64 miles from Syre to JOG. Decided to do 2 days in one due to hideous forecast for tomorrow. Met Nicola & Rachel again in Thurso.
Yaaay, done it. 1102 miles in 29 days on my gorgeous Thorn Sherpa.
Well that was a seriously low moment. Riding over the Struie; moorland road from Dingwall to Bonar Bridge was a hard ascent, but just as I hit the descent the driving rain hit and it was very cold. Hope there's not too much more of it. Now warming with soup in a cafe. 28 miles to here, 10 more to Lairg where I'm determined to find a b&b.
Update: realised the lunacy of spending £65 on a b&b when Chrissie was 15 miles up the road in our luxurious van, so I'm now with my gorgeous girls in Lairg. Common sense prevails.
Great chat with two very experienced kayakers following the GGW, who pitched up next to me last night. Fine riding into Inverness & now catching up in a cafe.
Have quite sore toes on right foot. Chrissie thinks it might be trench foot caused by damp from many days riding in my Gore Tex boots. Treated with Daktarin since it's evidently a fungal infection. Feels a little better this morning and Chrissie's left a pair of her toe socks at the campsite in Dingwall where I'm headed next.
38 miles today. Really feels now like I'm biting huge chunks out of the remaining distance each day. Today, up the lower part of the Great Glen Way, then the 5 mile climb up the hill on the south side of Loch Ness, billed as the toughest climb of the entire route. It was! Now at campsite overlooking the loch. First pic is my idyllic free campsite last night.
A fastish ride up to Oban and now on the 2pm ferry to Mull. I was on a mission today and donned my Lycra shorts for enhanced aerodynamics (titter). Hoping for a wild camp on the coast road towards Tobermory.
38 miles to ferry.
Started in rain with a tough climb over to Lochranza & ferry to Claonaig which was full of bikes. Steady ride up to Lochgilphead and campsite. Beautiful steam puffer on Crinan Canal. Met Dutch couple with car roof tent who fed me fresh pancakes and fruity tea.
32.3 miles. Oban & possibly Mull tomorrow.
Phew! Just sat down to lunch at Costa Coffee in Ayr. I misread the distance from my camp to Ardrossan; thought 35-40 miles - it's 48! Never mind, cracked off 33 rapid miles to here in 3.5 hours; fast for me 'n' the Thorn. It's only 11:30 and just 15 miles to go for the ferry to Arran. Busy rehydrating with tea.
Flippin' 'orrible ride into a headwind to Moniaive. Wore me out. Revived after an excellent lunch at the cafe, enough to manage the easy climb over a col to fabulous open moorland. Now at picturesque wild camp with view of Merrick, highest lump hereabouts. Coffee in the sun!
36.3 miles. Tomorrow's target: make Ardrossan in time for an afternoon ferry to Arran.
Good night's sleep camped at Stewart and Kath Wallace's place. This morning Kath made me breakfast (excellent porage) and we had an enjoyable chat before I was packed off with the remainder of the Tullibardine malt I'd sampled last night. So pleasant to meet such a delightful couple. Thanks both.
Now in G&G Cycle Centre in Dumfries, checking a rubbing noise from front hub. Seems it's the plastic spacers and not important. Had tyres pumped up and now enjoying their superb, cheap Americano and free WiFi. Aiming for wild camp on moor past Moniaive.
Bright, dry day but irritating headwind. Turn it off will ya!
Nice ride into Carlisle. In Starbucks, catching up with t'internet (no phone signal last night). In a short while I'll be crossing the border into Scotland. Hoping to wild camp near Annan.
I rolled through the heart of the Lakes today. Rain in the morning but a fine afternoon. My attempts to wild camp behind Blencathra were thwarted by officious signs but a farmer in Mosedale was happy to let me share a field with a few ewes and their lambs and some inquisitive hens. A good day of fairly easy cycling and a quiet night's sleep.
Fabulous day! Only 24 miles but full of fun. Ian joined me on his folding Dahon and we rode to Wendy's in Carnforth for tea & flapjack. Wendy is the Mum of Nick, a CycleChat friend, and a delightful lady who sent me off armed with flapjack. Further along the road we met Tommy Page on his Thorn Raven Tour, on his stage by stage journey following the UK mainland coastline. Good luck Tommy. Now I'm with Ria and Bob in Kendal enjoying their fine hospitality. Life is good!
32 miles through the Trough of Bowland, a strong headwind making it tough going.
Stopped at Bowland Pennine MRTs training hut on the way. 30 odd years since I was there last as a raw MR recruit. The guys painting the hut welcomed us in for tea and reminiscences. Then, off up to the Jubilee Tower; hard in that wind, and down into Lancaster and Morecambe to spend the night with Twitter friend Ian.
A day of rest. A very comfy night in our van with Chrissie and Tilly and a day of r&r in the sunshine.
Having spent all night worrying about the noise from the bike, this morning I found ... it'd gone. Best guess, mud on a tyre which dried an' fell off overnight.
This morning I checked fixings on the bike and caressed it lovingly. I emptied and repacked my panniers, Chrissie having washed all my clothes and just enjoyed fiddlin' an' fettlin'.
We walked into Clitheroe for shopping and now, having relaxed in the sun, we await the arrival of our friends Kim & Hamish who're joining us with their van. Tomorrow Hamish is riding through the Trough of Bowland to Morecambe with me. Life is good :)
Sincere thanks to all of you out there who've donated to Cancer Research UK via my page at justgiving.com/geoff-crowther
Can't always manage to thank you individually as I travel but you folks need to know how much it means to me. Seeing donations arrive is a real spur to my success. Bless you all, and a big slobbery hug from Tilly.
A short ride today over some tough little climbs to Clitheroe. Along the way I called in at On Yer Bike in Blackburn where Ryan pumped up my tyres for me, let me use their loo and took a photo of me and the Thorn for their website.
Then a happy reunion with my girls.
Spent a pleasant hour or so cleaning the Thorn. Can't solve a funny rubbing noise :(
Glorious weather! Crossing the Mersey at Warrington sees me back in t'north; back home.
I chanced upon a cafe run by Culcheth Community Church and spent a pleasant few minutes talking with Michael, the minister from Alabama. A lovely guy.
40.7 miles. On a pretty farm campsite, looking forward to seeing the two most important girls in my life tomorrow.
In my excitement leaving home I realised I'd no contact for some kind soul who said they might join me for a ride around the Ardrossan area. So, are you out there? Try to contact me here or via contact details you'll find in an earlier post. Cheers ... whoever you are.
Enjoyed a lovely overnight stay with Ian and Anne in their Cheshire (it's right on the border) farmhouse. Ian and I are about to head off up to Delamere Forest and the Camping Club site there. I'm probably as close to home now as I'll get here, on the far side of "Cheshire East", the other side being about 3 miles from home. Also watching BBC North West on t'telly, as at home. It feels strange.
So I treated myself to a bed at Bridges YHA last AND dinner. Very comfy night. Today, cycled 42.5 miles through beautiful, mostly flat, Shropshire to Manor Farm, home of Ian & Anne who're feeding & accommodating me for the night. Many thanks to them. Following early showers it's been a great day of t shirt & shorts riding. Hopefully, Ian's riding with me up to Delamere Forest tomorrow.
Rode a while with two girls from Nottingham on road bikes; Nicky & Sarah (I think, apologies if wrong). They're on LEJOG too, covering around 100 miles a day. Well done and good luck girls.
Murderous hill before Clun. Recovering in a cafe with soup & coffee ... LOTS of coffee:)
An early post today.10:45 at cafe NW of Leominster.
The joy of this journey is connecting with folk along the way. Folk like Ian & Ian, ceiling contractors from Knowsley. These funny, friendly scousers pitched next to me yesterday afternoon. We had great fun chatting & taking the p**s out of each other and they treated me to fish 'n' chips and forced me to drink their beer!
This morning on the road I shared a few moments with Adele on her road bike. Adele's off on her LEJOG in a coupla weeks. Good luck Adele!
Here's a pic of Ian & Ian. The second pics the two donkeys at the campsite :)
Ian, Ian & Adele, I'd love it if you left a comment here.
More later. Smile!