Thursday, July 5, 2012

Lands End to John O'Groats Bike Ride

We would like to offer our thanks and support to Wayne Stevenson from Kimberworth who has volunteered   to ride all the way from Lands End to John O'Groats to help us fund Oscar's on-going physiotherapy treatments.

Wayne's itinerary is:

  1. On the day of departure we will be making an early start from the famous signpost at the most south westerly point on the English mainland, Lands End. We might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of the Wolf Rock Lighthouse and maybe even the Scillies if the weather is very clear. The first day is perhaps, one of the toughest. The hills in Cornwall are not particularly high, but they are steep and there are a lot of them, any miles that are done in training, prior to the ‘big trip’ will reap huge dividends on this early stage.
  2. The second day of the journey will find us with a little more ‘Cornish cycling’, short and steep ascents followed by a quick descent. The first major city of our trip is Plymouth and once clear of Plymouth more climbs await as we cycle up onto Dartmoor. The famous grey fortress style prison makes a dramatic landmark as we regroup and spend the rest of the afternoon bowling along through one of the most spectacular landscapes in the country. 
  3. The next day of our adventure will begin with some hilly cycling as we negotiate the back roads towards Exeter. As we leave Exeter behind the terrain becomes a little easier and after lunch, as we will be wending our way to Street in Somerset and spending the night at the Swiss chalet style youth hostel or in one of the many B&B's in Glastonbury town centre.
  4. This morning we will cycle through the charming scenery of the Isle of Avalon. We will be leaving Street and the memorable view of Glastonbury Tor behind us as we make our way through the wildlife rich, former Somerset Levels towards Wells. A sharp climb out of Wells is rewarded with some fine cycling across the top of the Mendip Hills, before dropping to Chew Valley lake & our lunch stop at Barrow Gurney. After lunch we will cycle to Bristol & cross the impressive bridge over the River Severn to Chepstow. The afternoon is spent cycling along the Wye Valley - a truly memorable days cycling.
  5. The fifth day of the journey is perhaps one of the easiest, there are very few hills to speak of and the scenery is stunning with the Black Mountains in the distance. The roads are very quiet and the scenery amongst the best of the trip. We will be cycling to the west of Leominster and eventually stopping for the night at the recently restored watermill at Clun Mill, a local pub or B&B. Clun has a couple of great real ale pubs and places to eat.
  6. A scenic, undulating road takes us away from Clun to the white & black timbered buildings of Shrewsbury. After Shrewsbury the route is flat & easy as we continue northwards along the Cheshire plains so although the mileage is high this is one of the easiest days of the tour. Our hotel this evening offers a swimming pool, steam room & a sports massage can be arranged if you want to relax the muscles in your tired legs.
  7. The end of the first week is marked by a day of navigation and the tour leader will be doing quite a bit of the hard work. Leaving Runcorn we will be weaving through the Manchester - Liverpool conurbation. The cycling is flat but the navigation is tricky as we have a number of busy roads, roundabouts & town centres such as Warrington, Leigh & Bolton to navigate. You can pay close attention to the detailed route notes, use the Garmin files or take it easy & stick with the tour guide so that you don't need to worry about navigating. As the day wears on we will be arriving to the north of Blackburn where the countryside beckons once again.
  8. After spending Saturday evening in Slaidburn, Sunday will see us cycling through this area of outstanding natural beauty, some of the scenic delights on offer will be the Forests internationally important heather moorland, its blanket bogs, picturesque villages and hopefully we will sight some of the rare birds which frequent the Forest. This is one of the most scenic yet challenging days as we continue northwards through the spectaluar Lake District scenery & well known towns such as Ambleside & Windamere.
  9. On the second Monday morning, the ‘daily commute’ or the ‘school run’, will be the last thing on our minds, as stiff climbs from the Lake District are forgotten we will be navigating through the tail end of the Lake District towards the city of Carlisle, the terrain flattens out around this historic city and the cycling becomes relatively easy as the day wears on.
  10. Tuesday will begin with some hilly cycling as we traverse the Carsphairn Forest and travel northeast to follow the cycle paths and quieter roads, which lead into Glasgow. At the south of the city we join the River Clyde cycleway, and as we cross the city we will be enjoying a traffic free ride through one of Europe’s more vibrant cities, which is now defined by its old and new architecture, as well as interesting sights such as the Clydebank Docks and Glasgow Harbour. With the Trossachs ahead of us, we will be heading for Loch Lomond and stay in an impressive castle on the banks of Loch Lomond.
  11. As we depart from Loch Lomond we will be greeted with some amazing scenery as we head north, we will hopefully be feeling the benefits of a week and a half in the saddle, as the long steady, spectacular ascents open up glorious views of the Grampian Mountains around Crianlarich and the Bridge of Orchy. Eventually we will find ourselves in the historic and stunning village of Glen Coe.
  12. Leaving the city behind we will be crossing the Moray Firth via the Kessock Bridge ascending onto the Black Isle before descending towards Dingwall. Just out of Dingwall brings another ascent onto what the locals call the ‘Struie’. As we reach the top of the ‘Struie’ we will be amply rewarded with impressive views of the Dornoch Firth and away in the distance Loch Shin. The final few hours are spent descending down to Bonar Bridge and then the steady climb to Lairg and beyond which is our destination for the evening, The Crask Inn, arguably the finest and friendliest of pubs in the UK.
  13. A freewheeling descent from the Crask Inn and the dazzling backdrop provided by Loch Naver and Ben Klibreck will make this morning truly unforgettable. As Loch Naver gives way to the famous salmon runs of the River Naver, we will be enjoying some of the finest cycling of the whole journey. Around lunchtime we sight the Atlantic Ocean at Bettyhill and the final afternoon will be spent making progress along the northern coastline of Scotland towards John O’Groats. The final few hours of the afternoon will find the terrain flatten out and we are rewarded with an easy ride to the finishing line at John O’Groats, where the champagne corks will be popping.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

ASDA Community Causes

Oscar went to collect his cheque from the ASDA Chapletown today for £200 after gaining the most tokens in the recent Community Causes. Thanks to store manager Andy and Debbie checkout manager and all of you who put your green token in Oscars tub. (Photos to follow)