DAY 19 (special 'buy 18 get one free' deal)

Today's mileage: 21
Final LEJOG mileage: 1,009

Map view:

Google Earth view:

It just wouldn't have been right to end the ride without breaking 1,000 miles, so we arranged to do a little bit more cycling the following day.

Lands End to John O'Groats is the longest journey because you're travelling from the bottom-left to the top-right of the UK, but John O'Groats is not actually the most northerly point. That acolade belongs to Dunnets Head, so Donald was topping up his mileage by cycling there.

That was a reasonable plan, but it meant cycling a little bit south, then west, then north. It struck me as a slightly inelegant solution. I wanted to keep travelling north. Which is tricky if you want to keep your feet dry. Hmmm.

That's just a foot-ferry, but I wonder ...

The answer would appear to be yes. :-) (She was too wide to go over the gangway, but the crew and I lifted her aboard.)

All secured for the journey. GPS switched off to preserve the odometer.

I waved goodbye to John O'Groats, to the south ...

And turned my attentions to the north.

40 minutes later:

GPS back on, and I continued cycling due north.

I was wrong about having run out of Scotland: we'd only run out of mainland Scotland. :-)

The first of the Orkney Islands is South Ronaldsay. Now, if my calculations were correct, all I needed do was cycle to the very top of it, with a couple of small wiggles along the way, and I'd be at 1,000 miles. I started up the hill.

A cafe stop had to be done on the way. As I entered St Margarets Hope, I flagged down a passing postman and asked him where I could find such a thing.

He directed me to here:

A bacon roll and pot of tea were duly consumed as I checked my odometer and the map:

All seemed to be working out perfectly. Four more miles should see me at the northernmost tip of South Ronaldsay. Back on the trike, I cycled there and could see the tip of the island where the causeway connects it to the next Orkney Island, Burray.

I stopped right at the tip, and ...


Oh well: I've run out of Orkney Island 1, but Orkney Island 2 is just over there ...

I don't know about carefully, but I sure as hell was cycling slowly, as I wanted to catch the exact moment the odometer ticked over from 999.99 to 1000.00.


Now the trip was fully and officially complete!

I set off back south to catch the return ferry to John O'Groats, with a final mileage after the return run of 1,009.

We disassembled the trikes and packed everything up ready to go. There was just one final task: Hugo (the motorhome) needed her cheesy photo too:

And that was us done. One end of the country to the other (including one-and-a-bit Orkney Islands). A thousand (and a bit) miles. The holy grail of cycling completed.

A huge thanks to Erica for making it all possible; to Donald, for joining me on the ride and providing mechanical assistance; to Mick, for navigating us from Cornwall to Devon; to everyone on the CTC LEJOG forum who provided invaluable advice; to all the friends who encouraged me along the way; to Sheila and Mel and John for use of their homes; to the many people who toooted, waved and gave us thumbs-up en-route (specially the cheer from the Royal Marines team!); and to the kind-hearted people along the way who so generously afforded assistance.


I've been fortunate enough to have travelled a goodly portion of the world, from Australia in the south to Norway in the north - a total of 64 countries to date. I've had some amazing experiences, from visiting pre-schools in Cambodia through lighting up a Romanian town for xmas to delivering a truckload of morpine to Croatia during the civil war. I've seen some truly spectacular sights, from the view from the top of the tallest building in the sourthern hemisphere through view over Hong Kong from the top of the Peak Tram to the Golden Gate Bridge on a perfect evening. I've walked through the temples of Angkor Wat, explored the ghost-down of Prypiat at Chernobyl and stood gazing over the Teracotta Warriors in Xi'an.

But this bicycle ride through my own country remains one of my fondest memories and proudest achievements. The lesson I mentioned earlier has stayed with me ever since: cycling 1000 miles is done just one pedal rotation at a time.