On Thursday my Dad and I finally made it to John O’Groats after 17 days of cycling covering 940 miles climbing over 40,000 feet during the trip. No surprise that Mars Bars are my new best friend! What a great journey and I feel chuffed to have completed a big personal challenge and most of all I feel incredibly happy to have enjoyed it so much.
So a (as brief as possible) summary of my adventure followed by the photos I managed to capture when the rain stopped.
The Best Bits
- Cycling from Penzance train station to Land’s End on day one in horizontal rain and gail force winds feeling very alive but slightly crazy.
- Trying to take a photo of myself on my iPhone at Land’s End while my Dad sensibly waited in the dry. It was too wet to get my camera out and I struggled to hold my phone, hence this accidental video while I tried to find photo mode. It looks like I end up in the water and in the weather we had it felt like that Land’s End Movie
- The buzz of cycling, travelling under your own power, harming no one and no thing and covering such a great distance every day.
- Living for nearly 3 weeks with one pannier and one handlebar bag of possessions which gives such a sense of freedom.
- The flowers and hedgerows, especially in the South West.
- Animals (laughing lambs, lamas, beautiful horses, Dartmoor ponies, Shetland ponies, cows, deer, hares, rabbits, chickens, Highland cattle), I spoke to many of them. And I saw so many wonderful birds too.
- Singing. I don’t sing in tune but that doesn’t matter when you’re singing alone on a bike. I loved making up songs about all sorts of things.
- Eating purely for energy and feeling my body burn up food so quickly.
- M meeting us in Stirling then cycling to Aviemore with him through a snow storm and feeling like we were in a little plastic snow-shaker.
- My Dad never tiring so I always had someone ahead waiting for me!
- Finding a post card to ‘Father and Daughter Cyclists’ when we arrived at Sparrowhawk Backpackers Hostel in Moretonhampstead from a lady I’d chatted to briefly in Golant Youth Hostel. She went out of her way to leave this note of congratulations to us for crossing Dartmoor in such horrendous conditions and she wrote that she thought the post card would show us what we couldn’t see in the rain!
- Ali at this hostel who helped us get our stuff dry and posted on my fluorescent band that I left behind.
- Being looked after by the landlady and team at the Bell Inn at Pensax en route to Ironbridge who fed me after the kitchen had closed and were so friendly. The hug helped too.
- Being offered a warm refuge by the staff at the Travelodge and nearby carvery in Telford on the wettest day ever.
- Having our clothes washed and dried by the owner of the Tarras B&B in Lockerbie.
- Receiving lovely texts from special friends and family which gave me such a boost and I don’t think you even realise what a boost you gave!
- Waving to 4 VW camper vans I passed over the journey and having return waves from all 4 – lovely people!
- Waves from an elderly chap on his mobility scooter in Taunton then thumbs up from two guys cycling to work. And many other friendly cyclists and also waving postmen in Scotland.
- My Dad putting up with my slow pace. Thank you Pa.
I think this could be the start of some more cycling adventures. To anyone feeling in need of a little lift, get on your bike and cycle around, it’s the best!