1000 miles

So what about you? With a flask of tea and 1000 miles to cover, where would you go?

MJ is taking a road trip (you can see her images on Flickr). After 13 hours of driving, she's covered just over 1000 miles from San Francisco to Tuscon in Arizona via Los Angeles, San Diego and Phoenix, on her way to Dallas. Her trip got me thinking about where I could reach if I were to drive 1000 miles.

Living in the middle of a (collection of) island(s) off mainland Europe, my options for driving 1000 miles in any one direction are non-existent. But if I were to head off tomorrow, I would drive north through Northern England, into Scotland and aim for Haroldswick on the Shetland Islands, a distance of some 668 miles.

The route suggested by Google would take me via Kendal and onto Glasgow, Scotland before heading east over to Forfar, then north to Aberdeen and Peterhead, where I would take a boat to the Shetland Islands. There I would drive north on to Haroldswick.

I've never been to the Shetland Islands nor any part of Scotland bar one short trip to Glasgow a few years ago, and the remoteness of northern Scotland and the islands do hold a fascination for me that one day I might explore. In many ways I imagine that the remoteness of northern Scotland is somewhat akin to the remoteness of parts of Arizona (albeit colder and wetter). One day I might just take off like MJ and make the trip.

So what about you? With a flask of tea and 1000 miles to cover, where would you go?


  1. #1 On January 8, 2006 01:40 PM Dave said:

    Wow, the last time I went that far north was to the Faroe Islands (or something like that). Those were good times, but the sheep were creepy. There were loads of sparkly rocks.

  2. #2 On January 8, 2006 02:52 PM paul haine said:

    I'd drive to somewhere that could sell me some biscuits to go with the tea.

  3. #3 On January 8, 2006 02:55 PM Geoffrey Sneddon said:

    Dundee� 28 miles from whereI live...

  4. #4 On January 8, 2006 03:09 PM Jan Bra�na said:

    Only 1000 miles? :) I love road trips. This one to England and Wales was approx 2500 miles, as well as the one to Denmark or this to Spain, Portugal and Gibraltar with its 4500 miles. (The routes on ViaMichelin are only estimative.) It's fun, I prefer them to airplanes if I can and have time.

  5. #5 On January 8, 2006 04:53 PM Nick Cowie said:

    About 60% of the way to the nearest city.

    I live in Perth, Western Australia the most isolated city in the world and the nearest city is Adelaide 2700km / 1700 miles away.

    I like my roadtrips too. Not here in Australia, too flat, too boring. Last time in the US it was 6 weeks and 9,000 miles.

  6. #6 On January 8, 2006 05:21 PM Justin Perkins said:

    I just got back from driving from Austin to Sacramento, CA and back again (3600 miles round trip), now that's a road trip. Tuscon seems to be the stopping point for lots of people on the great southwest trek, I know I stayed there too :)

  7. #7 On January 8, 2006 05:22 PM Henri Bergius said:

    I've taken quite a few roadtrips in Europe and Asia Minor before, but the next one will be from Helsinki to Gibraltar on 50cc Honda Monkey "motorbikes". A bit more than 1000 miles, sure, but ought to be a lot of fun!

    The lonely hours sitting on motorcycle, surrounded by amazing scenery are sometimes a welcome diversion from the regular (and fun) web work.

  8. #8 On January 8, 2006 06:32 PM Philroche said:

    I've been on a few long road trips, up and down east cost Australia, around New Zealand, From Ireland to the north of Norway, The length of france, across a few states in deep south USofA.

    A road trip I have dreamed of (a dream which I have stolen from my dad) is a trip Spitsbergen in the very north of Norway.

  9. #9 On January 8, 2006 06:57 PM Malarkey said:

    I think it's amazing how little 1000 miles really is. From my house, Haroldswick is as far as I can go without crossing onto the continent, but for so many people it's a short trip.

    I hadn't really looked into Haroldswick before I wrote this post and thought afterwards about doing a little more research.

    It seems that the ferry services to Shetland, Yell and Unst are very good and inexpensive too. The only hotel on Unst (the northern most island) is the Baltasound Hotel. You know what? The more I think about it, the more this trip gets more appealing.

  10. #10 On January 8, 2006 09:25 PM Phil Sherry said:

    I live in Stockholm at the moment, as you can see, so there's plenty of scope for driving 1000 miles here. All I'd have to do first, is learn to drive... ;)

  11. #11 On January 8, 2006 09:51 PM Chris Neale said:

    Nearest I could get to 1k miles in the UK - n.b. I don't live in Cornwall :

    Google Route.

  12. #12 On January 8, 2006 11:41 PM Matt Robin said:

    Yeah - we're a bit limited in Blighty aren't we Andy! Hmmm, it's sort of drive around in a circle type of thing or...what I'd do: drive to the south-coast, take the Chunnel and then drive across europe....1000 miles from Hertfordshire (for me) would set me down somewhere in or near Italy wouldn't it? (And that seems far better than icey-cold Shetland Isles....instead of being out-numbered by the local seagulls, I'd be out-numbered by gorgeous, hot Italian women instead...much better!!!)


  13. #13 On January 8, 2006 11:44 PM Adam Bramwell said:

    Just this morning a friend invited me on a five day road trip from where I live in Newcastle, Australia to Adelaide. This would be about 2000 miles return. From what I gather, the trip is just for shits and giggles and he wants to be back by friday.

    Might be fun!

  14. #14 On January 8, 2006 11:45 PM Matt Robin said:

    Longest road-trip I ever did was in the U.S. and covered a total of over 4000 miles....now THAT was a long way!
    (Was spread out over a week).

  15. #15 On January 9, 2006 06:49 AM Andrea said:

    Once I had to move from North Carolina to Seattle, about 2900 miles. We had a dog and a cat and all our worldly possessions in a U-Haul moving truck with us.

    The amazing thing was that this took me across the whole US , and through 12 states. Today, I could start driving south from my house in Northern California, drive more than 1000 miles south and never leave the state.

  16. #16 On January 9, 2006 09:27 AM Kev mears said:

    I think I'd like to go round the edges. I've always fancied riding my bicycle around Wales. All the crinkly bits around a coastline would probably add up to quite a bit.

    Now that my back seems to be hurting more, I'm looking covetously at a scooter. Then I could do a 1000 miles in a stylish Italian sort of way.

  17. #17 On January 9, 2006 09:35 AM Malarkey said:

    @ Chris: Almost 1000 miles. Maybe going around the same roundabout (as I'm famed for doing) could bump it up.

    @ Andrea: Geez, that was some move!

    @ Mearso: Get yerself a Lambretta or Vespa and I might come with you!

  18. #18 On January 9, 2006 11:15 AM Jan Bra�na said:

    [17] Man, that's a great idea, you can ride several hundred miles on the one in Swindon :P

  19. #19 On January 9, 2006 07:37 PM Mike WS said:

    Just over 17 years ago I drove, with tea, sandwiches and almost (but not quite) the kitchen sink, from southern England to the southern slopes of the Pyrenees and have not looked back. It was more than 1000 Kms but slightly less than 1000 miles.
    Not so much a car journey, more a life's journey :)

  20. #20 On January 9, 2006 10:52 PM Anura said:

    One of the things I find interesting is how your home country dominates what you think about distances.

    As other's have mentioned, in Australia long distances don't worry us. Last week I drove from Canberra to Sydney (~600kms round trip) just for the day to see the Test Match. Sure, the roads are good which helps, but I've driven to Melbourne (~1,300kms round trip) just for the weekend.

    When we were in the UK, we drove around 2,500kms - not in a straight line of course but back and forth. People were amazed at the distances we covered - Lake District to York in only 1 day?!? Are you Aussies crazy?!?

    So, with 1,000 miles and a flask, where would I choose? Well, in the chilly winter of Canberra I always long for the warmth of Townsville - no frosts there!

  21. #21 On January 9, 2006 11:02 PM MJ said:

    So I've done an additional 900+ miles and arrived in austin today.

  22. #22 On January 9, 2006 11:14 PM stuart young said:

    dinnae go to shetland mate, go to orkney, much better, plus you can go and see the amazing Skara Brae.


  23. #23 On January 9, 2006 11:17 PM Malarkey said:

    @ MJ: "So I've done an additional 900+ miles and arrived in austin today. "

    Yes I see that. I track the movements of all my visitors by satellite by tapping into their phone's GPS. Now pull over and let that bus get past you! :)

  24. #24 On January 10, 2006 02:01 PM Peter Holloway said:

    Speaking as an expat Belfast man, the best road trips, of course are round the coast of Ireland. If I were you Malarkey, I'd head to Holyhead for the ferry and then drive north from Dublin up through Belfast, up the coast road to the Giants Causeway and then keep on going round to Donegal with its Atlantic views. Just keep following the coast southwards until you hit the bottom and then come back up to Dublin.

    OK, it's not in a straight line, the scenery is stunning and the attitude to life is soooo laid back.

  25. #25 On January 10, 2006 04:57 PM Ted Drake said:

    With no agenda, a big gas tank, and industrial strength pepto-bismal, I'd head south to the center of Mexico and travel along the dusty trails.

  26. #26 On January 11, 2006 04:21 PM Rob Wilmshurst said:

    And.. I would walk five hundred miles and I would walk five hundred more!...

    I'm very sorry. Couldn't help it.

    I'm planning a road trip to John O' Groats this summer which'll hopefully be quite a larf.
    ( I live in Portsmouth so it's something like 700 miles each way...)

  27. #27 On January 12, 2006 01:01 AM els said:

    Interesting topic. I was born in Holland and moved to the USA (New England) 16 years ago. My first big trip in America was from Boston, Massachusetts to Princeton, New Jersey. Including lunch, it took 7 hours to get there. With my small country mindset, I sure thought I had crossed the USA halfway. When I looked at the map , I realized for the first time how BIG this country is. Something most Dutch (and Europeans) do not always realize when they visit.

  28. #28 On January 12, 2006 07:13 PM Sean Fraser said:

    I would like to drive from Los Angeles to Honolulu. I'll have to wait until the bridge has been completed (with it's requisite motor courts, of course).

  29. #29 On January 14, 2006 04:24 AM Sally Carson said:

    Bummer I'm late to the post. I'm with Kev mears -- get yourself a good steel frame bike and some comfortables handlebars. By bike would be amazing -- life changing.

    I rode with 2 friends from the Canadian border in Maine to the southern tip of Florida in Miami on my bike in 3 weeks, about 100 miles a day straight on through, just shy of 2,000 miles.

  30. #30 On January 15, 2006 09:45 PM Neal said:

    1015 miles got me to Sirmione on the west coast of Lake Garda from my old home in Hampshire. The route took me through France, Germany and some cracking scenary in the Austrian/Italian Alps. Definitely do something similar again...

  31. #31 On January 18, 2006 05:40 PM Jamie said:

    I'm from Shetland, and would whole heartedly recommend a visit, especially at this time of year. Plenty of long nights out at the local fire festivals!

    Longest i ever drove was (after the 14 hour ferry trip) from Aberdeen down to Newcastle then on to the M25 and Royal Tunbridge Wells before finishing up somewhere outside Reading, 6 in the morning til midnight in one go, i wouldn't advise it though, Motorway driving is boring.