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247 %
raised of £250 target
by 10 supporters
Les Pittwood avatar
Les Pittwood

Cycling from Top to Bottom

Fundraising for Practical Action

247 %
raised of £250 target
by 10 supporters
  • Team members: Les Pittwood, Jimmy Pittwood, & Steve Dewdney
  • Event: John O Groats to Lands End

Practical Action

Practical Action is an international development organisation that puts ingenious ideas to work so people in poverty can change their world.

Charity Registration No. 247257



On 13th June 2007 i  travelled upto John O Groats by plane and car in order to cycle all the way back down to Lands End. I did the cycle for charity with  my brother Jimmy and Steve Dewdney. The total mileage for the cycle was 876 miles by my odometer.

We completed the trip on our own, without any back-up. We carried everything we needed in panniers mounted on the bikes. We completed the cycle in nine and a bit days.



The cost of all accomodation and travelling and other expenses in the trip is being met by ourselves. We are raising  money for Practical Action as our chosen charity.

Practical Action is a charity with a difference. It's basically about helping people in the developing world to help themselves.

Actions like instead of providing food providing the means to obtain food by setting up fish farms, and installing wind power electricity generators instead of relying on Kerosene lamps- enabling poor communities to gain access to simple effective technologies to help themselves.

Practical Action is all about bringing positive lasting change to peoples lives. for more details.



The cycle itself took just over 9 days. We stayed in Bed and Breakfast's and i've listed the web addresses should anyone else wish to follow in our footsteps. Most of the B&B's were really lovely so the websites are worth a look. The prices are very reasonable varying between £25 and £39 per person. Each day as we set off (for a bit of fun) we awarded a star rating for the B&B for Accomodation and for Value for Money. 5 Stars being the maximum.

We stopped for a meal or a bite to eat every 20-25 miles and sampled the local hostelries at the end of a hard day's cycle. Strangely we all put on weight!

June 13th We set off via Gary Tubbs Taxi shuttle from Bideford to Bristol Airport from where we flew to Inverness and then travelled on to John O Groats with our bikes in another taxi shuttle  

We assembled our bikes and set off from John O Groats to Wick which was a short 18 miles after the days travelling up from sunny Devon. We spent the night in the royal burgh of Wick at . We had a lovely warm welcome and we rated this B&B as 5 star for value for money and 4 star for accomodation. Excellent breakfast. Would definitely recommend this B&B.

June 14th Wick to Alness 88 miles.A relatively easy day as we had tailwinds behind us for most of the day. We spent the night at a lovely setting on the foreshores of the Cromarty Firth at We awarded this B&B 5 stars for accomodation and 4 stars for value for money. Warm welcome. Excellent breakfast. Highly Recommended.

June 15th  The road went upwards for mile after mile. Through the Grampian Mountains from Alness to Pitlochry 102 miles, We thought that we'd lost Steve at one point but we met up at Aviemore for a pretty average lunch at a pub on a roundabout. We stayed at Very good breakfast. The owners were very helpful and drew a map for us (to navigate through Perth) and lent me a needle and thread to do some repairs on my kit. Accomodation rating 3 star. Value for money 3 star.

June 16th Pitlochry to Galashiels 105 miles,  As expected navigating Edinburgh was pretty tricky and we ended up cycling through Edinburgh City centre on a Saturday afternoon  when the roads were chock-a-block. Had a nice meal at a chippy in Kelty where the friendly owner gave us some Mars bars to keep us going through the afternoon. The weather was misty and damp but we made it eventually after eight and a half hours cycling to . Where we received a friendly welcome. The breakfast was very good. There were drying facilities for cyclists clothes. 5 Stars for accomodation and 5 stars for Value for money. The landlady even gave me £10 sponsorship. Highly recommended.

June 17th Goodbye Scotland down to the lovely Lake District . Gallashiels to Patterdale (Penrith) 93 miles,  We had a nice midday meal at an italian cafe in Langholm. We stayed in Patterdale in a B&B that does'nt have a website and where the accomodation was pretty basic (although the cost was reasonable) so we won't give that one a mention. Beautiful scenery in the Lake District but the car drivers were nuts!

June 18th Patterdale to Garstang (Preston) a nice easy 60 miles, Well except for the 20% gradient up the mile long Kirkstone Pass. Steve had troubles with his bike and had to have a new bottom bracket fitted. We stayed at Little Stubbins Excellent accomodation. Warm welcome with a cuppa and home made cakes. The landlady even washed and dried our dirty clothing and gave us a lift to the nearest pub which sold food. Excellent breakfast and also gave me £10 in sponsorship. This was as good as you can get. 5 stars for accomodation. 5 stars for value for money.  HIghly Recommended.

June 19th Garstang to Shrewsbury 93 miles in seven hours of cycling. Traffic was inevitably pretty heavy for  the first 40 miles or so. We arrived in Shrewsbury just after a heavy downpour had commenced and we were soaked. We stayed at. The landlady was so good that she gave me a cheque for £75 for Practical Action. I said that was too much and she said we'd only cost her 3 breakfast's. You can't beat that, it's got to be another 5 stars for Value for money.

June 20th Shrewsbury to Clevedon 117 miles via the Severn bridge pedestrian crossing at Avonmouth which was pretty difficult to find, We met (and overtook) a lady of 72 who was doing the John O Groat's to Land's End cycle. She had set out on June 1st and was hoping to reach Lands End by the end of June. Fantastic. This was a long day of cycling. Nine and a half hours in the saddle. We spent the night at Kenn We had en-suite facilities but two of the beds were put-me-up type beds and we had to share a breakfast table with another resident so we only rated this B&B as 2 stars on both counts.

June 21st Clevedon to Bideford 100 miles, Heavy rain showers from noon onwards. I cycled on alone from midday so as to meet my work mates before they finished work. They gave me a fantastic greeting outside Bridge Buildings as i crossed Bideford's old bridge. Then home sweet home for the night.

June 22nd Bideford to Lands End 108 hilly miles hurray! This featured the worst stretch of cycling that we came across on the A30 for the 8 or so miles just before and after Redruth. A real nightmare alongside a busy dual carriageway with debris/drains/ and catseyes in the hard shoulder. It was a pretty emotional finish as we entered Lands End, well for a few seconds, and then we just loaded up the bikes and headed home for a slap up meal and a few pints to celebrate!

Thanks everyone for your support.



20 years ago four of us cycled from Lands End to John O Groats and raised £1000 for a local charity. The photo at the top of this page was taken when we reached John O Groats after spending a day cycling into 50 mile an hour headwinds! Unfortunately we did'nt have Dave "Iron-Man Metherell" with us this time. We did it in 8 days 20 years ago but we were younger then and had the prevailing wind behind us.

Steve and me cycled this time on the same trusty steeds. 20 year old Coventry Eagle Touristiques with 12 friction gears. Jimmy splashed out a grand on a 28 gear Dawes Super Galaxy which did all the work for him!


Thank you for visiting my fundraising page. Please dig deep and sponsor me online. Practical Action is great charity and with your help can do a lot of good in the developing world.

Donating through this site is simple, fast and totally secure. It is also the most efficient way to sponsor me: Practical Action will receive your money faster and, if you are a UK taxpayer, an extra 28% in tax will be added to your gift at no cost to you.

If you would rather sponsor me in the more traditional manner then just give me a ring on 01237 428932 or send a cheque made out to Practical Action to Les Pittwood, Bridge Buildings, Bideford, Devon, EX39 3JY (please also put your home address so that Gift Aid (as above at 28%) can be added to your sponsorship

So please sponsor me now!

Many thanks for your support.


  • 20 years ago. It all seems hazy now!