Land's End To John O'Groats, June 2005
Back To Photography
Two weeks cycling from Land's End to John O'Groats, by a fairly inefficient route.
Total: 1033.78 miles in 88:18:13 (11.71 mph)
Longest day: 103.45 miles in 8:24:31 (12.30 mph) - Innerleithen to Ballintuim
Shortest day: 65.06 miles in 5:16:12 (12.35 mph) - Leeds to Neasham
Total days: 13 - plus a rest day
Daily average: 79.52 miles
Total money raised: £1020 for Wateraid and the Multiple Sclerosis Society (actually £1090, as some was raised through some sponsorship website too)
After ten years of saying I was going to do this ride, I finally decided to get on with it before my limbs got too old to cope. Will seemed quite keen to give it a go, and, impressively, set about training himself from being a non cyclist to a long distance tourer in little over a year. Discussing the route, we decided to concentrate on making it a little more interesting rather than just making it a boring slog up the main road. We also thought that it would be more flexible to take tents, so that we wouldn't commit ourselves to being in certain places at certain times, something which turned out to be quite a good idea when we had a fairly bad day one day. We also routed through many towns where we knew people, so that we could get properly fed and have a real bed once in a while. As a bit of an afterthought, we thought it might be worth trying to raise some money for charity too.
Thankyou Letter From Wateraid
Thankyou Letter From The Multiple Sclerosis Society
For those people who keep telling me what a small country we live in, believe me, it's not. Just try cycling from one end to the other, and you will realise what a big place it is. You will also be amazed at what a beautiful country it is. The first half of the route was admittedly very busy, and really the best part of the ride, by far, was the Leeds to John O'Groats bit. Scotland really is one of the most stunning places on the planet.
For anyone interested in challenges and cycling, Land's End to John O'Groats is definitely something worth doing. It's a bit of a slog at times, especially over two weeks, as you spend most of the day cycling rather than looking around and absorbing the atmosphere of the various places you pass through. Taking longer over the route, however, makes it less of a challenge, so you need to find a balance between the two. It's almost worth doing the first half of the route in three or four days, and then taking your time through Scotland. Another way would be to take a much longer route through southern England to avoid the busy bits and make the whole trip much longer.
Thanks first to Richard for inexplicably driving all the way from Exeter to Leeds solely to drive me all the way back down to Land's End. Thanks to Will's parents and Uncle for being so hospitable and welcoming in Cornwall - I have very rarely felt so welcome staying with people I don't know! I will definitely be back! Thanks to Mum and John for putting us up in Droitwich, thanks to Caroline and Barry for feeding us in Yorkshire, and a big thank you to Nick for driving all the way to John O'Groats to pick us up - I never knew my car would go that fast... especially with bikes on the roof. I'm still scraping the carnage of midge death off the front of the car. And finally, thanks to Will for putting up with me for two weeks - that really is quite an achievement! Oh yes, and thanks to all you kind charitable people for sponsoring us.
From Will Huggins
Nick has asked me to say a few words, and apart from reiterating most of what Nick has said - big "thankyous" to all who fed, watered, picked up and sponsored us over our adventure - I would just like to say I had a great time doing it, enjoyed each and every day (well there was this one day in Scotland...) and have since even contemplated doing something similar again.
My Land's End to John O'Groats completion certificate arrived yesterday and even though it's a badly printed and slightly cheap looking piece of card it's already framed and has pride of place on my wall. It was a great experience and personal challenge and actually taught me that if you put your mind to it, you really can achieve anything - who'd have thought!
Finally a big thank you to Nick, who I did not "put up" with, but enjoyed his company throughout the journey and would not have of even attempted such a challenge without him - mainly because it was his idea in the first place!