A Travellerspoint blog

Day 13 Dunbeath to John O'Groats

Journey's end

sunny 17 °C

Just 35 miles today, and its over quickly, with just a short stop at Wick. Time for Will and Chris to practice their sprint finish, before the big photo opp. It feels grrrreat to finish. There's a big welcoming party at JoG, but alas its not for us, but for two local girls who managed to pass me huffing and puffing up a hill earlier today. They're not here yet so I think they must be picking up an entourage before the triumphal entry. Our welcoming party is Mandy and the mother ship - which is better than anything in my book.

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Reflections - Its great to finish. Next year I'm going to the beach. Its been a real challenge and its got us all a lot fitter and leaner than before. Must return to Scotland and take more time. It'll be nice to give the backside a few days rest. Now, where's that bottle of Highland Park?

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Having completed LeJog we know that the total donations are over £3000 we still have other donations to send on to the RNIB, so the final total is yet to be confirmed.
For all the support we have to say a massive thank you to everyone who helped over our journey. The generosity of our friends, family and colleagues, as well as the amazing people we met on our trip that welcomed us and gave with all the generosity of close friends.

Thank you!

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 15.09.2012 14:14 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Day 12 Culloden to Dunbeath

The Balmy North

sunny 14 °C

Last full day and fortune is smiling on us again. The sun is out and the wind is at our backs again. we've changed our plans to take the more direct route up the East Coast on the A9 (again). We start by passing the boggy battlefield of Culloden, with its eerie red and blue flags marking out the batle lines. A little way along the A9 we wonder if we've made the right decision. The going is fast though and the traffic gets thinner as we head North. It is a morning of big rivers, as we pass over the Moray Firth, the Cromarty Firth and the Dornoch Firth. Even though its the notorious A9 the road is great after Dornoch, hugging the coast and following the old railway line. Lunch at a pub where the drowsy late summer wasps force us indoors. The going remains good, but its our longest ride (90 miles) and we're still riding at 8pm as we roll into a little campsite in the hills above Dunbeath. Only 35 miles to do tomorrow so time to break out the wine and whisky.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 14:10 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Day 11 Braemar to Culloden

Revenge of Bonnie Prince Charlie

rain 14 °C

Nice going early on as we followed the river down to Balmoral. No Royal sightings. The Garmin routed us up a farm track which we abandoned after Tom was sent sprawling. Turning north we came upon three big climbs and a fierce headwind. At least it wasn't raining (yet!). Managed to find a good cafe just before the third hill where we encountered four friendly bikers - oh for an engine (oops - heresy). Fortified by tea and toasted teacake we resumed the struggle against gravity and the elements. We got to a summit at Glenshee - ski lifts etc, before a long downhill pre lunch. The headwind had turned to a side wind which left us leaning into it at a 13deg angle just to stay in a straight line. We lunched at Tomintoul in a pub with the biggest bottle of whisky I've ever seen - Tomintoul single malt.

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We aren't done with the Cairngorms yet. We set out and soon encoutered the Lecht - a monster of a hill. Oh, and it started raining, with the headwind blowing straight in our faces, like needles. By common consent it was probably the low point of the trip. Even the downhills were a struggle, with the wind almost bringing us to a standstill on one descent. The rain intensified as we descended to the moorland and visibility was poor. Is this what it was like when the Battle of Culloden was fought? Sodden and very tired, we couldn't wait to get to the mother ship. But the Garmin died and we weren't sure where the campsite was. At Cawdor we thought we were nearly there, but not so. Mandy was about to sally forth with a search party as we finally rolled into camp as the light was failing. Phew! Never did tea and treats taste so good. Never was a hot shower more welcome.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 15.09.2012 13:53 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Day 10 Perth to Braemar

overcast 16 °C

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After the dove appeared with an olive branch, we took our leave of Noah's Ark in Perth. We were on the wrong side of our Perth for our route so the first few miles consisted of a dice with juggernauts along a dual carriageway stretch of the A9. Special thanks to the nutter in the Volvo on the oposite carriageway who took the trouble to blast his horn and wind down his window to deliver a barrage of expletives! Not everyone likes cyclists it seems. Soapbox alert! It seems many (most) motorists take far more care around horses than they do around people on bikes.Have you ever seen anyone fail to slow down and give a horse a wide berth? Anyway, we were soon on the country lanes again, crossing the country north of Perth to get to the road to Braemar. The morning went well - a following wind and flattish conditions. After lunch the going got tougher as we climbed into the Cairngorms, so the miles went by slowly as we struggled up the hills. The long descent into Braemar was a welcome end to the ride, and there was the mother ship in the campsite on the road into town. We were thinking of doing a few extra miles that evening but none of us felt like it. We were entertained that evening by red squirrels around the mother ship - the first any of us had ever seen.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 15.09.2012 13:46 Archived in Scotland Comments (0)

Day 9 - Ettrick to Perth

semi-overcast 14 °C

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Well rested with the bikes all serviced and clean after our rest day in Ettrick we hit the road again to clock some serious miles today. In total we were cycling from 9.30am to gone 8pm. over 90 miles in total today over some early hills before winding our way down to the valleys of the Forth.

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soon the wilds of the borders were a distant memory as the traffic and civilisation built up as we entered the outskirts of Edinburgh, it seemed to take an age to navigate our way around the suburbs, but we finally made it after playing chicken with several lorries. And we were treated by the sight of the Forth rail bridge as we crossed the road bridge on our way up to Perth.

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Perth is a much bigger city then any of us imagined and it would have been nice to have spent more time there, but unfortunately with the light failing and the Garmin battery out of juice it was down to Wills iPhone to see us home for the last few miles

The site in Perth was called Noah's Ark and as we arrived in 2 by 2 we were glad of a place to call home for the night after a long day in the saddle.

Tomorrow we take on the Cairngorms.

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 05.09.2012 13:08 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 8 Temple Sowerby to Ettrick

Scotland at last

all seasons in one day 14 °C

The lovely owners of the campsite at Temple Sowerby kindly donated our site fees to the RNIB. This site, part of a working farm, is one of the best we've stayed at. We said goodbye to "Harriet" the highland cow, who had kept us company all night in the next field.

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We soon passed the site of Hadrian's wall - although in this section there's not much to see. We had sunday roast at a pub in Brampton - I had forgotten it was sunday - you lose track of the days of the week. Soon out of Brampton the roast lunch was telling us to go to sleep in front of the TV, instead of climbing hills, and dad had an attack of the 'bonk' otherwise known as jelly legs, and needed to stop for 10 minutes to replenish the blood sugar levels. After that, Scotland seemed a long time in coming, but we finally got there (see picture).

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I haven't been to the Scottish borders before but it's beautiful country. The road to Eskdalemuir and Ettrick is single track, but newly surfaced - maybe for all the timber trucks. Very easy on the behind after 8 days in the saddle. There's lots of forestry land here, some of it clear cut in swathes. Ah well - it'll grow again in 40 years.

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The last section was an 8 mile descent into Ettrick - hitting over 40MPH!!!! We got to a campsite to find it was the wrong one - the one we wanted was 3 miles further on. Still downhill though. After a false sighting of the mother ship, we finally got to the right campsite, and a welcome rest day for monday. Mick, befriended on the campsite, then had a go at teaching Chris and Will to Fly fish. Will did catch one (without realising it) but it was small and needed to be put back. As he put it he taught that fish a valuable lesson.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 05.09.2012 10:54 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Day 7 - Mellor to Temple Sowerby

sunny 18 °C

We set off today after the Mother ship dropped us back at our previous stop point and immediately started a solid day of climbing weaving our way up past Clitherhoe through Slaidburn and past the Ribble Valley. We headed through the Trough of Bowland (Which apparently is Wiggo's Stomping ground) we did look out for him but we were pretty focused on trying to get through the pretty arduous climbs.

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Progress in the morning was terribly slow with the climbs draining the legs, and we had to stop for some decent Yorkshire grub at a great cafe stop near Slaidburn in the glaring sun as a clutch of ageing bikers from Leeds discussed the merits of electronic vs manual speedo's and the like, (Quite poetic given the setting). Newly refreshed we headed up between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake district Past Sedburgh, a lovely town dominated by a School we used to play at Rugby whose folklore said that the 1st XV wouldn't wash their kit until they lost a match, I remember playing them in the St Josephs festival with 2 players that looked about 25 years old and a stinking full season mud brown kit.

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We finished up the day to the west of Penrith on a lovely site on a farm with Harriet the Highland cow our only neighbour. She may have prematurely given us our first taste of Scotland, but tomorrow see's us all head for the border.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 04.09.2012 15:19 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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