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End to End Ride

Lands End to John O' Groats

Mark Owen, Kevin Howton and Dave Clarke are cycling from Lands End to John O' Groats. They will cover between fifty and one hundred miles a day.

2nd of May 2010

Day 1. Lands End to Launceston

The start of the journey got off to a poor start when Kevin found that his rear tyre was flat at Land's End. No problems could be found with the inner tube, but 5 miles down the road it had deflated. Replaced and no further issues. Mark's new chain broke after about 35 miles, fortunately Kevin had a power link to fix the chain and just ten minutes was lost. By going from south to north we should have had the prevailing winds behind us, but the ' God of Sod' decided to send a 20 MPH against us, which made the ride somewhat harder. We did about 6,000 feet of climbing in the 88 miles to Launceston, of which 500 foot was actually in Launceston, a town built on a couple of big hills. Remarkably, we managed an average speed of 12.4 mph , which with 9 to 10 Kg of luggage on each bike and the weather, was pretty good. The reputation of the West country for being 'lumpy' is well founded... but the scenery is glorious.

88 miles into a headwind, 6000 feet of climbing, 12.4 MPH average and two mechanicals!

3rd of May 2010

Day 2. Launceston to Churchill

This was the day we all feared, 108 miles from Launceston to Churchill (near Bristol Airport) passing through Exeter. This southerly route was recommended by Mick p on one of the E2E forums as being less 'lumpy' than the northern route through Devon. The elevation profile showed that most of the hills were at the start of the ride and sure enough, the first fifty was tough going. The ride levelled out as we passed Bridgewater and got onto 'The Flats' and good progress was made. Dave was not feeling 100% and struggled towards the end, only having the one pint in the pub (we knew he was not faking it then !!).

We ended up going to the wrong village for our B&B as there was a mistake with the postcode, so after a couple of calls we eventually got there having lost about 45 minutes finding the place. Remarkably, we improved on our average speed slightly, 12.5 MPH for the ride even with the wind still against. There was 5300 feet of climbing, most of which was at the beginning of the ride. Good fun seeing the ' Welcome to Devon' sign and then the 'Welcome to Somerset' sign, we felt like we were making real progress.

Kevin's bike returns to it's birthplace at Bridgwater!

4th May 2010

Day 3. Churchill to Hereford

This was intentionally planned as a shorter ride, but it turned out to be the best ride so far. We left Churchill and soon entered Bristol, passing under the Clifton Suspension Bridge and riding down the fabulous Avon Gorge. We when made our way to the old Severn Bridge and rode over, as we had discussed whilst on the 'Rough Stuff' in Welsh Bicknor last year. It was really good! We then had a lovely ride through Wales and the Wye Valley, passing Tintern Abbey and on to Hereford. Just 3300 feet of climbing, but our average speed remained at 12.5 MPH, probably because we kept stopping to take pictures and the wind still against!! Again, good progress seeing us leave England, enter Wales, then back into England. Everyone was feeling good at the end of this ride.

Kevin and Dave at Bristol in front of the Clifton suspension bridge.

5th May 2010

Day 4.

Hereford to Church Minshull (North of Nantwich).

This was another long ride, 91 miles, but at an average of 13.7 MPH we were at our destination before 5:00 pm. The wind dropped today, but the drizzle/light rain arrived at Market Drayton. It was really pleasant riding, the countryside was 'Classic English', being beautifully lush and relatively flat, although we climbed over 3500 feet. Passed through Herefordshire, Shropshire and we are now in Cheshire. Stopped in Ludlow and had a superb Cream Tea, it doesn't get much better than that !!

6th May 2010

Day 5

At Garstang after a fairly dull ride through the North West. We coved 66 miles at  13.1 MPH in 5 hours, climbing just 1700 feet. We passed Warrington and Wigan, two places you wouldn't visit by choice! Ended up at a farmhouse B&B.

7th May 2010

Day 6

After the dull ride of yesterday, we had high hopes for today. We were not disapointed. The scenery up to Keswick was lovely, but onwards to Penrith it was spectacular, classic Lake District countryside. Only 60.5 miles , with 2945 feet climbed and an average speed of just 11.5 MPH. This was due to Shap at 1400 feet and a huge wind against.

8th May 2010

Day 7

A very scenic ride through the top of the Lake District and the Scottish Borders. We had a cold, strong wind against (again!) but still managed an average speed of 12.7 MPH, climbing over 2000 feet during the 60 mile ride. Lovely sunny day illuminated the mountains beautifully.

9th May 2010

Day 8

Left Moffat early and had a really enjoyable ride through the Borders, following the M74 towards Glasgow. Entering Hamilton all the lovely scenery went and we were cycling through a grotty suburb. As we got closer to the centre of Glasgow, things got even grottier... As it was a Sunday, we were able to get though Glasgow pretty swiftly - I don't want to go back! We finished at Balloch, at the bottom of Loch Lomond. A respectable 77 miles ridden at 12.8 MPH, with 2477 feet of climbing.

Fabulous scenery in the Borders...

At Loch Lomond

10th May

Day 9

We started the day at the bottom of Loch Lomond and had a pleasent 25 mile ride alongside the Loch. We then climbed into The Trussocks, which were beautiful. We then climbed into the Glencoe mountain range and through the spectacular pass. We didn't stop for about 40 miles through this untouched barren section. The descent to Fort William was a welcomb relief and passing Ben Nevis on our way to complete 95 miles was a bonus. We averaged an exceptional 12.9 MPH and climbed 3189 feet.

11th May

Day 10

Yet another fantastic ride. We set off from Spean Bridge and was soon running beside Loch Lochy onto Loch Ness. Gentley undulating roads by the Lochs gave way to massive climb away from Loch Ness. Over a mile of 7% to 16% gradient tested our stamina on the largest climb of the entire trip. The long, fast freewheel down the other side was great! We coved 65.5 miles at a leasurely 12.4 MPH , and 3245 feet climbed.

Dave at Strathpeffer

12th May

Day 11

For the first time on this trip, the wind was with us!! We rode easily and still managed to average 13.7 MPH over the 62 miles we covered today. The scenery was less mountainous and more classic Scottish 'salmon river' like today. Even so, we still climbed 2348 feet. We are all looking forward to the final leg of LEJOG tomorrow!

Invershin viaduct bridge

Glorious Scottish countryside!

13th May

Day 12

Made it !

Congratulations to Mark, Kevin and Dave.

Jolly well Ridden.