What's it all about?

At the end of September 2012 I completed a cycle from Portsmouth 2 Penzance a total of 273 miles! raising money for Children In Need is the Plan. This was also be a personal challenge for me as I haven't been cycling in over 25 years and that was only for fun nothing serious. On top of that have a prolapsed disc, was 46 years old and at the start of 2012 a bit over weight, well lot over weight really, since then I've lost nearly 3 stone! So I opted to do the big one, John O'Groats 2 Lands End on May 6th 2013. The End 2 End or P2P (point to point, as it's sometimes called ) around 1000 miles! This time I had company, Colin, a friend from work, who has said he is as mad as I am and would like to come! This blog contains that story....This event is in memory of the sad passing of my mum on 17th of April this year having lost her fight with terminal Bowel Cancer.

I guess you'd call it the sequel, I have decided it would be just rude not to go back the other way!!! so May 2015, with a new friend, Pete and with Alan driving a support vehicle ( luxury) we plan the classic Lands End to John O'Groats, also known as LEJOG
. Mad ? yes I think we must be.

PLEASE SEE OUR NEW WEBSITE www.lejog4us.com

Day 2 Brora 2 Fort Augustus

A day of mixed blessings and three bridges.
The day started with visit to the bathroom at 5.30 and being greeted by the window rattling in the wind  (the forecast stated 15 to 20mph head winds) and the pitter patter of rain. Full wet weather gear required I think. After another full breakfast, we left the B&B and the rain was no more and the wind was slightly with us, more of that Scottish sense of humour  :-) Within a few miles, the sun popped out and the wet weather gear came off, just time for a quick snap of Dunrobin Castle ( I know it looks much better from the other side but that involved paying!) Shortly after we came across the  Glenmorangie distillery, I was sorely tempted but we trundled along to the first bridge over a misty Dornoch Firth, the wind was a stiff side on by now, having picked up from earlier. Next came Cromarty Firth and bridge number two. Here we saw a single seal sat on a rock just in the shallows, looking across at the two mad blokes cycling. The bridge crossing was swiftly followed by a 3 mile climb up to Tore. The shopper did Colin proud and got him all the way to the top 'nay bother', I'm learning the native language. This could turn into something like a Top Gear special, where Colin falls in love with his trusty mode of transport and keeps it at the end. Another climb and as we get to the top we can see the Beauly Firth and Kessock bridge, all downhill to the bridge. With a cruel and unfair twist in the weather, not only was the wind now head on and brutal but we're having to peddle to keep moving downhill! It transpires on checking Strava later we managed the Kessock descent with an average speed of 6.6mph! Then we had to cross it, scary! We had arrived in Inverness and stopped for MacDonlds....honest it was all we could find. The next 30 miles was along the side of Loch Ness, starting with a 3 mile ride along the tow path of the Caledonian canal, not really for road bikes. For all of the 3 miles I was expecting to hear the deflating hissing sound from my tyres. I didn't need to worry about the shopper it was taking it in it's stride. A quick photo from a kind lady of the two of us and with no flat tyres onwards we went. Well for a mile or so, then Colin shouts "Nic I've got a problem", a strange noise he says. I soon discover a snapped chain link! Luckily I had brought a spare set of chain links....unluckily it didn't fit as it was for the thinner chains on our road bikes and not the shoppers bigger chain. Now I felt like either James May or Richard Hammond (you decide which) and out with the chain link removal tool I had packed and I successfully removed the broken link put it back together again and got us going ....ok I guess that's probably more James May, minus the hair! . Oh by the way, I spy road kill today included, a deer, badger, frog! and something fluffy we couldn't work out. Also saw a road sign you don't see that often "caution Otters crossing" and "caution sheep using the road". We also had to cross a unmanned level crossing, not many of those left. Back to Loch Ness and we pass Urquhart castle, no sign of Nessy. Then out of the corner of my eye, to the rear of me something, lurking, looming......could it be? Unless Nessy wears Lycra and a yellow jacket...it was just Colin cresting the hill behind me!
Arriving at The Bank House B&B Fort Augustus, we were warmly welcomed again, followed by, "would you like some tea?some cake? and can I do you any washing?" YES to all of the above please :-) Another day done. 89.07 miles today, 74.67 yesterday and 34.72 on the first.. So about 800 to go! X

Day 1 supplement

A few additions from yesterday I forgot to mention. First off we saw our first to LEJOGers, struggling up a hill we were going down. They had that deranged mad staring smile, that you knew meant "are we there yet!"
Secondly a recommendation for the Inverbrora B &B. Malcolm was a star he put our bikes to sleep in the sheep shed, with the sheep, who were merrily singing them off to sleep. The rooms were really excellent.