Land's End to John o' Groats is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities, in the southwest and northeast. The traditional distance by road is 874 miles (1,407 km) and takes most cyclists 10 to 14 days; the record for running the route is nine days. Off-road walkers typically walk about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) and take two or three months for the expedition. Two much-photographed signposts indicate the traditional distance at each end.
The first recorded end-to-end walk (actually from John o' Groats to Land's End) was undertaken by the brothers John and Robert Naylor in 1871. Since then the walk has been undertaken many times, more particularly since 1960, after a well-publicised road walk by Dr Barbara Moore. In 1960 the entrepreneur Billy Butlin organised a road walking race, which gave further impetus to the idea.
Since the 1960s, walkers have mostly chosen off-road routes, using the growing network of long-distance footpaths. A classic account is from 1966 by the travel writer John Hillaby. Off-road walkers usually complete the journey in two to three months. There is a considerable choice of off-road routes, but all are much longer than the shortest road distance, usually 1,200 miles (1,900 km) or more. The walk is still undertaken by road walkers, often doing the walk, like Sir Ian Botham, for charity, or as a "challenge walk". They typically take a month or even less.
Some walkers aim to complete the route piecemeal, perhaps over several years, to achieve the walk within the time constraints of a working life and before the possible health problems of retirement.