One of our volunteer drivers Bob, is currently riding from Lands End to John O’Groats to raise money for us at Age Concern Hassocks and for Marie Curie. He set off on the 13th May and aims to finish on 14th June. He will be cycling 1000 miles over 4 weeks. We wish him all the best.
You can sponsor him on just giving using the link below.
17/5/17 – Update from Bob – Day 1 – The route takes you along the Cornish coastline which has some fantastic views but some very step hills! 43 miles covered.
Day 2 – The weather could not have been better with blue skies and less wind than yesterday. The mileage today was similar to yesterday but far more hills which made it a tougher day. The route however included a section of the Camel Trail which followed the river and included a section of a disused railway line similar to the Downs Link for those who know it. 41 miles covered.
Day 3 – Had a slight problem navigating around Lauceston a road sign was telling me to turn right and my sat nav telling me to go left I decided to follow the road sign, big mistake, 45 mins later and several miles I arrived back at the same junction! 37 miles.
Day 4 – I have now cycled through Cornwall and Devon and reached Somerset. The mileage so far is approx 165 miles, tomorrow I have a rest day and then I will be off to Bath on Thursday.
24/5/17 Update from Bob
Day 5 – Wellington to Bath, an enjoyable days cycling, the weather proved to be the best so far with blue skies, nice temperature and not a drop of rain!
Day 6 – Got slightly lost coming out of Bath and somehow ended up carrying my bike up and over a pedestrian bridge across a railway line. The route eventually took me through Northern Somerset, Wiltshire, the Cotwolds and finally into Gloucestershire. Several step hills but lots of lovely Cotwold villages including Badminton where they hold the famous 3 day horse trails finally arriving in Gloucester around 4 o’clock. The mileage covered to date is 262 which is just over 25% of the route. Got 2 days of now to look forward to.
Day 7 – Gloucester to Ludlow. It was good to get moving after 2 days off, the route took me through Ledbury, Bromyard, Tenbury Wells and finally into Ludlow. The latter of the two are the most picturesque with the bridge in Tenbury Wells crossing the River Teme (the middle of the bridge marks the Shropshire/Worcestershire county line) and Ludlow is dominated by the massive sandstone castle dating back to 1085.
Day 8 – Today started with a cloudy day in more senses than one with the horrific events that took place in Manchester last night. Today’s ride was the shortest so far only 30 miles with the route taking me through some small towns and villages which included Church Stretton, Frodesley and Condover.
31/5/17 Update from Bob
Day 9 – Another lovely sunny day let’s hope it continues! Today’s route took me into Wales for a short while and back out again. It was fairly flat today so made good time getting to Chester at around 3pm.
Day 10 – The route today took me through the various towns in the North West crossing the Mersey by way of the Runcorn Bridge then through Widnes, St Helens and in to Lancashire arriving at Leyland about 3.30pm.
Day 11 – Today’s route took me through the Cities of Preston and Lancaster with a stop for lunch at Garstang. Tomorrow takes me through the Lake District and up the Kirkstone Pass supposedly the highest mountain pass in England. Somewhere along the route tomorrow I will have cycled 500 miles.
Day 12 – Well my luck with the weather ran out, rain all day heavy at times. The day was the hardest so far, the wet weather and the climb up Kirstone Pass was the toughest on the route a 1300ft gain in elevation over 6 miles! The Kirstone Inn at the top dates back to 1467 which provided a welcome stop for a drink (non acholic). The panoramic views would have been better if the weather was kinder! The 500 miles came up as I arrived into Windermere which was extremely busy dispite the weather.
5/6/17 Update from Bob.
Day 13 – In terms of distance this was the longest day approx 63 miles but it was made easier being fairly flat. The route took me through Carlisle and onto Gretna crossing into Scotland around midday. I was a little under decided if I should if I should change into my tartan lycra or a kilt, I thought best not too as it might upset the locals.
Day 14 – Today’s route totalled 50 miles fewer than yesterday but a more difficult one with a series of three long hill sections. Weather was good only a little light rain at the start but after 20 miles the sun came out making it a really nice day. Tonight’s B&B is on a working farm some 2 miles from any pub so I was fully prepared to get a taxi, but the lady Joyce who runs the B&B very kindly offered to drive me to the pub and then pick me up. She said that she does this on a regular basis as the farm is on the route that many cyclists use who are doing the End to End.
Day 15 – The route took me along mostly B roads and through villages that used to be mining communities until the pits closed down in the eightes such as Drongan. Further on there is Tarbolton where Robert Burns once lived in his early years. The weather was good at the start of the day but just after I had a stop for a coffee in Stewarton the dark clouds appeared causing one or two showers and just as I was arriving into Paisley the heavens opened and I arrived at the B&B like a drowned rat.
Day 16 Paisley to Crainlarich
Well they got the forecast right, heavy rain to start then an improvement early afternoon followed by heavy showers.
Today’s route took me from Paisley over the Erskine Bridge to Dumbarton.
I followed an alternative route just after Dumbarton which took me off the busy 7A82 for a short while along a national cycle route this added an extra 4 miles approx but bearing in mind the weather and how busy the A82 was I think it was a good move.
Back on the A82 just after Balloch the road hugs the Loch edge taking you through the villages of Luss, Tarbet and Ardlui.
I stopped for a sandwich and coffee in Luss a lovely village on the shore of Loch Lomand a shame the sun was not shining arriving in Crianlarich at 4pm.
Tomorrow takes me to Fort William and I think I’m going to get wet again.
Day 17 Cranelarich to Fort William
Well what a day, my luck with the weather changed with torrential rain from the start with headwinds, low cloud and the temperature down from what had been. Not a pleasant day for a bike ride which was not made easier by being on the A82 with logging lorries and coaches passing you sometimes a little too close for comfort and to make matters worse my mobile phone stopped working and I had an issue with the brakes on the bike.
I arrived in Fort William at around 4.15pm very wet with the added problems with the phone and bike.
Having had a quick shower I found the only phone repair shop in Fort William who said would try to repair it if possible and for me to call back at 12 tomorrow. Luckily there was a bike shop a few hundred yards further on and they agreed to have a look at the bike it if I brought it in at 9am.
Wednesday (rest day)
Wednesday a day off and the good news is the the phone and bike are both fixed.
I can report one highlight that came out of yesterday when after a small uphill climb there was a small parking area/viewing point where a number of coaches, campervans and caravans parked. I must have looked in a bit of a state dripping from head to foot, that a Dutch lady and her husband took pity on me and offered me coffee and biscuits in their caravan.
We had a chat for about half an hour and were telling me that in their 4th week of seven travelling around the UK with several friends also in campervans or caravans.
What a great gesture and they even posed for a picture in the pouring rain (that’s proberley where the rain got into my phone).
Thursday I’m off to Drumnadrochit which is on the shores of Loch Ness.
Many thanks for all your best wishes, this time next week I will hopefully be in John O Groats.
Day 18 Fort William to Drum
With the mobile phone working and the bike having had an interim service everything was ready to start the 18th Day of my adventure.
I made an early start as the forecast was for rain mid afternoon so I wanted to get to my destination hopefully before it arrived.
Today’s route took me along the A82 following Loch Lochy going through Spean Bridge where there is a Monument to the British Commandos who trained in the area during World War 2. (Linda and Charles will remember this).
Further on I went through Fort Agustus the southern end of Loch Ness where a photo oppurtunity presented itself with a Highland Piper, at the same spot there was a coach that I recognised as Johnsons of Birmingham on a tour of Scotland, the driver said he had been in Fort William yesterday and had met the actress Julie Walters (a brummy) who was filming in the area.
I finally arrived at Drumnadrochit around 2.30pm, I was dry the phone was dry the bike was working, happy days!!
Tomorrow I’m off to Tain.
Update from Bob 12/6/17
Day 19 – Having survived from being attacked by Nessie I left Drumnadrochit along the A833 which starts with a 3 mile climb but after this there is a 9 mile sweep downhill to a small town called Beauly. The route then joins the busy A9 crossing Cromarty Forth by way of the the Cromarty Road Bridge which is just under 1 mile long. Leaving the A9 after about 5 miles I then go onto minor B roads taking me along the coastline of Cromarty Firth to Overgordon. Here there are huge oil rigs from the North Sea either in for repair or as a local resident told me are redundant due to the falling price of oil. Today I have seen the first road sign saying A9 John O Groats not too far now!!!
Day 20 – Today’s route uses the A9 which is generally busy but being a Sunday this made the road traffic light, making a good cycling day with the weather behaving itself with blue skies, sunshine and a tail wind. This allowed me to arrive in Helmsdale at approx 2pm. You will see from the photos attached Scotland looks better with a little sunshine.
Day 21 Helmsdale to Thrumster
Leaving Helmsdale at 9am the day started of with a tough climb of approx 4 mile which got the old legs warmed up. The route continues downhill for 2 miles and onto to a small village of Berriedale where there is a steeper climb but shorter.
From there the road hugs the coastline and is fairly flat with the bonus of the sun shining and blue skies.
Just before I arrived at the destination the heavens opened and I arrived very wet at the B&B.
It is a great feeling sitting typing this that tomorrow is the day I will arrive in John O Groats.
Wednesday 14th June 2017
BOB HAS FINISHED!!! WELL DONE!!
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