LEJOG

LEJOG Day 14 > John o Groats

A lot of happy people waking up this morning a bit like your last day at school. Even those who’ve had doubts at times cautiously felt they were going to succeed. Team blue/white were in pink/white this morning and were spotted doing exercises. Team Wimps responded doing the Hokey Pokey.

No I’ve no idea why they were caged in. Don’t worry though they did escape.

We made it as far as Helmsdale this morning for second breakfast. The guy was just opening his cafe and getting his shopping in as I pulled up outside. The first big climb of the day was not far away now and fuel was needed. ( Team Sky….. take note ). Helmsdale climb came and went and wasn’t bad at all. Only one more climb left before I’ve bragging rights I rode every hill.

Waiting at the bottom if the Berriedale climb for the rest of the team I was tempted.

But resisted 😁 Berriedale was steep, I did stop to take a picture, but did ride it all.

So this was Sutherland and next up Caithness. I wasn’t disappointed here as it’s always looked cold and bleak. It really was cold and bleak and I guess this was summer.

The target was soon in sight and rolling into JoG there was team pink/white holding a loo roll banner across the road for us to break. Thanks lads, if ever one of you reads this blog, we loved it.

Further down the road our wonderful, fantastic, indispensable support ladies were waiting for us and our team van behind.

Chris ….top man

WE DID IT ! Sadly two of our Wimps didn’t get this far and we feel gutted for them and remembered them on the finish line.

Tents up and showered there was only one fitting end to this epic ride. Pub and meal, the Seaview Hotel did us proud and there were the Bristol students in matching t shirts.

Total milage 929miles

Total climbing 31,000 ft

Top speed 47mph coming off Helmsdale

First … time I’ve e ridden a LEJOG

Summary: I’ve had a wonderful 14 dry sunny days riding my bike with a most wonderful bunch of people. The laughs we have had would be a tonic for anyone. We’ve had high days, not just in climbing, and low days as I expected. The morning we rode from Ludlow to Shrewsbury through the Shropshire hills was the most outstanding.

Day four getting around Bristol heading for Dursley will always remain as a very low point. That day still bugs me and maybe one day I’ll get to grips with it. My current thoughts are it’s down to personal expectations. The only advice I will give to anyone reading this blog intending to ride with a group is don’t allow others expectations to spoil yours.

Worthy of mention I finished this ride without a single ache or pain not even a saddle sore. Never had to resort to painkillers ( unlike some) and I attribute it to 18 months of Pilates. A big thank you to Amy Henderson http://www.pilateswithjane.co.uk/. Without her classes I doubt I’d ever got there.

If you’ve read my blog from the start I know you will be wondering “What about those five pences?” They arrived in John o Groats safe and sound I’ve heard tell they are waiting for a ferry to the Orkneys.

10:30pm JoG
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LEJOG Day 13> Brora

There was a campers kitchen on site last night. I made full use of it this morning. Following the usual porridge with a fried egg roll. As we were packing to leave two 5 pences were found in the grass. Not the original two but completely new adventurers.

Second breakfast was 10 ml in after crossing the Kessock Bridge.

There we met an Israeli couple following the Cicerone LEJOG route. If that route wasn’t tough enough they were using Bromptons

Minutes later team blue/white went by with a large cheer. Shortly after leaving here we met a German lady on her JOGLE. choice of route is now limited and we all meet with the same mission.

Today has been a succession of bridges water and wind.

Arriving at our campsite tonight in Brora brought a cheer from team blue/white (Bristol students) who are staying here tonight also.

It’s sad tomorrow is our last day of riding countered with a great feeling of achievement.

The glove count came to an end in Scotland because of dwindling numbers. Sadly though the number of birds of prey laying dead on the roadside is shocking.

The traffic was held up in Tain today with, no not bloody cyclists, but a pigeon standing on the road.

Returning to bikes for LEJOG how about this beauty just the job for Drumochter yesterday.

First night I’ve not had to wash out a pair of shorts

Location location here’s the view from my tent tonight.

my mileage tonight is 865. What will it be tomorrow night?

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LEJOG Day 12>Craggie

Sounded like England scored some penalties last night as I was dropping off. A good start this morning and made it to Dalwhinnie for the 2nd breakfast. We had a full Scottish while a cycle tourist we met along the way had 3 pints of Lager.

While we were there a group of cyclists in blue/white tops rode by. We saw these guys leaving Lands End as we arrived.

Next opportunity we had the obligatory ice cream stop. Who was sitting there having lunch but the Map Man. He had started an hour earlier than us. I think that’s the last we’ll see of him.

Next stop Aviemore for sandwiches from Aldi. We spotted the blue/white shirts in Tesco car park and had a chat. They are on a 14 day schedule too and have the same stop, Brora, as us on Thursday night. The combined age of ten of them will equal less than four of us but I feel there could be some competition on Friday.

First day we’ve had a small shower of rain.

First camping site I’d return to. http://www.auchnahillin.co.uk/

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LEJOG Day11>Blair Atholl

We’ve had various dawn choruses from blackbirds to peahens. This morning’s at 4:30 was worthy of a shotgun. Gulls outside the tent with the loudest cry yet.

The cool wind of yesterday quickly turned to our accustomed heat as we headed for Perthshire and the Highlands. A Wetherspoons in Perth appeared just when needed for the second breakfast.

I called into the Bean Shop to thank them for a speedy order to send me on this journey with their blend 67. Sports Direct cropped up on route too so Nick got some new shoes.

Shopping done we had a couple of short necessary spells on the A9 to reach beautiful alternatives.

We crossed a community owned bridge into Ballinluig. On the other side a sign said Pitlochry 5mls. A further three miles a sign said Pitlochry 7mls or the other direction Pitlochry 9mls. Thinking we had fallen into The Pitlochry triangle when a guy on his bike appeared from yet another direction. This guy was serious he had paper maps. This guy was also doing LEJOG yet he’d come from a different direction. Off he went on Pitlochry 7mls we returned on our road back to Pitlochry 5mls. I hope you are following this. Back at the 5 mile post Deliberating which way to progress and escape the triangle our man with the maps turned up and confidently climbed a lane we had ruled out. There we were half way through a pint in Pitlochry and there going the opposite way to how we had arrived was the map man. He’s going to John O Groats too. We wish him luck.

First .. Wetherspoons

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LEJOG Day10 >Kinross

We are fortunate we’ve not had to worry about bikes overnight as we’ve been able to house them in the van. We got a shock this morning when we opened up to get the bikes out. There on the floor was a 5p. So now there is confusion over which is the original 5p. After consultation it’s been decided to carry on with both. We are confident one of them will slip it’s guard and be revealed as an imposter.

Fairly uneventful ride, if a little slow. A fresh wind in our face all day. First food stop Carnwath Apple Pie bakery. Excellent value and wish I’d bought more of their flapjack. It contains fruit and walnuts with a taste of treacle.

In seeing Tinto hill Nick thought it a mountain.

First day I’ve worn my jacket. Donned it not for the rain but the cold.

No ride statistics tonight as I think I must have inadvertently (stupidly) deleted. Never mind the ride did happen. Another 70 miles on the clock.

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LEJOG Day 9 >Abington

Same as yesterday no routing required as all on my usual roads. Great to be back in Scotland. For us it’s feeling like one of our coolest days and everyone is moaning as to how hot it is. Nah this is not hot.

Reassured by the sign we’ve a lot more than half of it done.

Once again no one believed me when I said Beattock summit is easy so I had a nice 20 minute sleep at the top while they slogged up it.

Midges are giving everyone a traditional Scottish welcome as I write. 😆.

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LEJOG Day 8>Dalston

Let’s start with the firsts ….First campsite to have poor mobile coverage. (being written the day after) Still good to be in Cumbria though.

This could be called the hunger day. We all had our usual breakfast and left Bolton le sands in the customary heat and head wind. Four miles into the ride we stopped for a second breakfast at Truckhaven just out of Carnforth.

Let me tell you about the 5p. When in Cornwall I found 5p and put it in my jersey. The next day I lost it but not to worry as Sloop found it. Later in the day Sloop lost it and there was sadness in the camp.

So here we are sitting outside Truckhaven with eggs on toast and there incredibly laying in the grass is the 5p. So it’s back on board and hoping to make it to JoG.

We then made it as far as Kendal for more food and to take on more water in readiness for the Col de Shap.

No one believes me now when I say this is the last hill. No idea why. I told my group that Shap was nothing to worry about. Their look of disbelief was very obvious. Ah well Shappo to them as they collapsed in a heap at the top. Cracking good climb then onward to Abbey tea rooms in Shap.

I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger with First cyclist in a canal. We were on the Lancaster canal when a salmon (cyclist going against the flow) appeared.

Our first man gave a slow down suggestion to the salmon and said there were 4 more behind. Our second man shouted slow down. The salmon was wearing earbuds and rounded the corner to go under a bridge where he collided with Alisdair ( the racing snake ) Bikes down, men down, and the salmon tries so hard to fight gravity and the inevitable soaking he was due. We pulled him out of the canal and his first worry is his phone! Said it wasn’t as deep as he thought either 😂😂

Taking the lanes above Penrith was pure heaven. Quiet. Beautiful and very little traffic all too soon we reached Dalston.

The glove game reached new levels today. Climbing Shap there is a glove which we decided trumps all other gloves. Class and style surpassing anything we’ve seen. So good we nearly stopped to take it on board. I did say nearly and we were climbing Shap.

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