Here we are, raring to go for the last 20 mile push to John O’Groats. We forced ourselves to eat yet another massive cooked breakfast and somehow felt as though we had super-charged legs for the last stretch.
As we left Thurso we picked up a fifth member of our team – a funny little German chap on a motorised bicycle who decided he was going to ride along with us to John O’Groats. He spoke very little English, let out a little giggle after everything he did say, and took it upon himself to stop with us each time we paused for a drink or to look at the view. On the hills (of which there were more than we’d expected) he whizzed on past us, at one point laughing ‘Sorry, I’m going too fast’!
At 7 miles out from John O’Groats, we just had ‘a lap of Richmond Park’ left to do, and the boys switched to turbo mode. We rode our socks off to get to the finish, and persuaded our friend Hans to take this photo after roughly 1005 miles.
At the last minute we agreed we had to go to Duncansby lighthouse, which is the further east point, so that was another 2 miles on. The boys raced ahead, but at the final push they reached the gates at precisely the same moment. Jamie tried for a sneaky overtake but I pointed out that I’d been waiting for him up the last hill and it wouldn’t really have been fair….
Once we’d admired the view (lots of sea) from the lighthouse, we had to turn round and ride the 2 miles back to John O’Groats – that last hill almost defeated us and I genuinely thought I might have to get off and push – funny how the brain works. This is the picture that it was all about:
We met the lovely Helen who had collected our car from London and driven it to John O’Groats to collect us. We were so happy not to have to make the ride to Wick (16 miles away) to catch a train home, and it was great to be able to put our bikes on the roof and drive away – all done!
We dropped off Helen and her son Gregor in Doune, then drove on to Linlithgow to stay with our wonderful friends Louisa, Pascal and Gordon. They had prepared an amazing feast for us to celebrate, complete with champagne and sticky toffee pudding. A truly memorable evening and a brilliant way to end an extraordinary adventure.
Totals: 25 miles, 1,114 feet of ascent; topples from a stationary position: 1; number of people laughing at the topple: 4; completed end to end cycle trips: 1 (1005 miles!!!)
Our route profile: