Keep up to date with the intrepid quartet on their travels whilst on the ride by visiting this page. You'll see details of where they got to, how many miles they did, if any one got lost and any other events on their journey. We'll endeavour to get pictures on the page, but that will depend on how knackered we are during the day.
Start Day minus 1 - Sunday 13th June 2004 - to John O'Groats
Left this morning just after 8, waiting for Gooner to get his arse out of the bog after a curry last night. At time of writing, 13:20, we are just leaving Glasgow on the A80 heading towards the M80. It is difficult to type whilst in a military spec Land Rover traveling at 60mph with a trailer and 3 fat blokes in the back. Hope to be at John O'Groats in time for the footie.
Trusty Transport to Scotland and they're off!
Nearly there and the training is still going well!
Day 1 - Monday 14th June 2004 - John O'Groats to Balintore
After the shocking England result we were of the opinion that things could only get better!
We woke to a wet John O'Groats – as wet as Heskey’s attempt at a tackle in the 90th minute!
From the Guesthouse we made the 1 mile journey down to the John O'Groats sign post for the traditional photo call.
We soon left the drizzle behind us and headed into the “prevailing winds” – now we did expect a bit of wind – hey, we are in the Scottish Highlands!
What we didn’t expect was gusts of up to 80 mph and having to pedal DOWNHILL!
To say it was horrendous would be an understatement. After 6 and a half hours on the go we managed to leave the winds behind and find some very heavy rain.
On the technical side of things – Matt’s rear derailleur snapped causing damage to his chain and back wheel – Bobby B and his Q.R.V. (Quick Response Vehicle) to the rescue.
All in all it was an awful first day – totaling 98 miles at an average speed of a mere 10.2mph. That is over 9 and a half hours in the saddle during a day that started at 0800 and finished at 2130! Knackered, wet, sore and hungry – the only light at the end of the day was the B&B – the Rowchoish in Balintore. Jackie stayed up and made sure we were all fed and watered and ready for tomorrow. She also kindly informed us that the weather forecast for tomorrow is equally as dismal as today. Bugger!
Time in saddle 9 hours 38 minutes
Miles 98.46 miles
Average Speed 10.2 mph
Time of departure 0820
Time of arrival 2130
Max Speed 38.5 mph
They really are there! OK let's get started.
Day 2 - Tuesday 15th June 2004 - Balintore to Fort William
As some singer said once, “What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours”
After a sleep and some super hospitality at the B&B, we were in buoyant mood – thinking that things really couldn’t be as bad as yesterday.
The weather was fair and brightened throughout the day – the wind was consistent with our expectations but nowhere near as bad as yesterday.
The routing today was fair and could be described as “undulating”. The majority of the day was spent aside the Lochs and what a sight. The views and scenery were absolutely superb.
Just over the half way mark we were met by Bobby B for hotdogs and refreshments (see picture) – where would we be without him!?
A few running repairs on the bikes and it was off for the second half of the day.
The team split into two pairs – more suited to each others pace. Dazzlin and Gooner went ahead – finishing just over an hour before Matt and Cuzman.
The extra hour COULD have given us more beer drinking time but Gooner seemed more intent on talking to his missus (and still I wait for beer!)
We are looking forward to a much shorter day tomorrow – even though it is up hill – so that combination equals beer and a lie-in.
Until tomorrow I bid you a farewell.
Time in saddle 7 hours 37 minutes
Miles 98.25 miles
Average speed 12.9 mph
Time of departure 0850
Time of arrival 2000
Max speed 34.3 mph
Ready for more pain? - Gooner don't do it! - Grub up
Day 3 - Wednesday 16th June 2004 - Fort William to Crianlarich
Last night went out in Fort William for a monster Chinese and a few beers. Had a lie in this morning due to the forecast low mileage today, en route passed through Glen Coe and many other hills. Plenty of UP and a far bit of down.
Wind was fortunately behind us for most of the route but what can I say about the rain, 'It's the middle of f*****g June for Christ's sake'. It absolutely chucked down with little left that's still dry. Dazzlin would like to make the following threat, "If anyone from 'down south' complains about the weather, I will personally come down and poke you in the eye ....... twice".
From this rant it is taken that the weather has been better!
Big thank you to Bob Bowerman again today for the delightful lunch of hot dogs and mushroom soup cooked in the back of the Q.R.V. Landy.
Injuries sustained so far are:
Gooner - Old football injury in his knee has flared up
Cuz - Old football injury in both knees! (Always has to go one better)
Dazzlin - Old football injury in his ankle
Matt - Arse is ripped to shreds! Looks like the Japanese flag.
Time in saddle - Lost track of that one
Miles 58.2 miles
Average speed 13.3 mph
Time of departure 0950
Time of arrival 1640
Max speed - Can't tell as too much water from the rain in the cycle computer!
We've arrived and Matt looks impressed! - Lots of very UP
Day 4 - Thursday 17th June 2004 - Crianlarich to Ochiltree
The 30 miles of Loch Lomond into Dumbarton was very pleasurable! Undulating with lots of high speed roads. The weather was good all day which made the journey along Loch Lomond excellent. As we hit the hussle and bustle of Glasgow we were really held back. Road works over the Erskin bridge lost us nearly 30 mins and Matt getting lost just after Glasgow airport lost us another 20! It was hard going through Paisley because the map reader didn’t have a clue where he was! (at no point did I get lost – I just didn’t know where I was)
Once we got back on the A77 towards Kilmarnock and saw the comfort of the land rover spirits were once again high. Bob met us with pies, mars bars and plenty of encouragement towards the next pub.
We had to make an unscheduled stop at he “Wee Train” pub in “Galstone” to watch the England game – strangely enough there seemed to be plenty of Switzerland supporters with Scots accents!!! Mind you – their generosity was much against the Scots stereotype. Fantastic! See the photo. This is where I am writing this update. Another 12 miles to the B&B after several pints – this could take some time!
I’m back! The last twelve miles were pretty much up-hill as the locals of the “Wee Train” had the pleasure of telling us. We were greeted by the pleasing site of “Laigh Tarbeg Farm” and absolutely palatial working dairy farm and B&B. We couldn’t be made more welcome, taking our mind off our aching saddle sore! After a fish and chip supper and a few more beers, off to bed ready for a long, long, long, long day to Penrith.
Time in saddle 6 hours 25 minutes
Average Speed 14.2 mph
Time of departure 0740
Time of arrival 1945
Max Speed 42.4mph
Gooner asks "What's the Firkin Point of this bike ride anyway?" - Dazzlin wants to know if we have taken a wrong turn somewhere - The Wee Train full of Scottish Switzerland supporters
Day 5 - Friday 18th June 2004 - Ochiltree to Penrith
Reluctantly we left the beautiful surroundings of the Laigh Tarbeg Farm and its fine hospitality and headed towards Gods Country. The journey out of Ochiltree was fairly easy going apart from everyone having sore limbs which were clearly not yet up to operating temperature( Cuz completed 0.8 miles in one hour at a certain point!!!).
The next 30 miles were absolute bliss as they wound down through the foothills of the Scottish Highlands into Dumfries. More easy cycling continued through Annan and into Gretna where we anticipated returning to the land of our birth, the land of the great and hopefully some decent bloody weather!! The obligatory photo shoot took place at the ‘Welcome to England’ sign where we bade farewell to Scotland (good riddance more like, its June, why can I see my own breath for gods sake) and rode, this is no word, of a lie into the clearer, sunnier and yes, less bleak looking climes of the motherland.
The ride from here on in was bloody hard, up and down, up and down and up and down and up and down and up and down until we reached the familiar sight of Penrith.
To surmise: First 80 miles a piece of cake. Last 24 miles a bastard!! Also all Jelly babies are not the same and we are off for a curry and a day off tomorrow!!!!
Time in saddle 6 hrs 55mins
Average Speed 15.3 mph
Time of departure 0845
Time of arrival 1930
Max Speed 36.1
Do we have to start again? - Gooner you can do it, nearly there - At last we're nearly home
Day 6 - Saturday 19th June 2004 - Penrith to nowhere (day off)
The Great Jelly Baby debate!
Over the last 5 days we have had the pleasure of sampling many brands of jelly baby. Jelly Babies are full of goodness, artificial colourings, flavours and other artificial stuff. All of this is nice when riding extreme distances.
The more remote areas do not supply an ample variety of “wee babies” (said in the accent of the fat Scots bloke from Austin Powers) hence the desire to report on the merits of “babies”.
Now, all jelly babies are NOT the same!
When faced with a remote Scots village store it is important to decide which sugary snack will be the most beneficial throughout the day.
Own brand “babies” have proven too chewy and lacking in colour for endurances purposes. Bassett’s, however, fulfil all the all of the requirements of such a journey. Their juiciness is unsurpassed and tenderness incomparable!
During the consumption of such “babies” we have observed the white dusting of the baby.
We assume that the dusting is added to prevent the “babies” from sticking together but after much debate we are unsure of the dusting substance.
Take the time to lick a “baby” and join in the debate. Some critics believe the dusting to be “icing sugar” others believe it to be “amphetamine” .
Look at the “baby” photos and post on the guest book which you think are “bassett’s” and which are “own brand”.
More interesting stuff tomorrow on the way to Wigan.
The great debate, which are Bassetts?
Day 7 - Sunday 20th June 2004 - Penrith to Wigan
Good day with quick runs during the ride. Matt had a cracking day after suffering slightly during the first 5 riding days. All was going swimmingly until we reached Kendall where drama unfolded of such magnitude it had never been seen before in the town and probably never again. The story will be told from generation to generation for years to come. Matt's pedal crankshaft snapped causing him to slip and slice his leg open. Nurse Sally and Dr. Bob to the rescue.
Matt was taken to hospital and had to endure several stitches and will rejoin the team on their epic within a day or so. Going for a few beers tonight in Wigan.
We're planning to start dead early tomorrow to make sure that we arrive at Telford in time for the footie match England v Croatia.
Time in saddle 6 hrs 40mins
Average Speed 14.5 mph
Time of departure 0915
Time of arrival 1915
Max Speed 47.3 mph (superb!)
Has anyone seen the sign for Lancashire? - Has everyone been to the toilet before we start? - Someone has nicked my tyre!
Do you mind, I was asleep - I thought the road was a bit bumpy, now I know why
Day 8 - Monday 21st June 2004 - Wigan to Telford
One of the shorter days mileage wise. Wigan to Telford - an early start was required to ensure arrival for the England v Croatia game. The early start meant negotiating the rush hour traffic through the centre of Warrington in the torrential rain.
We passed John Knight's barge mooring - but no sign of John! 10 miles south of Warrington saw bright sunshine which followed us for the rest of the day. It really is grim up north. Daz's brother, Steve, Mum and friend, Dawn, have joined us last night and are currently working their way through their second bottle of wine. Tonight's entertainment will include watching Bob and Steve drinking each other to excess!
COME ON ENGLAND!!!!!
Time in saddle 5 hrs 20mins
Average Speed 14.2 mph
Time of departure 0815
Time of arrival 1700
Max Speed 37.3 mph
Day 9 - Tuesday 22nd June 2004 - Telford to Chepstow
Left the beauty of Telford early and the first part of the day it was a breeze. 10 miles before hitting Wales the heavens opened and the terrain become very hilly with hill after hill after hill. Outrageous!
Absolutely f*****g hate Wales due to crap weather. Not much else to say about that.
Arrived in Chepstow battered and bruised from the elements but glad to get there.
Bon voyage Cuz - Has anyone seen Dazzlin? - Gooner in full action
Time for a break, me thinks
Day 10 - Wednesday 23rd June 2004 - Chepstow to Tiverton
Awoke to another gloriously bad day with the wind howling around us. Left Chepstow and headed towards the Severn Bridge only to find that it had been closed due to the very bad weather. Really didn't fancy the stupid amount of miles detour around the River Severn so we sneaked across. Not sure if we were meant to but sod it.
Weather did not let up all day with the wind in our faces make the going hard. Roads were fortunately more forgiving with few hills, normally this would allow averages of around 20mph on these types of road. We were lucky to be doing 9mph! Whole day lasted 11 hours, not good.
Apparently in other areas of Devon and Somerset trees had been blown over closing roads! Whose bloody idea was it do cycle from John O'Groats to Lands End in this direction!!!!!!!!
I want to rant on more about the bloody weather but children might be reading this so I will save that for later.
Our support crew have made a change, Sally's Dad, Alan, has joined us on our travels to provide the food and good will, many thanks to Bob for the fantastic support he has provided up until now.
Suffice to say, this was the worst day so for on the journey with the only saving grace that there is only one more long day ahead of us and the prospect of watching England play Portugal will inspire us tomorrow.
Day 11 - Thursday 24th June 2004 - Tiverton to Bugle
The route itself was difficult leaving Tiverton, extremely, EXTREMELY hilly the rolling English countryside. Beautiful to look at but an absolute shister to cycle through!!! After negotiating the difficult "B" roads we arrived onto the infamous A30 - busy and once again "rolling". The wind was once again strong. Now - we expected the wind to be against us throughout - hence the "suicide" route BUT the past 3 days have seen some of the worst winds to hit the south west of England since the day before D-Day. 60 bloody years. 60 BLOODY YEARS! Normally the A30 would have been "ok" but due to the strong winds made very tough going.
The village of Bugle was made in plenty of time to see the England game and the shocking performance of a certain arse of a referee. I think no more needs to be said on that.
Time in saddle 6 hrs 45mins
Average Speed 11.7 mph (due to high winds!)
Time of departure 0900
Time of arrival 1820
Max Speed 38.3 mph
Day 12 - Friday 25th June 2004 - Bugle to Penzance
The refereeing decisions put to the back of our minds - we only had 45 miles to go before we met up with friends, relatives and loved ones. By far and away the best weather of the week! A light breeze (in our face - as expected!) and the sun was shining (as it still is!)
We soon reintroduced ourselves to the busy A30 and the convoy of caravans which goes with it. After 30 miles we were greeted by that oh so familiar welcoming sight of the Legend that is Bob. (from now on to pronounced "Bhab!" in an extremely loud voice).
As we greeted Cornwall, so the culinary delights of Cornwall greeted us. Bob (or "Bhab!") supplied us with genuine Cornish pasties - which were kept piping hot under the bonnet of the Landy and genuine Cornish Ice Cream! As we enjoyed the delights I heard Gooner say, "Bob is the sole reason that we are all still alive" and to that end - I declare that with all the powers vested in me (which ain't a lot - granted) that from this day forth Bob (or "Bhab!") shall only be addressed as "SIR BOB".
Enough of that. We are now in a pub garden, training for the last ten miles tomorrow. We will set off tomorrow at around 11ish which will give our website administrator time to get here and be in the pub by 1 - no later!
Time in saddle 2 hrs 57mins
Average Speed 15.5 mph
Time of departure 0940
Time of arrival 1420
Max Speed 38.3 mph
Do we have to leave to pub? - Lovely Jubbly
We are very nearly there!
Day 13 - Saturday 26th June 2004 - Penzance to Lands End!
At last, only ten miles to do before we reach the finishing post. Several supporters have come to join us as we cross the line. These supporters also helped us to get some rather nasty hangovers from the night before.
With only a short distance to travel not a lot to tell apart from thank f*** it is now over.
Visit the website regularly as there will be new postings showing a photographic diary of the whole two weeks. For now have a look at some if these pictures showing the last moments of a long and sometimes arduous journey.
Nearly there (Robson get out of the way!) - At last the finish - A happy bunch of lads!
After traveling around 2000 miles in support of the lads on the trip Bob (or Sir Bhab as he should be referred to) actually managed to miss the lads crossing the line as he got lost at the Lands End park!
A combined effort - Time for a drink I think