Rosalind’s JoGLE diary 

Day 1 – Tuesday 24th March

And it’s a beautiful sunny day as I start the first leg of my 950 mile journey (eek!).  The chestnut tree outside my window is unfurling the first fledgling leaves.  I wonder what beauties it will be displaying by the time I reach Lands End?  (here’s hoping it’s not red and gold leaves!).

Today is a regular workout day so 20 minutes (plus 5 minute cool down) on Lifecycle bike hill program at level 12.  Sister Sledge are belting out ‘We are family’ reminding me we are all in this together.  I need to keep an eye on my fitness levels.

Heart rate = 153 bpm maximum / Calories used = 217

I followed this with 3 sets of deadlifts and flat bench, some sit-ups and some stretching – with my Original Disco album rounding off my first leg on ‘ain’t no stopping us now by McFadden and Whitehead’ – 

We’re ON OUR WAY!

Distance travelled = 6.96  miles….. oh dear a long way to go but there’s no rush and I’m determined to enjoy the hidden gems of the UK I pass along the route.

Today I limbered up in John o’ Groats and here’s what I learnt!

A mound near the John O’Groats House Hotel marks the site where Jan de Groot, a Dutchman, built his famous house in the reign of James IV (1488 – 1513). His seven descendants quarrelled about precedence and Jan de Groot solved this problem by building an octagonal house with eight doors, one for each of his seven sons and himself, and an eight sided table so that no one occupied the head of the table.

So much to explore here – stunning coastal scenery, fascinating wildlife, imposing castle but no time to spare – I need to get going! I set off down the A99 towards Wick and I made it to Nybster. Cycling across barren moorland with only a scattering of farmsteads and cottages, I headed to the coast at Freswick, passing old WW2 tank traps and a rusting old fishing boat. The imposing Freswick House stands on a lonely shore.  Buildings here date back to the Iron Age but the present structure was probably started in the 1400s and expanded in the 1700s, changing its name along the way from Castle to Tower to House.

I can’t stop long here as I need to cover a few more miles on my first day.  I’m back on the bike and speeding south to my goal for today – Nybster.  I learn about the Nybster and Caithness brochs. A broch is an Iron age dry walled structure, sometimes with linked passage ways and often built right on the cliff edge.  

The Caithness Archaeological Trust calls Nybster Broch one of the most spectacular Iron age settlements in the north of Scotland. It is easily one of the most accessible brochs in Caithness, which has more of the rounded Iron age communities than anywhere in Scotland. Plenty of controversy as to why they were built and a wonderful history to explore on another visit.

So, at the end of my first leg, I’m feeling great but a little short of my target of 10.5 miles a day!  However, tomorrow is a ‘rest day’ from my usual workout routine so the focus will be all on the cycling.  

Do join with me (the rider) and Mary (the writer) as I puff and pant towards my goal of Land’s End – and if you have any tips or comments on the places we pass, do please add them in – it will be great to hear from you.