Photos & blog from Richard Jervis & Stephen Meeks Land's End to John O'Groats ride - August 2013
959 miles................50,500 feet of climbing......................42,400 calories burned !
RICKY'S BLOG : Our training for the LEJOG, was a ride to Bala and back to test our panniers. Unless of course, sanding & coating all floors throughout my house counts as training. I finished my final coat of lacquer at 3am & was up at 6am to meet Steve for the train to Penzance.
DAY 1 started for us, bog-eyed at 6am, wrapping up tents etc. Our start was a 5 mile lumpy ride to get a pic in front of the Land's End signpost before the guy arrived to charge us.
As we left, we saw a big group, all supported by vans and carrying bugger all ! We set off with our 20+ kilos each. Rain set in for the day about 9ish and we dragged ourselves 82 miles over some really hilly Cornish terrain. One hill following another.
St Michael's Mount
DAY 2 saw us leave Tintagel & tackle the extremes of the North Devon & Somerset coast. The ups & downs of 20, 25 & even 30% gradients resulted in us reaching Taunton completely exhausted. The hardest terrain of the whole journey.
DAY 3, and Steve promised us an easier day, but with the two previous days in our legs, it didn't feel easier. We reached Cheddar Gorge & allowed ourselves a half hour to sample hot mulled Somerset cider. This seemed to have an effect & we flew up Cheddar Gorge (or seemed to !). After a long detour around Bristol we crossed the Severn Bridge to arrive at Coleford for the night.
Severn Bridge & a tidy (!) camp site
DAY 4 was a much easier day as we wound up the Wye Valley & through Herefordshire, taking in the great scenery on the way.
DAY 5 was a speedy 60 miler through the familiar Cheshire lanes to get us home for 1230. Then it was an action packed day of washing kit & cleaning & lubing bikes for the next morning.
DAY 6 & we chose to start early up the A6 to get through Preston into the quieter lanes. We climbed Shap Fell fully loaded with the sun beating down, pressing on to Carlisle, to record 117 miles for the day.
DAY 7 was a flatish 124 miles to Stirling, with a sting in the tail in the shape of Campsie Fell. It was enough to test anyone, particularly two loaded LEJOG guys that had underestimated the task of covering 100 miles per day.
DAY 8 was 101 miles through the Scottish highlands from Stirling to Fort William. Setting up camp in Fort William it seemed like a month had passed.
DAY 9 saw us waking up in the freezing shadow of Ben Nevis. Wrapping up tents with numb fingers didn't leave us looking forward to the day ahead. However, within an hour we were in sunshine & working our way up Loch Ness for lunch, before yet another climb over to Dingwall. We arrived about 3pm, the sun was baking & we finally got some time to chill out.
Urquhart Castle on Loch Ness & loaded bikes !
DAY 10 up to Wick was a breeze at 95 miles, & only three notable climbs. We had arrived on the east coast road & the scenery was amazing. We had expected windy, wet, rugged Scottish shores but instead we had clear blue skies & melting tarmac.
DAY 11 was a simple 17 miles from Wick to John O' Groats. We finally had rain that morning, but arrived at 10-15am - job done & pictures to prove it ! We cycled back to Wick for a couple of well earned pints & the train home.
...... Job done ! .............................
We both agreed that if we ever do it again, we would do it at 60-70 mile a day & take longer, to see more places. After a few days rest we can now both look back on quite an adventure.
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