Sunday, June 2, 2013

Day 21: Melvich to John o'Groats

From Melvich I passed Dounreay, site of the famous fast breeder (picture). Obviously, I wore a radiation suit for cycling. After all, can't do any harm, and cycling is DANGEROUS, and the fact that the suit split after I passed the reactor PROVES IT SAVED MY LIFE. I think radiation suits for cyclists should be compulsory. And wearing the suit stopped people seeing I don't wear a helmet.

As I was staying in Thurso tonight, I left most of my luggage as I passed through for the 40-mile round trip to John o'Groats. With a generous tailwind, the north-coast hop was delightful, with some scenic views of the craggy coast such as Dunnet, and yes, I have (picture).

So, I arrived at John o'Groats at noon (picture) - about the same time as two other End to Enders, the right types, who'd cycle-camped it. We shared a bottle of bubbly and cheese sandwiches and swopped yarns for three hours while we waited for the wind to drop, which it didn't. Hello Steve hello Keith if you're reading this.

I went to Duncansby Head to ensure I'd done the northeasterliest point, and slogged back in a two-hour headwind to Thurso. And that, ladies and gentlemen, was that. The arrival in JoG marked the...

Completion of the Scottish End-to-End
and the
Completion of Land's End to John o'Groats
and hence the
Completion of the End to End to End to End.

It's been a fabulous trip. Well done bike: no punctures, no mechanicals, no problems at all. Well done Rob: no injuries, no accidents, no existential crises. Well done tent, mostly, though having spotted the millimetre-sized hole in the groundsheet, I now know why I woke to the occasional puddle by the entrance.

And it was a wonderful cross-section of England, Scotland and Scotland, good bad and average, in three parts - the English E2E, Dunbar to Stranraer, and the Scottish E2E - with some awesome scenery and delightful personal encounters. One of the highlights of my cycling life, for sure.

Miles today: 62
Miles from Mull of Galloway to John o'Groats: 460
Miles from Land's End to John o'Groats: 1368
Miles since starting at Penzance: 1402

Punctures: 0
Midge bites: 0
Pairs of gloves lost: 0.5
Insects swallowed: 6
Nights camped: 12

Best beer: Loch Ness Dark, Loch Ness Inn, Drumnadrochit
Worst beer: Belhaven, rest of Scotland

Best scenery: Tough, but probably Glencoe, then Great Glen
Worst scenery: Dismal outskirts of Winsford, Cheshire

Total money found in road: 26p (20p used to buy campsite shower at Stranraer; 5p reinvested in wishing well outside Dunbar; 1p reinvested in wishing well in Invermoriston)

Best Sustrans cycle path: West Loch Lomond cycleway
Worst Sustrans cycle path: Paisley - full of glass

• Small ferries on Cornwall south coast • Cheddar Gorge • Severn gorge • Night at Si and Sue's • Across causeway to Holy Is • Downhill to Innerleithen • Downhill to Moffat • Wildcamp at Clatteringshaws Loch • Mull of Galloway • Wetherspoons Ayr • Wildcamp at Loch Lomond • Loch Lomond cycle path • Glencoe scenery • Great Glen scenery • Crask Inn, A836 • Arriving JoG


  1. Utterly fabtastic. So jealous. Will have to join you in retirement.

  2. Well done, I've really enjoyed following this blog and shall miss the daily updates and tales of progress. Given that you've had such a fab time on the bike the natural question I've got is: are you cycling all the way back?

  3. Tempting, honestly it is! But no - train back home which, given the intricacies of bike-space-booking, means Thurso to Inverness on Tue night, and Inverness to York (=home) on Wed morning!

  4. I'm sure you can find some more Loch Ness Dark in Inverness...