Monday 3 May 2010

The Itinerary

This might be a first for me - an informal, factual post. We'll see how it goes. Just in case anyone fancies coming to say hello, either on route or at one of the stops, here is the route.

Thursday, 6th May - Newbury to Lands End
This should be the easy bit. Get into appropriate vehicle, travel to Lands End. In reality it's a bit more complicated, with Jon getting picked up from a motorway services, Liz working in the morning and Phill somehow contriving to fly to Newquay from Stockport. Tents will be pitched and we'll be starting the great eat-a-thon.

Friday, 7th May - Lands End to Great Torrington (actually Little Torrington), 179.4km, 2605m of climbing
This is a pretty tough way to start - a good distance and very up and downy. Darren will be test riding his new bike, I'm not really sure why he's chosen an 8 day 950 mile ride to see if it fits or not.

Saturday, 8th May - Great Torrington to Slimbridge, 214.7km, 2766m
Through Taunton, Bridgwater for lunch (with Darren's parents), then through Glastonbury, Wells, the gap between Bath and Bristol, Yate (is that a place?), Wotton Under Edge, Dursley and then Slimbridge. Jon and I know some of these roads quite well - part of the Cotswolds training district. Probably a visit from Jem and mini-Jon/Jem. Hang on - did I just type "214.7km"?

Sunday, 9th May - Slimbridge to Winsford (South of Runcorn). Only 204.5km, 1708m
Thankfully an easier day - longish but flatish. Gloucester, Leominster, Ludlow, Church Stretton, Shrewsbury and Whitchurch.

Monday, 10th May - Winsford to Penrith, 181.7km, 1841m
This one almost counts as a rest day. A day of two halves, with some towns - Warrington, Wigan, Chorley, Leyland, Preston - and then up to the Lake district through Lancaster and Kendal before finishing at the campsite Tim, Darren and I rode through when we did our SMBLA Trail Cycle Leader training. We get struck off if we can't find it.

Tuesday, 11th May - Penrith to Ayr, 191.1km, 1823m
Today we enter Scotland, and I've got the Proclaimers and Big Country on the MP3 player to provide an appropriate soundtrack. Carisle, Gretna and Dumfries are on the way, and there's a whole lot of countryside in there too.

Wednesday, 12th May - Ayr to Barcaldine (not many towns around here), 198.5km, 2723m
It's starting to get hilly again. Barcaldine has some marked cycle trails in the forest so we can explore those if we are feeling energetic. We follow a lot of coast today, and have a ferry ride to look forward to - Greenock to Dunoon. Don't worry, we'll ride round and round the deck so we're not cheating. It's not a very long ferry trip.

Thursday, 13th May - Barcaldine to Dingwall (North of Inverness), 177.7km, 2863m
This should be pretty spectacular - up to Fort William then following Loch Ness to Inverness, then up a bit. What's that coming out of the Loch, is it a monster, is it a monster?

Friday, 14th May - Dingwall to John O'Groats, 168.8km, 1847m
We should be there about 4pm. Ice cold beer please, and a Solero.

Saturday 15th, Sunday 16th May - Travel back.
There will be a lot of eating, some sleeping, and a chance of some drinking.

Total riding - 1516.4km (947 miles) ish. Maybe a bit more, we're bound to get lost.

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