Rotherham Wheelers Cycling Club


Fundraising for Bluebell Wood Children's Hospice
raised of £5,000 target
by 192 supporters
Donations cannot currently be made to this page
Participants: Tom Knight, Dave Buxton, Steve Wraith, Mahmood Hussain, Mick Weaver, Richard Bellamy
We care for children with shortened lives to support them and their families.


Tom and Dave will be doing this in June 2016

Mahmood, Steve, Mick and Richard will be doing this in July 2016

Land’s End to John O’Groats – Summer 2016

The idea of spending fourteen days eating, sleeping and pedalling, in the Summer, 2016, seemed a fabulous idea. Better still if it could encompass the entire length of mainland UK. That was last Autumn. Here and now, the harsh reality, our lack of preparation, as well as the startling unpredictability of the British weather, began to hit home.

Getting toe-to-top, end-to-end, many people walk from Land’s End to John O’Groats (Ian Botham did it twice), they also hitch-hike, drive in open-topped sports cars, even ride it in 53 and a half hours on a big tricycle. Cyclists prefer going south-west to north-east because the prevailing wind is behind you (instead of starting in Scotland and coming back). The cyclists’ speed record for the full length is a fraction over 44 hours. We would travel at a sight-seeing, touring pace.

A small bunch of middle-aged blokes, with expensive and hopefully reliable steeds, would dip their rear wheels in the water at Land’s End and head North .. well, East, initially, along the southern Cornwall coast to St. Austell and the multi-pronounceable small town of Fowey. A brief respite from the pedalling happens when a short ferry-boat journey, across a sea inlet, saves a fair few miles and a lot of time.

Trekking across the wilds of Dartmoor, with or without the company of Conan-Doyle’s Hounds of the Baskerville’s, will be a memorable day, before the pleasure of Somerset. Pleasure for a few reasons : at last we reach some flat roads. We will also pass near to Glastonbury, Wookey Hole’s caverns, Cheddar Gorge and the original Sustrans bike/walking path linking Bath and Bristol, constructed in 1979.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s engineering skill gives us safe passage across the River Severn and we skirt the English-Welsh border, close to the mountains where the SAS train and eventually we reach Chester. By-passing the zoo and the chemical industry of Runcorn and Widnes, we carefully dodge the holes (in the road) in Blackburn, Lancashire, foretold in John Lennon’s lyrics for the Beatles song ‘A Day in the Life’.

Slaidburn. Where ? On the map, it’s as close as we will be getting to the broad acres of Yorkshire and the picturesque Dales. Close, but not close enough. Okay – it is in Lancashire, but it will have to sport the White Rose for our journey. In the world of music, Slaidburn is a staple marching tune played by brass bands everywhere .. ‘dah, dah .. dah-de-dah .. dah-de-dah .. dah-de-dah .. and so on.. you’ll catch it .. and be hearing it in your sleep ..

Into the Lake District, the congested motor traffic will probably slow us down (or vice-versa). Our map reading will have us enjoying the views and staying firmly to the flatter roads, rather than climbing hills. Let’s hope so. By the time we reach Carlisle and Gretna Green, we hope still to be good friends .. good enough to celebrate together the passing of the journey’s half-way point. Some smart piece of GPS kit will have to tell us precisely where, on the day. It’ll be a time for a moment’s reflection .. how are you feeling and riding .. is the bike okay .. has the weather been kind .. are you still fretting about having left the gas on at home ?

Scotland will bring a few changes : accent, bank notes, breakfasts, customs, legislature, political affiliation, tribal loyalties .. and those feared, biting midges which no antiseptic cream will defeat. Time for long sleeves and trousers.

Here the route may split. Many travellers prefer the islands and scenery of Scotland’s glorious West coast. We’re going straight through the middle of Glasgow. (ed: whose idea was that ?). From the southern tip of Loch Lomond, our chosen route again tries to avoid hills and doesn’t always follow straight lines. We include Pitlochry, where, by this time, the salmon may well be leaping more energetically than we will be cycling.

The atmospheric grandeur of Glen Coe beckons soon. If there is a ‘dreich’ (an old Scots word apparently meaning a combination of dull, overcast, drizzly, cold, misty and miserable weather), we will have to create our own atmosphere.; though only one of us claims to be a decent singer. Later on .. eyes on the road, please .. there is a run alongside the full length of Loch Ness. North of Inverness, the Highlands Region of Scotland has long been a place for cyclists to escape the demands of everyday life. Solitude is there to be embraced and enjoyed in this sparsely populated landscape .. all the more so, if we’ve fallen out with each other by then. Beware the climate again. Even in the Summer months up there, ‘all four seasons’ in one day are not unknown.

The final day will include a stop at Dunnet Head (Bay, Hill or Point, depending on which map you look at), the northern most tip of mainland UK. That afternoon contains a few more miles along the coast road to John O’Groat’s and the fulfilment of our optimistic hope that the hotel booking will be honoured. The next day is the beginning of the journey back to Rotherham .. about 500 miles. Now, did anybody plan anything ….

Footnote – there are many, many variations .. our route is 983 miles long and includes the following route;

Stage 1: Lands End to Fowey (64 miles)

Stage 2: Fowey to Moreton Hampstead (55 miles)

Stage 3: Moreton Hampstead to Street (72 miles)

Stage 4: Street to Monmouth (68 miles)

Stage 5: Monmouth to Clun (53 miles)

Stage 6: Clun to Runcorn (80 miles)

Stage 7: Runcorn to Slaidburn (63 miles)

Stage 8: Slaidburn to Keswick (71 miles)

Stage 9: Keswick to Moffat (72 miles)

Stage 10: Moffat to Loch Lomond (85 miles)

Stage 11: Loch Lomond to Glencoe (68 miles)

Stage 12: Glencoe to Inverness (83 miles)

Stage 13: Inverness to Crask Inn (66 miles)

Stage 14: Crask Inn to John O Groats (83 miles)

About the charity

At Bluebell Wood we provide care to children & young adults whose lives are sadly just too short; both in their own homes and our hospice in North Anston. We believe that every family deserves to make magical memories with their child, we need to raise £14,000 each day to keep our doors open.

Donation summary

Total raised
+ £965.50 Gift Aid
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