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 Post subject: Lands end to John O Groats 2003
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2005 3:45 pm 
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Location: Wemyss Bay
A Ride from Land's End to John 'O'Groats in 2003

By G.McCarter

Last week four Velo riders cycled from Lands End to John O'Groats in seven days, averaging approx 130 miles per day. Organized by rider Robert McCready who planned the best routes and pre-planned the accommodation for overnight stays to give maximum cycling distance each day.

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On Saturday after driving down the before the 4 riders - Robert McCready ,Danny Boyle, George McCarter and John McPaul - left Lands End and headed for the first stop in Exeter, 118 miles to the north. with an overnight stay in a local youth hostel the group then prepared for the next leg to Tewksbury .

On the way Danny encountered mechanical problems and a diversion into Bridgewater to a local cycle shop was required. A quick repair carried out free of charge by Bike Bitz, and the grateful team headed on, arriving in Tewkesbury early evening.

Monday morning's destination was Warrington . Helped by a south westerly tail wind, the quartet made good time and had an enjoyable ride through villages sticking mainly to B roads arriving in Warrington with a total of 390miles covered. Refreshed for Tuesdays task to Carlisle , the mood was good and realization that Scotland was not that far away gave the group a boost. With dry weather and a favourable wind the group tackled the famous Shap Hill with no problems and arrived in Carlisle safely.

Wednesday's ride took them across the border within an hour and then the climb at Beatock Summit and onto Kinross just north of the Forth Road Bridge , arriving early evening with 650 miles under the belt. Two days to go and they proved to be the hardest of the adventure, Kinross to Inverness . The day's cycling was dominated by three things – rain ,headwinds and the notorious A9 road to Inverness . With 130 miles to cover the bunch realized how easy England was to conquer. It proved to be the longest day in the saddle (12 hours) but the task was completed and a warm bath was the order of the day.

Friday was the final push and signposts for Wick and John o Groats were visited which proved to be inspiring. The conditions were still difficult with strong winds coming from the north east to hamper the progress and make riding dangerous. The terrain was very hilly to Wick but the prospect of passing club coach Alex Hunter and his wife Margaret who were on a coach tour of Scotland on route to Helmsdale gave inspiration and sure enough a coach load of tourists passed by with everyone waving encouragement conducted by the great man himself.

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The four riders arrived in John O'Groats late Friday evening just in time for the customary photoshoot at the famous signpost. With everyone safe and enjoying a fantastic feeling of achievement it was early to bed for the pick-up by club member Hugh Jamieson who drove through the night to collect the four members of Inverclyde Velo End to End - seven days - 898 miles.

Robert, Danny, John and George would like to thank Lawarance and Mary Devlin for their moral and technical support on route and Hugh Jameison and club of Inverlcyde Velo for all their good wishes


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