LEJOG Day 10: Strathnaver to John O'Groats
3h 52m 0
65h 35m 47s
Other Daily Stats You May Be Interested In
Average Speed: 25.9 km/h
Max Speed: 66.2 km/h
Average Power: 147 watts
Max Power: 587 watts
Average Cadence: 78 rpm
Max Heart Rate: 159 bpm
Glamping, hadn't really done it before, but in the absence of any other accommodation, I thought - why not! It was in the middle of nowhere, in North Scotland, it was quiet and warm (inside) and perfect after a long afternoon in the cold, rain and wind. Wee Hoose Glamping was the name, and if you are up this way, stay a night - Keith (owner) and his "slightly broken" dog Cap, are very welcoming. So a comfy night in a little self-contained pod, and I was recharged (enough) to hit the road for the final day - Strathnaver to John O'Groats.
Surprisingly, it wasn't the traditional up and out, instead a relatively flat, slightly undulating ride towards Bettyhill, and the first sight of ocean I had seen in a while. The sun was shinning, it was cool not cold, and a lovely first part of the day. As you can see below, there are worse places to be.
The flat turned immediately to uphill, just before Bettyhill, then turning right...it kept going. Today, at just a snip over 1000m of ascent, was one of the smaller climbing days, but it didn't half hurt, and with a strengthening head/cross wind, it was a challenge. I think in total, it was around 65%-70% of the climbing in the first half, so always good to get that out of the way in the morning for a more sedate roll in to JOG.
The coastline, as I zipped past, was amazing. So many little streams and glimpses to stop and admire, may not have got to the end yesterday if I had, but also so lovely beaches - and with the wind, there were a few hardy souls out surfing.
There was a bit of sea mist around at times as well, I do love and miss the smell of that, but when it cleared the views went forever - amazing places. Slightly zoomed in panorama of the above shot, that bit of land looked amazing (yes, I know how that sounds, but I think I have done well to get to this point before madness has started to creep in)
The below shows the Vulcan Test Reactor site, to which I was initially slightly disturbed by the volume of rust, but later relieved to understand that although it was set up in the 50's, it is currently decommissioned and being dismantled.
From there it was onto Thurso, I had made a significant dent in today's 100km final ride, and hopefully a more sedate second half...hopefully. Thurso, the most northerly town on mainland Britain, and the only traffic lights I passed today - they were of course, red...all of them.
Lovely little river cutting some shapes into the scenery. So green, will miss that when I get back to grey London. But no time to think of that just yet, I still had to finish my ride.
As it turns out, it was a relatively eventful, not sedate, roll into John O'Groats like i had hoped. It had hedge-diving and flat batteries - I will explain.
Coming along a long flat section, I could see several campervans heading towards me. Not strange, I hear you mumble, as the roads are littered with them up this way, so I noticed, then rode forward. A little orange hatch, behind them, saw his opportunity to overtake what turned out to be three of them, as he didn't see any cars coming the other way...or me. The roads aren't that wide, wide enough to accommodate passing vehicles, but not a lot else, so I was faced with a car coming at me flashing his lights (like I had done something wrong). My choices were head on (not really an option), or a bail into a hedge - Needless to say, the bail one and I was fortunate for it to be not one of those gorse ones. No cuts, bruises or scratches, still alive to tell the tale, I call that a win!
The flat battery was my own doing, I didn't charge my Di2 so 10 miles out it stopped working meaning I was stuck in 5th gear the rest of the way. No biggie, just a slight oversight on my behalf
I made it, after an elapsed time of 9 days 5 hours 49 minutes, I rolled over the line - completely finished, and completely finished off. It had been an amazing, surreal, lonely, painful, stunning adventure, and would do it all again - although not for the next couple of weeks, when I plan on doing very little. Life is all about balance after all.
But this wasn't all about me, this was to help raise funds for the Openwork Foundation who are helping to support charities that assist our most vulnerable. If you haven't already, please use the "donate here" button on the homepage to show your support (share with as many people as you can as well, it all helps raise vital funds).
So where too next? Well home initially, then...well...you will just have to stay tuned. Mini adventures will come first, then 2022 may see the birth of a bigger, grander plan.
As the sun sets on John O'Groats, I will leave you, as tomorrow I have a very short ride (30km) to Wick where I will start my journey home. There will be a couple of bonus blogs over the next week, as I work through my photos, all my data (for you fantastic nerds) and memories from along the trip.
Thank you for your support along the way, your words and encouragement have helped immensely.
Sleep now, for tomorrow I train (doesn't really have the same ring to it).