The End to End is starting to feel really close now; 11 weeks from today. This past weekend I've booked the night of Friday 1st May at the Lands End Hotel (on recommendation) and reserved a rental car from Enterprise which I'll pick up late Thurs 30th April. Leaving here early on Friday will let me drop the car off at their depot in Penzance for 5:30, before riding the 9 miles or so out to Lands End. That should give me a pleasant, stress-free start to my journey.
Over the past week or so I've scanned Google maps and produced a list of campsites at intervals along the way, supplementing these with a couple of Camping & Caravanning Club's certificated sites where I could find no commercial sites (I'm a member). These are in a list in a Word document which I've transferred to my Kindle. If anyone out there might find it useful, I'm happy to share it. There are quite a few C & CC proper sites along the way and I'll use these when poss; they always have good shower blocks and laundry facilities and I'm planning on meeting Chrisse at the Clitheroe site along the way with our motorhome. I'm gonna take day off there to catch up with laundry an' just take a rest. I might well have other rest days as the need arises; it's a holiday, not a test of endurance. Actually, thinkin' about it ... it's that as well.
If all goes to plan I'll wild camp on Dartmoor, west of Princetown, so I can partake of the Fox Tor Cafe's excellent breakfast (which I've sampled before) in the town. I'm also hoping to wild camp as I cross Dumfries & Galloway, not to mention the rest of Scotland wherever possible. Might even try the odd wild camp across England if I'm far enough away from civilization. I'll have my water filter on board so a supply of tap water isn't essential.
I've downloaded the gpx routes from Cicerone's End to End Cycle Route and these are on my Garmin Edge Touring. I've plotted my variation via Dumfries & Galloway, Arran, Kintyre, Mull and Ardnamurchan and have this on Garmin Connect, yet to transfer to the Edge, I also have this route marked on a Collins Touring Map of Scotland; this an' the Cicerone guide being the only maps I'll carry. Maps in the guide are Ordnance Survey ones.
Have purchased 3 pairs of Rohan's fancy knickers, some nice new Rohan merino mix socks and am considering a couple of their new merino/ polyester mix T shirts.
As I write, our lab, Tilly, is recovering from a resurgence of back pain, so she's on two 15 minute walks a day. I don't much enjoy hillwalking without her so, instead, for the last week I've been out every day cycling. I'm trying to catch up on my 3000 mile per year target, hoping to get to 500 miles by the end of Feb, that being the average of 250 miles per month. This has also made for useful training. I did, though, fall off my tourer on the canal towpath last week, slipping on a diagonal bit of wet wood, exactly where I did the same thing this time last year, prior to the C2C! I've bashed my right knee AGAIN. I did cover 37 miles though, a couple of days back, plus a very rapid 17 miles on my roadie yesterday morning. But I was limping as I took Tilly out just now. I'm sure it'll pass.
I've been practicing producing one pot meals using commonly-found ingredients with quite some success using my little pan; surprising how big a helping will fit in it.
The enormity of the task is just beginning to occupy my mind. Although used to independent travel and high mountain adventures, this is unlike anything I've done before. I've never traveled so far for so long on my own, though I wouldn't want it any other way cos I'm convinced it'll avoid any sense of unnecessary stress/pressure. The longest I've toured on a bike up to now is for 3 nights, and that was with my mate, Hamish. So, it's a big step for me.
At the beginning of April, Chrissie and Kim are doing the Cumbrian Way with Hamish and me supporting with the vans. We're gonna get a couple of big, Lake District road bike rides in and I'm wanting to fit in a couple of back-to-back 40 milers.
The clock's tickin'.