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3D Route in Google Earth

Google Earth showing the view northeast from Land's End to John o'Groats
Looking along the route from Land's End towards distant John o'Groats

If you'd like to enjoy the experience of walking from Land's End to John o'Groats without leaving your armchair, then you can do just that using Google Earth (which you can download for free). I've put together a file containing details of my route that you can load into Google Earth, and fly along the route in three dimensions, zooming in on places of interest and examining every single footstep of my walk as if you were a bird. All you need to do is:

And hey presto! Google Earth loads up my route, ready for you to explore. Enjoy!

Some Basic Instructions

Google Earth showing the start of the Pennine Way
The route is marked with start points, end points and places of interest, each of which has a short description

For detailed instructions on using Google Earth, I refer you to the Help system that comes with the software, but here's a quick guide on using my route file.

Using the Places Panel

Google Earth showing the Great Glen and Loch Ness
The highlands of Scotland are particularly three-dimensional, especially around Loch Ness and the Great Glen

Along the left-hand side of the application you should be able to see the Places panel. This lists all the different sets of placemarks in my route file, and by ticking and unticking the various boxes, you can hide or show various types of feature, namely the route itself, the accommodation stops, and points of interest along the way.

Taking a 3D Walk Along the Route

Google Earth showing a close-up of Dovedale
You can zoom in on some areas in great detail, as in this example that shows my route through Dovedale

If you want to follow the route in 3D, first make sure the 'Terrain' box in the 'Layers' pane is ticked (or, for earlier versions, tick the 'Terrain' box below the main screen). This makes hilly country appear in 3D, though the flatter parts of the country will only look hilly if you zoom in very close.


Here are a couple of caveats when using my Google Earth route file:

That's it – I hope you enjoy exploring the route.