2021 : Land’s End to John O’Groats

I planned a route during the winter of 2019/2020 for May 2020 but had to cancel all the bookings and train reservations because of the Covid-19 pandemic. We thought autumn 2021 would be safe so replanned and rebooked. In July I sustained a detached retina and had to rest after the operation which gave me little time to collect my new bike from Bristol and familiarise myself with it, and insufficient time to regain the lost fitness.

Covid rates were on the rise again but we set off in hope of completing the ride, I wasn’t going to arrange it all a third time so this was make or break. I devised the route with the help of the excellent cycle.travel with routing points of the Lost Gardens of Heligan, Tintagel (for a vegan guest house where we wanted to stay), Barnstaple (to meet friends), Bradford on Avon (for a university reunion) and South Queensferry (to meet friends). Accommodation was a mixture of hostels, hotels and B&Bs but with fewer hostels than the original plan since many were still closed because of covid.

I exported the .gpx routes from cycle.travel and we imported them into our Wahoo Element devices, mounted on the handlebars. With a couple of small caveats, these performed faultlessly:
1) where we strayed from the route, the automatic rerouting was often illogical.
2) mine stopped issuing turn by turn instructions and showing street names partway through.

I normally record distance using the prevailing units of the country I’m in, generally miles in Britain and kilometres elsewhere. I considered using km this time in response to the current reactionary government’s enthusiasm for imperial measures but ultimately decided to record in both units. I record ascent in metres, this value is not as accurate as distance measurement as described in this support article so can only be taken as an estimate.

09 Sep : Train to Penzance then cycle to Lands End and back
10 Sep : Penzance to Pentewan
11 Sep : Lost Gardens of Heligan
12 Sep : Pentewan to Tintagel
13 Sep : Tintagel to Barnstaple
14 Sep : Barnstaple to Bridgwater
15 Sep : Bridgwater to Bradford on Avon
16 Sep : Bradford on Avon
17 Sep : Bradford on Avon to Cirencester
18 Sep : Cirencester to Worcester
19 Sep : Worcester to Shrewsbury
20 Sep : Shrewsbury to Chester
21 Sep : Chester to Southport
22 Sep : Southport to Lancaster
23 Sep : Lancaster to Penrith
24 Sep : Penrith to Newcastleton
25 Sep : Newcastleton to Innerleithen
26 Sep : Innerleithen
27 Sep : Innerleithen to South Queensferry
28 Sep : South Queensferry to Perth
29 Sep : Perth to Blair Athol
30 Sep : Blair Athol to Aviemore
01 Oct : Aviemore to Inverness
02 Oct : Inverness to Lairg
03 Oct : Lairg to Bettyhill
04 Oct : Bettyhill to John O’Groats via Dunnet Head
05 Oct : John O’Groats to Wick for train home