Day 14 - Saturday 25th May 2025

We’ve only gone and done it! 1012 miles all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats.

No punctures, no tears, no arguments. Fourteen days, three (minor) falls, many bacon sandwiches, even more pieces of cake, one radio interview (with one more to come - Tuesday 7.50am ish on Radio Stoke if you’re interested), one shout out from Dermot on Radio 2 and a humongous £22,000 raised for two very worthy local charities.

Thank you everyone for your support - we couldn’t have done it without you. 


Day 14 - Saturday 25th May 2025

The day started well, except for porridge made with water which is always a bit disappointing. We had just 103km to the finish line, but this was made up of several sharp inclines and equally vertiginous descents… And sadly, we continued our losing ‘wind streak’, battling another eye watering headwind all the way. It’s a vicious rumour that the wind will push you from Cornwall.

We spent the day with our tall, super cyclist buddy Oscar, who provided excellent wind shelter at the front of our merry peloton. The views along the north coast were gorgeous - with some beautiful hidden sandy coves. A fair few camper vans and RVs along the NC500 but it still felt relatively out of season.

We stopped by a lovely little honesty ‘cake cupboard’ just before Bettyhill, where we could scan and apple pay. So obviously we had to test it out. Those hills required a lot of carb-loading. Melvich was the next stop - first lunch. Soup and / or toasties and coffee from a little shack. The wind started to blow a little harder at this point but we felt we’d made it up the worst of the hills so were feeling pretty chirpy. 


Day 14 - Cont'd

The hills and the wind kept coming. The roads were generally long and straight so we could see exactly how much further we had to climb. But it wasn’t long till we made it to Thurso where we stopped for second lunch - at an amazing little place called Olive which wouldn’t have looked out of place in Copenhagen with its bleached wood, plants and excellent coffee.

Highly recommend if you ever happen to be passing the very, very, very far north of Scotland! We knew our welcome crew was ensconced at the finish line which gave us some extra wellie to get up the last couple of hills. And what a welcome we got as we pedalled up to the famous sign. Lots of big smiles and excellent pink Coddiwompling t-shirts (teamed with blue lips as they’d been waiting for quite a while for us). Big hugs all round, a bottle of Prosecco thrust in our hands and a couple of photos done, and this epic adventure was over.

Now for a few days of camping north of the border - no luxury pampering in a spa for us! And sadly, it’s probably time we stopped having second breakfasts and daily cake. And start planning the next challenge…


Day 13 - Friday 25th May 2024

After a somewhat lacklustre day yesterday, today was an absolute belter! We all slept well in our log cabin and clothes dried beautifully. Made some porridge and off we went to continue the climb we’d started yesterday afternoon.

We crossed over The Struie, with utterly beautiful views over moorland and pine forests. Stopped at the viewpoint at Cadha Mor to take photos and have a sandwich just before an ambulance pulled up. Some chap we’d thought had pulled in to enjoy the views in his car was actually having chest pain and had called 999. We hadn’t noticed a thing. Fortunately he walked into the ambulance with paramedics so we continued on our way.

We followed the Kyle of Sutherland and reached the Falls of Shin at about 25 miles where we stopped for a coffee. Oh my goodness, the midges there though! The lady serving us said today was the first day they’d appeared this year - and what a pain they are. Luckily, as long as you’re moving, they don’t trouble you. 


Day 13 - Cont'd...

Fine whilst we’re cycling; not when we’re camping from Sunday! We walked to the viewing platform to see if we could see any of the leaping salmon making their way up the falls, but there was such a deluge after all the rain, we weren’t in luck. We continued on through Lairg and continued following NCN1 along Loch Shin.

Although it was an A road, it was single track with passing points and got more and more remote as the miles passed. It was beautiful. There were a few cyclists, the odd motorhome and a few vans but generally we had the road to ourselves. Luckily yesterday’s wind and rain had disappeared or it would have been a tough cycle.

We loved it though. We stopped for cheese toasties at the isolated Crask Inn. A group of cyclists were in there but it’s completely miles from anywhere so no casual drop ins. Bet it does a good lock in though.


Day 13 - Done!

After lunch, we had a phenomenal downhill just as the sun came out. We passed Loch Naver, had another climb up Cnoc a’Mhoid with views of the towering Ben Hope and Ben Loyal.

We then had another speedy downhill before following Loch Loyal for a few miles and heading into Tongue, the first town for miles and miles overlooking the Kyle of Tongue. We’d made such good time today, we got there for 3.30pm - too early for check in. But the sun was out and there were amazing views for us to sit outside our hotel and celebrate an excellent day’s cycling.

Met up with our London cycling friend again - after approximately five meetings, we’ve now exchanged names (he’s Oscar) and he joined us for a very good dinner.

Penultimate day done and it’s time to head east towards JOG. Lots of sharp hills tomorrow - it’ll be like Cornwall again. Bring it on!


Day 12 - Thursday 23rd May 2024

Marco seems like a bad omen for weather. We had torrential rain on day 5 when he joined us and it was the same again today. Bit of a baptism of fire for poor Jane who had also joined us.

It rained heavily all night and within seconds of stepping out this morning we were wet through. It also seemed much colder today - and the headwind was utterly vicious, to add to the fun. We were late leaving this morning, as we made our radio debut chatting to Lee Blakeman on Radio Stoke’s breakfast show. 

All a bit nerve wracking, especially as it was filmed and our faces have seen nothing but moisturiser for a fortnight. But neither of us swore and we said the word ‘bottom’ on live radio, which is always something to be proud of.

Day 12 - Cont'd

So today was somewhat challenging. Definitely type 2 fun veering into type 3 on the patch between Tomatin and Inverness which was really grim.

Heavy rain, cold and a beast of a wind.

The day was saved from being a total horror by sightings of a deer, red squirrel and family of partridges (teeny little chicks). And to be fair, the bit out of Aviemore along old pine forest to the splendidly named Boat of Garten was fab


The Fun Scale

Type 1 Fun - this is fun the whole time you're doing it. You could do it again and again.
Type 2 Fun - this is not fun while you're doing it, but you're glad you did it.
Type 3 Fun - this is not fun at all, and while you might take pride in having done it, you'd never voluntarily do it again.

Day 12 - Thursday 23rd May 2024

The village of Carrbridge had an amazing Old Bridge of Carr but no dawdling for us as we continued to climb up and over The Slochd. Desolate and windy. And too close to the A9 for our liking.

We then had to continue pedalling hard down the 18 miles towards Inverness thanks to gusts in our face. Fun times. But we did go past Culloden’s battlefield, giving us year 8 history vibes.

Particularly appreciated the look of the Battlefield Bar en route, which looked like it could tell some raucous stories of misspent nights out.


Day 12 - Cont'd...

By the time we were approaching Inverness at 40 miles in, we were all shivering and decided that the giant Tesco / Dobbies Garden Centre needed a visit. Four macaroni and cheeses later, with garlic bread and chips (triple carbs!) and we were feeling ready to tackle the rest. Ish.

We crossed the giant Kessock bridge, where apparently dolphins and porpoises are often spotted. But it was heads down and concentrating on not being blown over into the cars and lorries, so somewhat less romantic than it could have been. The rain did eventually stop ready for our last climb out of Dingwall. But it was a beast of a hill and the wind threatened to send us all sideways so required some concentration.

Around this point we’d had a message from our B&B hostess for the night - the boiler had gone and we couldn’t stay there...

Day 12 - Thursday 23rd May 2024

Not too great a disaster as we were now going to be staying in a log cabin a little further on. So we swung into Alness and out again, four miles up another hill to our cabin.

Luckily our dream hostess who couldn’t have been more welcoming - and the cabin had a fire. And a hot tub! And washing machine and tumble dryer. What a result.

The lovely lady headed into town to get us a takeaway curry and beers while we set to drying clothes. Slight mishap when Mills spotted her garmin smoking. Not sure what’s happened but the charging cable and the base of the garmin have completely melted. Just thankful we noticed before setting the wooden cabin on fire.


Day 12 - Cont'd...

Jane and Marco were excellent company and kept smiling through some pretty tough moments today. But the good news is we’re already four miles into tomorrow’s journey - and most of the way up the first hill.

We have a couple of stops earmarked, including lunch at the Crask Inn, one of the most remote pubs in the UK and a bit infamous amongst end-to-enders as a stop off point.

We’ll pass a few lochs tomorrow and the views should be better. And we’ve eventually waved goodbye to the A9, which we won’t miss.

Two days to go…

Day 11 - Wednesday 22nd May 2024

(Written in bed, whilst listening to the deluge of rain which started as we got into Aviemore this afternoon and has not let off for a second.)

Today was officially our shortest, just shy of 100km. In terms of ascent, it wasn’t bad either, so could have been up there as contender for easiest day if it wasn’t for the gruesome headwind!

It was an easy start through Killiecrankie and Blair Atholl (Scotland has some cracking names. We crossed River Garry today which is a personal favourite.) We then took a traffic-free path up, up, up for 15 odd miles to Drumochter Summit, which at 462m is the highest point of the whole journey.

Unfortunately, a railway line, a river and the A9 needed to squidge through the pass, so it was a bit noisy at times with cars rushing nearby. It’s also really desolate up there - beautiful but bleak.

At the top, we cycled past coach-loads of tourists who’d stopped fleetingly to run out and take a picture before jumping back in their warm coaches. 


Day 11 - Wednesday 22nd May 2024

We were both quite excited for the well-earned downhill but the wind was so fierce, we had to pedal hard regardless. Not fair!

Made it to Dalwhinnie, of the whisky fame, but sadly too early for a dram so made do with coffee and carrot cake. The café was crammed with cyclists (almost all of them speedy with road bikes and no luggage) all lamenting the wind. Except for those heading towards Pitlochry who were looking smug.

Another 15 miles down the road we stopped again for lunch and had a good chat with a lovely man cycling solo who we’d bumped into a few times before as he’s on the same route and time scale as us. He’s young and fit so we waved him off ahead of us and continued with our merry pootle, aware that the torrential rain dousing the rest of the UK was heading north at speed. We almost made it. The sky got darker as we rode down the remote B970 with woods on either side. Sarah was regretting listening to so many murder podcasts as Mills charged off ahead down the hills trying to outrun the rain. 


Day 11 - Wednesday 22nd May 2024

We made it to Aviemore with its ski hire shops before it was much more than heavy drizzle.

We’re staying in rooms above a pub which has been packed since we arrived about 4pm. Seems like everyone has cut their losses and decided to hide from the rain.

Marco and Jane drove up today and got here shortly after us. They’ll be keeping us company for the last three days which will mix things up a bit. Tomorrow looks like being VERY wet.

We’ve got a late-ish start as breakfast doesn’t start till 8am. Before then, though, we’re making our radio debut and chatting to Lee on the Radio Stoke breakfast show about what we’ve been getting up to. Have apologised to the children in advance for no doubt being embarrassing parents!


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BBC Radio Stoke Interview

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