|Some of the stars that my phone camera spotted
|Some of the stars that my phone camera spotted
|Milling in progress (electric powered)
How lucky have we been, we set off at 8.15, 16°C and a south westerly wind.
Along the A836 past Crask Inn over the river Mudale before turning east onto the B873. With a good tail wind we made fast progress along Loch Naver. The skies gradually darkening overhead and across the Loch.
We then headed north once more, climbing up to Bettyhill where we got wonderful views of the sea. Travelling east again, along the coast for our last and final 46 miles. Stopping at Hallandale Inn at Melvich for lunch.
Our final brew stop was at Thurso ( 75 miles). The sight of the red brew van will be missed, as it has been a big part in breaking the 1000 mile journey into small, manageable bite sized pieces.
With the wind behind us and John O’Groats ahead we made fast progress to The Seaview Hotel where we all met.
The whole group, of the 18 (out of 20) of us remaining, gathered together to complete the last 400 meters as one.
Wow - what an amazing challenge and adventure it has been.
Janice and Fiona
We started the day in a slightly cool Grantown on Spey with wet roads due to overnight rain. However, it was straight up a hill to start so we soon warmed up and in no time the sun burned through and dried the roads.
By the time we were approaching Inverness it was another day of glorious blue skies and warm hot sunshine.
After leaving Inverness and crossing Kessock Bridge we rode on the banks of the Beauly Firth with beautiful views of the Firth and the hills beyond.
Lunch was at Batty’s Baps in Dingwall and by now it was hot so we felt the climb out of town. We were still feeling yesterdays big climbs in our legs and by now most things hurt so the miles after lunch were achieved with willpower.
We had an afternoon stop with one of the best views, overlooking an estuary (2nd photo) and shortly after we descended and crossed Bonar Bridge.
The miles continued but eventually (and gratefully) we reached Lairg, our stop for the night.
91 miles and 4,065 ft.
The morning was misty as we left Perth crossing over the river Tay.
Immediately into climbs along the A93, following the Tay and encountering quite long stretches of smooth tarmac.
By the time we stopped to refuel at 23 miles just over the bridge at Cally, the sun was out.
Climbing upto Glenshee, the temperature also climbed and reached 28 degrees. Jaw dropping scenery, good roads enabled us to reach the top and then cruise down to lunch at Braemar.
After lunch we passed over the river Dee and past Balmoral.
On tired legs we then turned onto the B976 for some brutal climbing up to the ski resort of Lecht. The scenery continued to be stunning but we were in survival mode and less able to appreciate it!
It was then a short 20 miles to Grantown on Spey, with one or two fairly large bumps to keep our legs pumping.
A truly spectacular morning and a truly gruelling afternoon .
Toughest day so far, despite lower mileage and ascent than some other days.
95 miles and 7874 feet climbing
Day 7 saw us leave Moffat and go straight into a 5 mile hill climb. Sometimes this isn’t information you want to see flashing up on your garmin! Luckily it was long rather than steep so we steadily made progress.
We’d decided to take it easy today as we have a big day tomorrow but there was a headwind and we had the chance to join in with a larger group deciding that their increased pace was a fair trade off for lesser effort needed in the wind.
We made rapid progress to Edinburgh where we had our lunch stop. It was chaotic as a cruise ship had just come in but we all managed to eat in the end.
After lunch we had the pleasure of crossing the Forth Road Bridge, with no traffic and spectacular views.
|View of The Forth Road Bridge with a cruise ship in the distance
It was onward and quite often upward as we rode mostly minor roads and through small villages, sometimes with a group but we noticed even the fast ones had slowed considerably. By now most people are suffering aches and pains from their saddle, neck, hands, wrists, knees…take your pick!
We cycled through Kinross, a pretty town and finally arrived in Perth, glad to be there.
101 miles and 4,843ft elevation.
A fantastic day of sunshine with a high of 28 degrees.
We set off from Crosthwaite in the Lake District, passing through picturesque Bowness, Windermere on our left and within an hour we were climbing up Kirkland Pass - what an absolute treat, breathtaking views. We had a welcoming committee of friends and dogs at the top.
Descending down was a bit precarious as the road conditions were poor. Our “brew stop” was on the edges of Ullswater. Sunshine and fantastic scenery.
Just 12 miles south of Carlisle, two of our group had a nasty collision on a descent - which required a visit to hospital. one diagnosed with a bruised lung and the other with a fractured collar bone.
The rest of us then continued on to Dalston for lunch where a good lunch of soup, sandwiches and cake was laid out for us.
The afternoon remained sunny as we went along the A69 before entering into Scotland.
Travelling through Gretna Green, bypassing Lockerbie, through Annan and finally arriving in Moffat.
A shorter day of 95.5 miles and 5973 feet of climbing.
We climbed up and then of course had a very long descent more or less to sea level just so we could really feel the benefit of the following 1,400ft hill top. I’m probably exaggerating about the sea level but that’s certainly how it felt as it was a very hot arduous climb. However, the views were of course amazing!
Long descents followed, although there was always a little up to keep the legs working. On one, somewhere near Clitheroe, Fiona was met by friends on holiday in the area. After that we had lunch at Dunsop Bridge which apparently is the exact middle of the UK.
The scenery and sunshine stayed amazing for the rest of the day as we went from Lancashire, briefly into Yorkshire and finally Cumbria. The climbs and descents kept on coming but with them the views.
We were very tired and after a hard day we arrived in Crossthwaite for the evening.
95 miles and 7,457ft.
A long day with over 6000 feet of climbing ( we were all referring to it as our “rest day”! )
We travelled through varied countryside, enjoying the scenery particularly around Ironbridge. Lunch was laid on for us at a village hall. We then continued to travel north, dipping our toes back into Wales before heading up to Warrington, along cycle paths, underpasses, a beautiful park and finally to our hotel. Where we both have enjoyed a well deserved massage.
Leaving Glastonbury was almost a relief as it had seemed a very odd place and the final dealings with it at breakfast didn’t disappoint with scenes and a waitress reminiscent of Fawlty Towers.
We were out into the sunshine and soon passing through the delightful Wells and past the incredible cathedral.
It wasn’t long before we were climbing and as we did we hit the low cloud which turned drizzle into rain which we hadn’t been expecting. After 19 miles we met the ‘brew van’, always a welcome sight!
After that there was more climbing and then the spectacular cycle across the Clifton suspension bridge which afforded amazing views although as we were in traffic we couldn’t stop to take a photo.
It was to be a day for bridges as we then went over the old Severn Bridge and into Wales. I was hoping for a photo of the ‘Welcome to Wales’ sign but there wasn’t a sign so maybe we weren’t?
There must’ve been climbing, the hills were beginning to blur into one, or maybe I was feeling delirious, then happily we had a very long descent for several miles to Tintern Abbey, with a cafe lunch stop
The afternoon ride was still hilly but the sun came out and the scenery was stunning. We had great views from the top of hills, passed many apple orchards in Herefordshire and then through the black and white town of Ledbury
Eventually and very gratefully we arrived in Bewdley, our stop for the evening
It has been a tiring day as there was a bit of a headwind, nothing major but as we were straight into it all day it was quite energy sapping. But memorable for the contrast in weather, scenery and counties.
Starting off from Plymouth, grey clouds but no rain. We quickly climbed out of Plymouth and onto Dartmoor. Stunning scenery and rolling hills.
A familiar sight leading the way through The National Park.
We covered the majority of our 6000 feet of climbing in the morning.
Arrived at the lunch stop at Broadhembury .
Having filled our stomachs it was straight into a steep, long hill climb.
An afternoon of sunshine through the Somerset Levels to Glastonbury. A good second day.
A couple of people asked if we’d do a blog post each day so here’s Day 1. We’ll take it in turns over the next 10 days.
After months of cycling the usual rides, longer rides, back to back rides and weeks of getting the bike ready, checking the forecast and planning the packing accordingly, then re-planning as it changed to wetter/drier/colder/warmer weather Day 1 of cycling LEJOG had finally arrived.
We were relieved to get started despite the rain and fog and thankfully it was fairly warm with the wind mostly in the right direction.
We’d met the rest of our tour group, about 18, over dinner the night before and then throughout the day at the 2 feed stations and over lunch. By the last few miles we’d fallen in with a small group of similar cycling speed.
Lands End was bleak but we took the photo.
I’m sure there were sights to be seen en route but unfortunately the fog meant we couldn’t see them. St Michaels Mount was a gloomy dark shape and not worth stopping for a photo but occasionally the fog and then the rain lifted and once we even saw blue sky for a few minutes! There were 3 ferry rides which made a nice break from cycling
Overall we cycled 104 miles and 8,665ft (which is the reason this isn’t too coherent)!
We’re looking forward to tomorrow as the forecast is so much better.
|Nene valley railway
|Camp site overlooking Rutland Water