Good food for thought, sturmason (despite your caps lock being "stuck" -- ouch! [img][/img] )

There are pros and cons for prebooking -- one con being exactly what you described: being shattered because you have to walk as far as your prebooked accommodation for that day.

The opposite situation is the one where you've walked all day, are very tired, and now there is no accommodation available because you didn't prebook.

You have to decide which scenario is worse, and prebook (or not) accordingly.

However, there can be other factors in making that decision, based on the specific path, the available accommodation on that path, and the timing (is it a busy time of year for that path? is it the weekend?), etc.

One idea is to pre-book the first night, so that you know you'll get a good start. Then, only prebook as necessary for the places where you know accommodation is sparse, or is likely to be booked.

When we walked part of the ODP last year, we had no trouble finding accom in the good-sized towns, but we were walking at a fairly non-busy time of year. But, there were portions of the path where we wanted to stop in a fairly remote area. We prebooked those B&Bs, and we were glad we did, because there would have been no accom available had we just turned up at the end of the day.

Or, here's another idea -- we found that our mobile phone signal was good in many areas on the ODP. If you have a mobile, you could take it along with a phone list of accommodations. As you progress during each day, you'll have a better idea of where you want to finish that day. You can then phone B&Bs in the early afternoon to ensure you have a place to stay that night. It will at least give you a head start on people who turn up at the end of the day.

Best wishes on your planning. Feel free to e-mail me if you have questions.

[This message has been edited by HikeMania (edited 22 April 2005).]