BREATHE FOR YOU TOUR

Lands End to John ‘O’Groats, June 2005.

Day 1.

Weather foggy and raining. This was my second End to End, and I still haven’t seen the coastline. I kept waiting for a window in the weather, no chance. Left the sign at 1415hrs on my way to Penzance, a lorry or coach had a fuel leak so the road was very slippery. Because the conditions were so bad when I reached Penzance I went straight up A30 and came off at Camborne. Stopped at Pool for a clothes change and a drink. My first thanks to Caroline and Jean driving the support car. Another clothes change at St, Austell.

End of Route at Lostwithiel.

Day 2.

Off in a showery start. Had my first stop at a Tea bar just outside St. I’ve. The place where the car had a puncture on the way down!! Through to Tavistock. Then it rained and rained, headwind. Just outside Princetown I stopped to shelter from the conditions, kept thinking about getting to the Warren Inn for a hot drink. After two hot coffees off again. I felt like Scott of the Antarctic!!! So pleased to se the sign for Moretonhampstead.

B&B was nice. (Moorcote G.H.)

 

Day 3.

3 good climbs to Exeter and very busy. Out towards Broadclyst, call on phone, meet Caroline and Jean for cream tea in Cullompton, Yum Yum. Good run to Taunton and West Monkton.

Another good B&B.(Prockters Farm B&B)

Day 4.

DRY START!! Good run out to Bridgewater. Busy through Cheddar, up steep hill towards Shipham (nice café other side of the climb). Good road to Clevedon and onto Avonmouth, onto the A403, horrid road. Loads and loads of lorries. A voice from a passing car "Legend", my cycling friend Bernie, who is going to accompany me the next 3 days.. Lovely run over The Seven Bridge, blue sky and sun.

Chepstow B&B ok.

Day 5.

I forgot how lumpy this day was. Monmouth was ok but Hereford very busy. Tea bar on the A4410 out of Hereford was nice. Seemed to take ages to reach Wigmore, kept thinking I was on the wrong road.

Lovely B&B. (Gotherment B&B)

Day 6.

Last time I did the ride I got a bit lost on this leg, so I made sure NO MISTAKES.

Spot on! Good run through Hope, Shrewsbury another busy town. Out on the A528, Harmers Hill, nice pub. Round Whitchurch, on A49 to Spurstow.

Another nice B&B.(Haycroft Farm B&B - watch the dog doesn’t p up your wheel)

 

Day 7.

Good day. Nearly all on the A49. Roundabout at A580/M6 at Haydock very, very busy. Through Wigan to Eccleston.

Stayed at the B&B before, excellent continental breakfast for a change.(Parr Hall Farm B&B)

Day 8.

Said goodbye to Bernie. A49 through Wigan. Could not keep up with the Wigan Wheelers. Through Preston, out on the A6 through Garstang, Lancaster. Got caught in the rain about 8miles outside Kendal. Arrived Garth Row like a drowned rat!!

Lovely B&B(Hollin Root Farm B&B)

Day 9.

Up towards Shap in the rain again. Got to Penrith Morrisons for a complete clothes change. Carlisle busy, busy, busy. Onto the A7, Longtown, Gretna.

Another nice B&B, had evening meal here. (Surrone House G.H.)

Day 10.

Ok run to Dumfries, still got the headwind. Joined A75, A76 to Sanquhar, good run, good roads.

Stayed at Newark Farm B&B, very nice.

 

Day 11.

Its raining again!! But I’ve got a tail wind. On the A76 to Kilmartin, then A71, A78 to Stevenston, fast roads. Dual carriageway from Kilmarnock. Arrived at Ardrossan with plenty of time to spare.

Brodick B&B lovely.(Belvedere B&B)

 

Day 12.

Off in the rain again to Lockranza. The Sannox climb makes you puff, nice downhill to Lochranza. ‘Oh No, The Cafes Gone’!!! God Bless The Sandwich Station, I’m Head Soup Tester!!! Caught about the 1430 ferry to Claonaig. Climb out, then good run to Tarbert and no rain!

Original B&B (c**p) God Bless The Tarbert Hotel!!

 

Day 13.

A83 to Lochgilphead. A86 to Oban. Good roads, good run, great views and a nice soup at Kilmelford.

Oban B&B perhaps douse house would be a better description!!

 

 

 

Day 14.

Sneaked out early(7.30), could have thrown the TV out of the window! Did we really get any sleep?! Into the rain, wet big time from Ballachulish, god bless Morrisons, Fort William for the full Scottish Breakfast and a chance to dry out.

Arrived at Birchfied B&B Torlundy. we have stayed here before, another nice place. One day I might see the top of Ben Nevis.

Day15.

Out onto the A82 through Fort Augustus to Drumnadrochit. A831, A833, hard climb,(15% for 3/4mile) then nearly all down hill to Beauly.

Lovely B&B in Beauly. Best breakfast of the tour.(Lyndale B&B)

Day 16.

Dingwall here we come! Through Evanton, B9176, climb to Struie Hill, watch out for the 2 cattle grids and low flying jets! Falls of Shin beckon.

Usual B&B stop in Lairg.(Ambleside B&B)

 

Day 17

Off into wet stuff again, and its windy. Stopped at The Crask Inn for a lovely coffee. Its like October, headwind and rain. Turned at Altnaharra, Strath Naver with wind behind, sky now becoming blue. B871, A826 to Bettyhills "Elizabethan Café" for a bacon sandwich. Off on the A836 to Melvich. Cold at the top of the climbs. Lumpy!

Usual B&B, very nice.( Tigh-na-Clash B&B)

 

Day 18

The forecast for the day was rain, rain, rain and more rain. But it was very kind and just a few showers. Good roads and a tail wind through to Thurso, onto

John ‘O’Groats. Two good coffee stops on the way.

Done the photo, signed the book, "I started so I finished".

 

946.8miles.

 

Will I do it for a third time??

Probably

Jerry Clinch

On behalf of The Wisdom Hospice, Rochester, Kent and PitPat, Bristol.

 

© COPYRIGHT 2005 Jerry Clinch (author)

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