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LEJOG – Take Two

Two weeks on two wheels.

If there is one iconic end-to-end trip on every cyclist’s bucket list, it has to be Land’s End to John O’Groats. There is simply no better way to enjoy the breath-taking beauty of our splendid isle than on two wheels.

Three musketeers became two

It is something that every rider should consider at least once – I have just been daft enough to complete it for a second time. With travel restrictions ruling out an overseas cycle in 2021 and a couple of my cycling buddies already booked on, I decided to sign up, head south… and then north, all over again.

My itinerary was a ‘relatively’ leisurely 72 miles per day, over 14 days and with the comfort of a support van, so no need to cart heavy paniers or pitch tents at the end of a hard day’s ride. I travelled with Peak Tours (Lorraine and I have used them previously) and I cannot recommend them highly enough. Peak Tours run great value cycling trips throughout the UK and Europe and pamper their guests, including a mobile feed station.

Trusty Tarmac watching the St Michael's Mount

That said there was the small matter of 1012 miles to cycle. Unlike my previous expedition in 2017, I and my 25 fellow riders were blessed with dry conditions and most importantly a helpful prevailing tailwind from the South West for most of the way.

From Lairg to Altnaharra - stunning

There were many highlights. The up and downs of the South Cornish Coast and the brooding majesty of Dartmoor. The forgotten worlds of the Welsh Marches and being billeted overnight in the sleepy border town of Clun. The green rolling fringes of the Yorkshire Dales. And you are never short of a good view (or climb) in Scotland. That’s not to mention mile after mile of new tarmac ( or ‘almost new’ in my case), new friendships, swapping cycling stories and discovering new corners of the country you never knew existed.

Forth Rail Bridge, Edinburgh

And there were inevitably incidents on route. One of my two compatriots headed home early with a fractured rib after a fall in Bristol. The joy of living out of a suitcase for 15 nights wore thin after a while, as did the appalling road surfaces in Scotland (25mm tyres are too hard). Ironically the two tackiest places we visited were Land’s End and John O’ Groats.

Bigger tyres needed next time

I return fitter, faster, very tired and with happy memories of the good times (and the bad bits blanked out).

BTW, I won’t be the only NRC member completing this challenge in 2021. A small group of NRC riders take on a similar challenge in early September in the Deloitte Ride Across Britain Ride. They will average just over 100 miles a day and have my respect and sympathy in equal measure. Good luck chaps – you are in for a treat!

John Murrell

LEJOG 1-15 August 2021



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