The End – part 1

Week 11 day 75 – Saturday 6th June – The End! – part 1

How it all came about and a bit of background

If you have been reading this from day one, you will know we do like a quote. I cast around looking for a suitable one to recap on our journey and after looking at many, I decided that this simple one summed it up best.

And that is exactly what we did. The day after lockdown, Rosalind had the idea, rang and asked me to come on board as the writer, did some research into routes and the length of the journey – and on Tuesday 24th March we were off.

She was already used to working out in the gym three times a week anyway, but even with the best will in the world (and David as a trainer of course!) regular routines can drain our energy when there is nothing much else happening on the days in between. 

Two of her challenges from day 1 of the diary were:

  • Go to the gym three times a week – I already do that
  • Make better use of time…… hmm, maybe there’s something there…..

And so, the idea of the JoGLE challenge was born. It would be something to stretch her physical and mental stamina as well as an opportunity to raise much needed funds for Rowan, who without a doubt were going to be facing problems in the weeks to come. I had just started to think about maybe writing a lockdown blog (which I had mentioned to Rosalind) and suddenly it was reality. This was perfect as it gave me the focus I needed. Something needed to be written every day.

Initial research suggested that a minimum length for the journey would be 874 miles and Rosalind aimed to do 10.5 miles a day. Of course, she could have just cycled a bit every day and recorded her efforts but no doubt that would lose its appeal after a while and apart from actually getting on the bike, there would be no real challenge. 

In reality, our journey was rather longer than this as we detoured slightly to take advantage of more scenic routes or more interesting towns. Her initial estimate of 10.5 miles a day greatly improved and in fact the average was more like 15.5 miles.

So, combining our love of travel with the challenge, we set off to research every step of the route in order to bring the journey alive.

Land’s End to John O’Groats (or vice versa) was traditionally considered to be a walk. However, the route is now travelled in a number of ways, with cycling and multi-modal expeditions being particularly popular in recent years. 

Most trips are done by individuals or small groups for personal fulfilment. Some expeditions are organised as charity fundraisers, sometimes involving celebrities: 

Ian Botham walked it in 1985 and Jane Tomlinson cycled it in 2003 with terminal cancer, stopping twice for chemotherapy en route. She sadly died seven years later but in those seven years she raised £1.75m for charity. Her husband and daughter cycled the same route in 2008, raising more funds.

And for some, just cycling on an ordinary bike isn’t enough. Take a look at some of the alternative transport choices below:

Whichever way you plan to do the journey, there is sure to be a record for it somewhere, so here is a taste of a few (just in case you were now harbouring desires to go out and do this for real!) 

The fastest official Road Records Association account for a rider on a conventional bicycle is 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds, set by 40 year old Michael Broadwith on 17 June 2018. 

The oldest person to cycle from Land’s End to John o’ Groats is Tony Rathbone (born 10 December 1932) who was aged 81 years and 162 days when he completed the journey on 21 May 2014. He started his journey from Land’s End to John o’ Groats on 7 May 2014 with his friend, William “Billy” Skipper. They cycled 1,526.46 km (948.5 miles) and were riding for a total of 79 hours 34 minutes.

At the age of 4 years and 4 months, Rhoda Jones is believed to have become the youngest to take part in a Land’s End – John o’ Groats cycle challenge on 2 September 2018. Cycling on a trailerbike with her parents Katie and Tom Jones she completed the ride in 22 days, 3 hours, 26 minutes. Her sister Ruth Jones, aged 5, completed the journey before her and became the fastest on a trailerbike.

On 3 August 2018, Joshua Moisey, aged 7 years and 2 months, became the youngest Land’s End – John o’ Groats cyclist on a standard bicycle, riding his own bike alongside brother Reuben (10) and parents Alvin and Hiroko, and raising money for Alzheimer’s Society – oh, as well as giving piano recitals along the way! 

Finally, the record for cycling from Land’s End to John o’ Groats is held by Andy Wilkinson, who completed the journey in 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds on a Windcheetah recumbent tricycle.

This was a very different challenge. Rosalind’s time was spread over nearly 11 weeks and she didn’t have to contend with wind, rain and traffic. Her only view was the chestnut tree whose blossoming we recorded from start to finish

Naturally, we didn’t physically visit the places on our route, but we had such fun researching them and definitely created a new tick list for future travel –  we hope we inspired you too. We will all travel again one day – honest!  Join us tomorrow for a final summing up and a fund raising update.


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