Ok, I know it is not mountain biking, but I’ve always dreamed of this, and therefore, it was time to tackle this right of passage and embark on this classic ride.
From the southwest tip of England to the northeast tip of Scotland, this was an “off the road” route, using small lanes, bike tracks and bridleways. Basically, the aim was to avoid big dangerous roads and find the quiet way up north.
This was a solo ride, with full kit including a tent over two weeks in August ’21.
Check out the video below for an ultra condensed fly through this beautiful country.
14 days – 1031.8 miles – 50,187ft climbing
It is quite the ride! I am so glad I rode it at my own pace, self-supported, with the ability to choose my own itinerary. Below is a quick run-through of the route and stops.
Day 1 – Land’s End to Fowey CL Camping, near Fowey – 64.56 miles – 5584ft
Day 2 – Fowey to Little Hartford campsite, near Crediton – 65.69 miles – 5987ft
Day 3 – Little Hartford to Yeo Bank Farm campsite, near Clevedon – 86.97 miles – 3008ft
Day 4 – Yeo Bank to Tudor House Hotel in Tewkesbury – 83.12 miles – 2103ft
Day 5 – Tewkesbury to The Cotton Arms campsite, near Nantwich – 100.75 miles – 4150ft
Day 6 – Cotton Arms to The Spring Bank hotel, in Preston – 74.43 miles – 1744ft
Day 7 – Preston to Setterah Park Farm campsite, near Penrith – 80.88 miles – 5013ft
Day 8 – Setterah Park to Balmoral hotel, in Moffat – 76.89 miles – 2848ft
Day 9 – Moffat to Auld Mill House Hotel, in Dunfermline – 71.88 miles – 3315ft
Day 10 – Dunfermline to Backpackers hostel, in Pitlochry – 59.72 miles – 3369ft
Day 11 – Pitlochry to Glenmore campsite, near Aviemore – 63.75 miles – 2946ft
Day 12 – Glenmore to Roseneath Guest House hotel, in Inverness – 44.80 miles – 1648ft
Day 13 – Inverness to Achnanclach Bothy, near Tongue – 88.36 miles – 4270ft
Day 14 – Achnanclach Bothy to John O’Groats – 70.03 miles – 4292ft
Putting a large route like this together can be quite daunting. I was very lucky to grab the new copy of this amazing book by Richard Barrett published through the wonderful Cicerone.
This book has multiple itineraries, but most importantly for me, it was based around 14 days of riding. It also comes with GPX files that makes life much easier on the road.
After searching for campsites, I modified the GPX files to start/finish in the right places for my planned accommodation.
At first, there was only one hotel booked, but the weather was not ideal, and my body had a few bad days, so a few more hotels were booked on the way. if I was feeling like a good rest and a good feed would do me well. That’s one of the positives of riding self-supported, you can go at your own pace.
Overall, it was incredible. A true classic that I am very proud to have ridden. If you can get the time off, then I would highly encourage you to go for it!