My little sister and I had a game when we were kids. Our house had more furniture than space. The lounge had bookcases, occasional tables, a sideboard, sofas, chairs. The game was to get around the room without touching the floor. For the floor was lava. We’d climb from table to bookcase, jump on to the sofa, leap from there to a chair. The general aim was to follow the room perimeter but diversions into it were encouraged to climb over something more interesting.
And that’s the basis for Gnarbital. The room is now London, the perimeter its M25 orbital motorway. Main roads are the floor, bridleways the bookcases, byways the tables, tow paths the sofa and lanes the chairs. There’s no wall to bound us now, and my route crosses the M25 more than 30 times on the way round. The aim is to stay close to the motorway but not slavishly so. I wanted the gpx track to look familiar in shape, but always taking the more interesting way over the more direct. So using a bridleway instead of a road, even if the road runs closer. Because it’s not about how quickly you can get around but how much fun you can have on the way.
Video below of the original gnarbital, when I set out at 4am on the longest day to see if I could get all the way round before nightfall: