mentioned above.  I will continue to post occasional blogs whenever anything newsworthy about the project or about music education comes up!
I also communicated regularly, with everybody who had expressed any interest, by Email and Facebook.  I will continue to do this until the final report is published.

If you wish, you can contact me on 01423 781513
- or on my mobile: 07974 698265
- or by Email: 
- or via Facebook, either #Xen Kelsey or #Andante - The big walk.
There is still plenty of time if anybody would like to make a donation!  You can do this either by Paypal, via the VaCO website ( or post a cheque made out to VaCO to me at Blaireaux Ghill, Smelthouses, Harrogate, HG3 4DL.
Most of all, I really wanted to enjoy it – and to meet lots of new (and old) friends – and to make the whole thing as much fun and as worthwhile as possible.  This I certainly achieved!  I've seen lots of wonderful places and had a great experience.  I'm certainly a lot fitter and I've lost a few pounds (weight) along the way, in spite of serious efforts to put them back on again in the evenings! 

I would have liked to meet more people, I would have liked to raise more money (the final total will be published in the new year) - but that would always be the case!  I certainly think it has been worthwhile and I would like to thank everybody who has donated, supported or helped in anyway - especially Jane, without whom I certainly couldn't have done it at all!
If you are interested in reading the report and are not already on my mailing list, please email me at or befriend me on Facebook – and I’ll let you know when it's finished and how to access it.
Best wishes,


“Andante” - Provisional Route

Stretch 1: (Done!) John O’Groats - Nybster - Reiss - Wick - Ulbster - Lybster - Latheron Wheel - Castle Hill Farm - Badbea Car Park - Helmsdale. (54 miles)
Stretch 2: (Done!) Helmsdale - Loth - Doll - Loch Fleet - Evalix - Tain - Alness - Cromarty Bridge - Munlochy - Inverness - Auchnahillin - Moy - Slochd Summit - Laggantygown - Dalraddy - Kingussie.  (116 miles.  Total: 170 miles)
Stretch 3: (Done!) Kingussie - Falls of Truim (via Wade Rd) - Rd Junction S of Dalwhinnie - Dalnaspidal (21 miles. Total: 191 miles)Stretch 4: (Done!) Dalnaspidal - Dalnacardoch - Tummel Bridge - Kenmore - Amulree (37.5 miles.  Total: 228.5 miles)
Stretch 5: (Done!) Amulree - Buchanty - Kinkell Bridge - Cloan - Glendevon (28 miles.  Total: 256.5 miles)
Stretch 6: (Done!) Glendevon - Cleish Hill End - Dunfermline - Forth  Road Bridge (S End) - A71 - Harlaw Reservoir.  (34 miles.  Total: 290.5 miles)
Stretch 7: (Done!) Harlaw Reservoir - Penicuik - Waterheads - Peebles - Cardona (27.4 miles. Total: 317.9 miles)
Stretch 8: (Done!) Cardrona - Traquair Kirk - St Mary’s Loch – Ettrick – Eskdalemuir (33.4 miles.  Total: 351.3 miles)
Stretch 9: (Done!)  Eskdalemuir Village - Chapelknow - Gretna - Carlisle - Sedbergham - High Row (54.45 miles. Total 405.75 miles)
Stretch 10: (Done!)  High Row - Mungrisdale - Wallthwaite - Dockray - Patterdale - High Street - Kentmere.  (27.75 miles. Total 433.5 miles)
Stretch 11: (Done!)  Kentmere - Staveley - Scout Scar - Levens - Carnforth - Lancaster.  (34.75 miles. Total 468.25 miles)
Stretch 12: (Done!)  Lancaster - Galgate - Garstang - Woodplumpton - Preston - New Longton. (30 miles. Total 498.25 miles)
Stretch 13: (Done!)  New Longton - Croston - Wrightington - Appley Bridge - Orrell - Crank - St Helens - Rainhill Station.  (25.75 miles.  Total 524 miles)
Stretch 14: (Done!)  Rainhill - Widnes - Runcorn - Frodsham - Alvanley - Stamford Bridge - Waverton.  (25.5 miles.  Total 549.5 miles)
Stretch 15: (Done!)  Waverton -Holt - Wrexham - Ruabon - Pontcysyllte.  (25.5 miles. Total 575 miles)
Stretch 16: (Done!) Pontcysyllte - Chirk Castle - Oswestry Old Racecourse - Llanymynech - Pool Quat - Buttington - Beacon Ring - Kingswood - past Montgomery - to the Blue Bell Inn at Brompton. (39.75 miles. Total 614.75 miles)
Stretch 17: (Done!)  Brompton - Lower Spoad - Knighton - Discoed - Kington - Newchurch - Hay - Pandy - Llantilio Crossenny - Monmouth - Bigsweir - Chepstow - Severn Bridge - Avonmouth Bridge - Wrington - Cheddar (135.5 miles. Total 750.25 miles)
Stretch 18: (Done!)
Cheddar - Bason Bridge - Bridgwater - Monkton Heathfield - Wellington - Whiteball - Tiverton - Withleigh - Morchard Bishop - North Tawton - Okehampton - Coombebow - Tamar Bridge - Congdon's Shop - Minions - St Neot - Bodmin - Victoria - Fraddon - Mitchell - Marazanvose - Redruth - Reawla - Marazion - Penzance - Raginnis - Penberth - Porthgwarra - Land's End.

Totals: 123 Days, 934 Miles, 20245 Metres of climbing