By Monique Hollinshead - 23rd April 2012 7:03am
Today, we conclude our series covering Monique Hollinshead's and Dave Cooper's epic 8-day cycle ride from Land's End to John o' Groats.
It's the final push northwards, as recalled by Monique:
The last day, we got an early start as Dave’s Mum and Dad had to drive us back to Inverness after the finish and find food. It ended like it started — 24 mph head winds which picked up through the day.
The road followed the coast so my main concern was being able to have good views, which because for a change it wasn't raining, we did. Beautiful countryside, but so so remote, think I would go stir crazy living there.
We faced the hardest climb of the trip, but we were feeling pretty good and it was certainly nothing on the Fred Whitton scale (a brutal sportif in the Lakes) so I was pleasantly surprised. We even got papped on the way up.
The highlight of the day was the tearoom at the Croft Museum, about the only cafe for 30 miles and my vote for runner up in the best café of the trip league. I had Cullen Skink because the Scots always cook it on Come Dine With Me and I needed to know what all the fuss was about. It was ace.
We heard that a group of 15 had passed through about an hour previously but by the time we had home-made fairy cakes our chances of catching them were slim. Still worth a try, we pushed on to Wick.
By then they were 40 minutes ahead, according to Dave’s parents, so not enough miles left to catch them. Never mind, we could enjoy the gentle descent into John o Groats. Erm, there was a lot of irritating headwind climbing before we got the last bit of downhill with the sea ahead.
It looked like you could ride off a cliff — fortunately there was a car park, souvenir shop and numerous people milling about to prevent that happening.
Distance 85.92 m, riding time 6.59, avg. 12.3 mph, ascent 4478 ft.
In conclusion, now I've bored you to death, we had a great time and just wanted to keep going, so you really do ride yourself fit.
There are different ways of doing this trip: we had the Lite speeds (lightweight racing bikes), minimal luggage and support at the end and sometimes during the day.
Others we saw took less direct routes, took their time and had panniers and tourers.
If I did it again, I would like to take longer, do different roads and be self sufficient. I rule out camping though.
I’ve already seen a titanium Dawes that would be just the ticket.
Monday 20th May
Sunday 19th May
Audlem Methodist Church
Audlem Town Hall