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Ready to go to the zoo
         
We meet the first animals!   We ignored the recommended age of 3   Can you spot Harry?
Crocodile (we think!)   Hornbill   A very hungry giraffe
Warthog we named Pumba   Harry and a dungbeetle   Being chased by a VERY scary turkey!
Cute monkey   Harry's new best friend   "Simples!"
         

July 25th 2011

Tom

I have been catching up with all my letters over the past few days thanking those of you who have sent donations since the concert and that is my excuse for not writing anything for the blog. Jono has also been hard at work and has produced a lovely slideshow of the concert with the 'Went the Day Well?' anthem as a backing track. This has been burnt to a DVD but I have also downloaded it below. Let me know what you think but not too many superlatives please; I don't want Jono to get big-headed!

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I would hate you to think that I spend all my time working. Harry and I went to London Zoo yesterday and, as you can tell from the photographs, we had a great time. We took 410 photographs and these are the thirteen that are not too embarrassing or blurred!

 





   
 
My speech in the dome of St. Paul's Cathedral
         
St. Paul's Concert   Andrew Carwood with Jono on percussion   We perform 'Went the Day Well?'
HRH The Duchess meets the Choristers   HRH The Duchess meets the Choristers   HRH The Duchess and the Dean of St. Paul's Cathedral
         
         
         

July 15th 2011

Tom

It is time for me to resume the blog. How my dad cycled all day, then stayed up until 1am every night to write an account of the day's events (whilst Alex and I collapsed into bed) and then got up every morning before us to plan the day's route I do not know, but I am extremely grateful. It appears that there were quite a few of you out there following his blogs and we have received several lovely encouraging and congratulatory e-mails; thank you.

My favourite e-mail was from a pupil from our own school, Alex Mackinder, who wrote to say that he had been inspired by us to cycle a tenth of our daily distance around Richmond Park every day we were on the road. For this he would be sponsored by friends and family and at the time of writing he had already raised £275 and was hoping to reach £325. What a fantastic thing to do. Thank you Alex.

It is time to catch up on a few thank yous. Things have been so rushed since the concert at St. Paul's Cathedral that I have not had a chance to thank lots of people who made it such a success:

  • HRH the Duchess of Gloucester for honouring us with her presence
  • The choristers of St. Paul's Cathedral. They sang beautifully
  • Ben Parry for composing such a lovely piece of music, 'Went the Day Well?'
  • Andrew Carwood, the Director of Music at St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Neil Chippington and Clive Marriott, the Headmaster and Deputy head of St. Paul's Cathedral School respectively
  • The Dean and Chapter of St. Paul's Cathedral
  • Mr. Du Toit at St. Paul's School
  • Joanna Amandias and her band of volunteers from Help for Heroes
  • James Salter, fund-raiser extraordinaire!
  • AGA medical who helped fund the reception in the crypt.

Last, by by no means least, I wish to thank all of Jono's University friends - Dan, Georgie, Pippa, Sam, Emily, Phil and Andrew - who came down to enjoy the concert. Little did they know that they would be in complete charge of ushering, ticket sales on the door and CD sales at the end of the concert! I do not know how we would have coped without them.

I do not want you to think that things are wrapping up just because the concert and cycle ride are now out of the way. There is a long way to go to achieve the £50,000 target and I have a great number of additional fund-raising ideas to arrange, so do not go away!

 





   
 
We made it!
         
The crowds gather in anticipation of our arrival   We cycle into Land's End   Balloons and a celebratory drink from Rachel
Happy, or what?   Went the Day Well?   Rowan and Alastair pose
The first and last house   Land's End   The post cycle celebratory party

July 12th 2011

James

Following a celebratory dinner this evening, this is a short blog to say that we made it!

Having taken Jono to Penzance station to catch the early morning train, Tom, Alex and I set off from St. Buryan at 10.30am to cycle the last six miles to Land's End. As we flew down the finishing straight we were greeted to cheers and flag waving from friends and family. I have put up a few of the many photographs taken to record the event but more will follow.

The day has been rounded off perfectly by a wonderful meal at the Beach Restaurant at Sennen Cove.

Thank you to everyone who has helped and encouraged over the last nine days. We look forward to doing it again some day!

 





   
 
Headcam shot from Day 2
         
A swan in Hayle   A seagull in Hayle   Andy, Sue and the yellow van
         
         
         

July 11th 2011

James

We spent last night at the Westbury Hotel in Bodmin, which was very pleasant, particularly as we had allowed ourselves a lie-in and a leisurely breakfast because of the relatively short distance we had left ourselves to cycle today. With the sun shining, and even less of a breeze than yesterday, we rejoined the A30 and 40 miles later we stopped off in Hayle, a port on the north coast, for our first Cornish pasty. Jono was too slow with his camera so that, by the time he did start taking any photographs, every last crumb of pasty had been consumed. Instead he started snapping local wildlife again and that is all he managed today, hence the images on the left! I have also included a photograph of Tom and Alex from day 2 taken with my headcam and one of Andy and Sue who have lent us their wonderful yellow van; thank you again.

From Hayle we took the A30 again, sped past Penzance, and then turned off south to St. Buryan (only 5 miles from Land's End!) and it is here that we have split up for the first time since we set off from London 11 days ago. Alex has gone off to spend the night with his mum at Falmouth, whilst we have been joined by Mary (Tom and Jono's mother), and Alastair (son number three) and are staying at a lovely local B&B, Trevore Cottage, the beautiful home of our hostess Sheelagh O'Donnell. Tomorrow we all meet up again at St. Buryan for the triumphant ride into Land's End at 11am.

Time for a few statistics from our journey:

  • 0 - the number of times that Tom fell of his bike
  • 1 - the number of times that I fell off my bike
  • 3 - the number of times that Alex fell off his bike. Alex said on the first day of the ride that the average number of times that a person riding the length of Britain fell off his bike was three and he was clearly determined to prove that this was correct!
  • 4 - the number of minutes that it takes Tom and Alex to finish a large Cornish Pasty each
  • 5 - the number of times that I have had to wake Jono up every morning before he finally gets out of bed
  • 6 - the number of sticky toffee puddings that Tom had to consume before coming across the perfect one at the Truffles Hotel in Chorley, Lancashire
  • 6.2 - the average number of hours spent in the saddle each day, which ranged from 3.2hrs on day 9 to 8.1hrs on day 6, with a total over nine days of 56.5 hours
  • 8 - the number of pounds spent on four Euromillions lottery tickets
  • 9 - the number of days taken by us to cycle from John O'Groats to Land's End
  • 9.60 - the number of pounds that we won on the Euromillions lottery
  • 15.4 - our average speed in mph over the whole nine days with the best on days 1 and 9 of just over 17.5mph and worst on day 5 where it fell to 13.8mph
  • 5750 - the average number of calories burned per day according to my Satnav. This is probably grossly inaccurate given the number of variables that it is unable to take into account but goes some way to explaining why we have all had such good appetites this week.

Jono leaves us tomorrow morning before we ride into Land's End, which is a great shame given the fact that he has been such an important part of the team. He has more important places to go, and more important things to do, although what they could possibly be I have no idea! We will miss him greatly.

Look out tomorrow for all the photographs that will undoubtedly be taken to record our arrival at Land's End.

 





   
 
Going uphill and still smiling
         
Tom   Alex   Tom and Alex
Rosemary and the boys   Cornwall   Arriving in Bodmin
         
         

July 10th 2011

James

Those early days of awful weather seem like a distant memory. We have had another beautiful cycling day with light winds, no rain and mild temperatures and feel almost embarrassed at our good fortune.

We had a delayed start. I have become so used to Tom and Alex being up and ready to go at the time planned the evening before that I no longer make sure that they are awake, but when there was no sign of them at 8am for breakfast I went to check on them to find them still comatose! It was therefore 9.30 when we finally left Taunton. As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, Somerset is surprisingly flat but the same cannot be said of Devon. As soon as we crossed the border the hills started but most of the climbs were relatively short and gentle and there was always the knowledge that the uphill sections would be followed by a refreshing descent.

Our morning cycling was further disrupted by gearing problems on Alex's bike - he was once again very adept at fixing it all at the roadside - so we had only reached Crediton, about 40 miles from Taunton, when it was time for lunch. Jono appeared distracted and not his usual efficient self when finding somewhere to eat. The reason for this became apparent when his and Tom's Aunt Rosemary (my sister) suddenly appeared in Crediton high street having travelled down from Reading that morning. She had been in repeated contact with Jono over the previous four hours to organise a surprise lunch with us. It was wonderful to see her.

Refreshed, we enjoyed a lovely afternoon cycling the twelve miles from Crediton to Okehampton where we joined the A30 for 40 miles before ending up at the Westbury Hotel in Bodmin having climbed more than 5600 feet in total throughout the course of the day. We are less than 60 miles from Land's End!

I have to say that the boys have been absolutely extraordinary on this trip and I have thorougly enjoyed my time with them all. Despite the tough first five days Tom and Alex have rarely complained. There have been sore ankles, knees, backs and necks (and bottoms!) but they have both just carried on regardless; theirs has been a mighty achievement. We have been very fortunate to have had Jono with us with his trusty yellow van and he has really helped keep our spirits up. He has not had an easy job with many hours of sitting waiting for us by the side of the road.

There has been great confusion about the date and time of our arrival at Land's End, all of which has been my fault. Our intention has always been to be able to complete the trip in nine days, and we have achieved that. We could never guarantee our exact time of arrival on the Monday (i.e. tomorrow) and, as there are many (well, at least ten) friends and relatives who want to be there to greet us as we ride into Land's End, we decided some time ago that it would be best if we were to stop just a few miles short on the Monday and ride in the following morning when our hordes of followers, and the band that they have organised to strike up a fanfare as we ride in, could be ready and waiting. I obviously did not make this clear to everyone and some have relied on the cycle route page of this website to plan their journey. I apologise.

We will be arriving in Land's End at 11am on Tuesday 12th July.

 





   
 
John and Sonya Miles
         
The boys and Alex's grandparents   In front of Oatley House, St. Monica's Trust   John and Sonya
Monmouthshire   Monmouthshire   Shaun the sheep
         
         

July 9th 2011

James

Day 7 on the road and a lovely day it was too. From Hereford we cycled for several miles due south along our old friend the A49, before continuing on the A466 for about 30 miles, which took us through beautiful Monmouth and then down the lovely Wye valley to Chepstow. We then crossed the original Severn bridge and dropped down into Bristol where we were very warmly received by Alex's Grandparents, John and Sonya Miles who live in the most beautiful residential home (built originally by Sir George Oatley) run by St. Monica Trust. They were completely unphased by the fact that we had given them only an hours notice that we would be arriving on their doorstep and a lovely lunch awaited us. They waved us off at 3.15pm only to see us again 20 minutes later when we returned to take a few photographs as we had forgotten to do so over lunch!

From Bristol we crossed the breathtaking Clifton suspension bridge before making our way to the A38 on which we stayed all the way to Taunton where we have bedded down for the night. We all learnt to love cycling again today! The weather was wonderful, the scenery was perfect and the roads, particularly in Somerset during the last 35 miles of our journey, were relatively flat.

Alex's chain broke about 20 miles from Taunton but he very impressively fixed it by the roadside having called Jono back from his search for overnight accommodation. We reached Taunton Town centre having clocked 99.6 miles, which required a quick circuit of the one way system to ensure that the century was again reached before finding a B&B!

Jono took a few more pictures today of some of the areas we passed through. He seems to have been particularly fond of taking pictures of sheep; the one I have chosen is the only photograph in which one of the sheep looks vaguely interested.

Anne Nicholls, whom you might remember we met up with for lunch on Day 3 at the Bridge of Orchy, has sent me through a few extra photos that I have added to the blog of that day (July 5). I particularly like the one of Tom and Alex resting! Thank you Anne.

 





   
 
Sylwester and the boys
         
Lunch at the Inn at Grinshill   The sun shines in Hereford   ??
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

July 8th 2011

James

We were up at 6.30 this morning and down to breakfast by 7.00, where Sylwester, the Polish 'under-chef' at Truffles Hotel had a full English breakfast for all the boys and a bowl of porridge for me ready and waiting. He also came outside to see us off and wish us well. Our thanks to him and Naomi, who were both so accommodating.

We caught the weather forcast on the television before we left today and wish that we hadn't. The weather forcaster seemed to take delight in showing the bands of heavy rain storming up from the south-west directly against our planned route. As it turned out, the weather was not too bad. The wind was still against us, and there were a couple of heavy downpours, but we probably spent as much time out of our waterproofs as we did in them, which is an improvement over the last several days.

The whole day, bar the first couple of miles, was spent on the A49 and with our early start we managed to put 65 miles behind us before stopping for lunch at The Inn at Grinshill just north of Shrewsbury (very well worth a visit if you are ever in the area). Jonathan, once again, proved his worth by locating this place for us where we had a lovely meal before getting back on our bikes.

From Shrewsbury we continued on down into Herefordshire where the sun came and stayed out until we arrived in Hereford where Jono had booked us into a Premier Inn. I will leave you to guess where we ate our supper. The boys have again collapsed, which is not surprising given the distance we have achieved so far. What I am not so sure about is why Jono appears just as tired as the rest of us; 'Van driving is very exhausting work, Dad'.

 





   
 
From the comfort of Jono's van just before Kendal
         
The sun greets us in Kendal   Kendal again   Ouch!
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

July 7th 2011

James

We managed to take off our waterproofs this morning! But only for about an hour and a half before the rain clouds gathered again. Jono, I am sure, was marvelling at the awe-inspiring and quite beautiful sight of the black clouds sitting atop the green rolling hills around Kendal, and thorougly enjoying the rumbling thunder and occasional glimpse of lightning from the comfort of his van, but we were not of the same mind!

For those of you following our progress, and comparing it with the daily cycling routes that we put up on this site a couple of months ago, you may have noticed that our journey south has drifted a little to the west. As we have not been having the best of weather, to put in mildly, we have decided to go a more direct route and from just north of Penrith, which is where we started from this morning, we took the A6 down to Kendal. I would have to admit that an additional reason for taking this route is that we thought that it would be nice to travel around the 1200 ft peak shown on the day's profile. Imagine our dismay, therefore, when the sign loomed out of the lashing rain a few miles short of Kendal informing us of the steep climb to 1400 ft that we were approaching! It would be nice to be able to say that the view was worth it, but there wasn't one because of the clouds.

I am painting a pretty bleak picture but we are all in good spirits. The sun came out as we rode into Kendal and we enjoyed a lovely fish and chips lunch next to the river. The rain, when it falls, is bitterly cold but as soon as the sun comes out it warms up very quickly.

We had a good ride after Kendal before being greeted by more rain in Preston and have, therefore, just managed a further 100 miles, which is good going considering everything. Tonight we have treated ourselves to a night at Truffles hotel in Chorley, Lancashire (they don't seem to do B&Bs in this part of the world) and have had the most wonderful supper. The food is really excellent; Tom described his sticky toffee pudding as the best that he has ever had, and he is quite an expert now having had it most evenings on this trip. The staff have been wonderful and have very kindly agreed to prepare our breakfast two hours earlier than normal at 7am. In addition, as I am writing this, our wet cycling kit is in the tumble drier; bliss!

Jono has been a little slack on the photographic front today but he promises to make up for it tomorrow. The last photograph was actually taken by him yesterday but he was keen to have it up on the site as it took his fancy, so here it is.

 





   
 
Jean and the boys
         
Dave and the boys   All of us with Dave   The welcoming party
Honorary old Paulines   The old Pauline Bursar and his wife   Messrs Smith and Bradley
         
         
         
         
         
         

July 6th 2011

James

Tom and Alex do not have happy memories of Scotland after yet another day of dreadful cycling weather and, I regret to say, were very happy to cross the border into England at Gretna late this afternoon, particularly as the sun chose that moment to show itself for the first time that day.

We said farewell to Jean at Ciar Mohr B&B at 8am after our early morning 'Cuppa-porridge' during which the boys considered with mixed emotions their Euromillions lottery winnings of the night before (£6.60 and £2.80 - just more than the cost of the tickets but hardly the £150 million they had been hoping for!).

It was already raining as we left with that southerly headwind that we have come to love (NOT!) but, despite this we had managed to put almost 50 miles behind us by lunchtime, which was a relatively quick stop, having met up with Jono and the van at Abington Service Station where the A702 meets the A74(M). We then headed south towards Gretna on the B7076, which runs parallel to the motorway, and that is when the heavens opened. It continued to pour all the way down and we were pretty much resigned to the fact that we would not be able to meet up with Dave Emery and the St. Paul's school walking party near Ambleside in the Lake District as we had planned. At about 5pm, however, the rain stopped as we approached the outskirts of Gretna. This, together with the fact that we had just passed the 100 mile mark for the day, raised our spirits and we put a final burst in to get down to just below Carlisle taking our total for the day to 125 miles. Here we met up with Jono and we drove to Ambleside to meet up with Dave and his party where we received a wonderfully warm greeting and some lovely food. Our thanks to Jerry the chef, Dave and everyone else for being so welcoming.

The weather does not look good for tomorrow (despite being in England now!) but we are getting used to that.

 





   
 
Alex's injuries
         
Susan and Jim Smith and the boys   Lawriestone Guest House   View from Guest House
Uphill and against the wind   Uphill and against the wind   Uphill and against the wind
A very welcome lunch break   A mountain somewhere along the way   On and up
The boys resting!   Waiting for food   Still smiling
         
         
         

July 5th 2011

James

We thought yesterday was difficult but, when compared to today, it was a doddle!

Things started well: a nice lie-in followed by a leisurely breakfast cooked by our hosts Susan and Jim Smith, owners of Lawriestone Guest House, who were extremely welcoming and helpful throughout our short stay. We left the house at about 9.20am under a cloudy sky and against a mild breeze. Less than half a mile down the road Alex clipped Tom's back wheel and down he went. The picture opposite shows the painful scrapes to knuckles and thigh and, more importantly as far as Alex was concerned, the hole in his shorts! The bike was fortunately not severely damaged, although the brake levers and handlebar tape took a bit of a battering, and Alex very impressively just dusted himself down, did some quick repairs and within twenty minutes we were up and running again.

Our troubles did not end there. We had over 3500 feet to climb in total today and every one of those feet was against an energy sapping wind. Such was its strength that, even when we crested a ridge and started on a downhill section, we were lucky to reach 12mph when we might have expected to achieve speeds 10mph faster than this.

There was, however, one high point to the day: we were delighted to be able to meet up with cousins Anne and Sandie and Nick who came to cheer us on at Bridge of Orchy. We were so tired at this point, only thirty miles into our journey, that we were very happy to spend a liesurely hour and a half having lunch in the Bridge of Orchy Hotel in the hope that the wind would have abated by the time we had finished! Unfortunately that wasn't to be and we spent the rest of the day with the wind in our faces until about 5pm when it suddenly improved and we were able to pick up some speed.

At one point we had serious doubts that we would be able to do more than 60 miles all day but the boys were wonderful and, with the conditions slightly better, we managed ninety. It was at this point that Jono noticed that we were going to end up close to Dunblane and after a quick phone call from him to Jean at the Ciar Mhor B&B, where we stayed on our first night on the way up to John O'Groats, he came back with the welcome news that she had our same rooms available. How lovely it was to see her welcoming face when we finally pulled in at around 7pm.

We have just returned from a lovely evening meal at the Westlands Hotel owned by Eve, who does all the cooking, and ably assisted by Mike. Eve and Mike could not be more friendly and the food is delicious.

We have decided to try and get an early start tomorrow to see if we can get going before the wind starts up. Jono has bought some 'cuppa-porridge' (that's not what it is really called but it comes in cups and you just add boiling water), so that we can get something warming into us before we set off; we will let you know what it tasted like!

 

 





   
 
Carol Munro and the boys at Ben Reay
         
First view of Loch Ness   Van by Loch Lochy   Loch Lochy
Loch Lochy   Van still by Loch Lochy   Just to prove that I am cycling
Taking a breather   Go away!   Leave me alone!
         
         
         
         
         

July 4th 2011

James

Guess what; the boys have collapsed into bed again!

It has been a tough day. It started well with another lovely cooked breakfast, this time by our hostess Carol Munro at the very comfortable B&B that Jonathan found for us last night in Bonar Bridge. We had all looked at the profile of climbs on our planned route and were delighted to see that Day 2 is the flattest of all the daily runs over the nine days so we looked forward to a leisurely ride enjoying the scenery alongside Cromarty Firth, Loch Ness, Loch Oich and Loch Lochy. The weather looked perfect as well. What we had not accounted for was the wind. It wasn't especially hard but it was constant and always against us, and this was very draining. The six mile stretch along the coast of Loch Lochy was perhaps the worst as there was no tree cover and the last two miles were up hill. The bottom three pictures on the left show the effect that this part of the journey had on the boys!

Thank goodness my wife, Mary, took it upon herself to laminate and number large scale maps for every day of our journey. I was going to rely on my Garmin satnav but we are all beginning to mistrust its directions. Although I have set it up not to avoid major roads, it still likes to take us on scenic cross country 'short cuts'. The most annoying of these today occurred about five minutes after we had stormed past a group of about ten cyclists also doing JOGLE. The satnav then told us to take a right, which we did, and about 40 minutes later after following some delightful backroads, we were returned to the main road and guess who we saw a few minutes ahead of us? That's right, the cylists that we had recently passed! There were a few peculiar looks as we passed them again.

Despite all this we have still managed just over 100 miles today and have ended up in Fort William, in a lovely B&B overlooking Loch Eil and overlooked by Ben Nevis. Breakfast is not served until 08.30 tomorrow so we have a slightly later start than we have had but this is perhaps not a bad thing. The weather is not meant to be as good but, so long as the wind is behind us, we don't mind!

 





   
 
John O'Groats
         
The boys and Karen at Creag Na Mara   Getting ready. What is Alex wearing?   You have to start from the water's edge
Almost off   Still almost off   On the road
         
         
         
         
         

July 3rd 2011

James

The first day's cycling is over and I am doing the blog because the others have collapsed into bed!

We stayed at Creag Na Mara B&B in East Mey overnight, which is about 5 miles away from John O'Groats, and woke this morning to glorious sunshine and practically no wind; ideal cycling weather. Having been treated to a wonderful cooked breakfast by our hostess, Karen, at 7am so that we could get an early start on the road (Karen, thank you for that and for the lovely porridge and for the donation to Help for Heroes!), we packed the van and drove down to John O'Groats.

Tom and Alex's photoshoot at the start lasted about half an hour. You might wonder what they are doing in the third picture in the first row; they had this idea that their bikes had to touch the water so that they could say that they had definitely started from the coast? By 8.30am we were off, travelling West along the North coast of Scotland for exactly 50 miles to Bettyhill before turning due South down to Bonar Bridge for a further 55miles.

The first 40 miles went like a dream and we averaged exactly 20mph and I think that we were all beginning to wonder what all the fuss was about; and then we hit the first hilly section in the 10 miles before the aptly named Bettyhill which had a drastic effect on our average speed from which it never really recovered. The boys persevered, however, and after a short rest at Bettyhill and a longer lunchbreak after 75 miles in Altnaharra, their first century (100 miles) was achieved at Shin Falls just north of Bonar Bridge. They celebrated this milestone by going into the children's playground at Shin Falls and playing on the swings and slides!

Six miles later we cycled into Bonar Bridge where Jono had found us a wonderful B&B. I must say, Jono has been fantastic. It has been a real boost to see him at 20-30 mile intervals along the route waiting in his yellow van. He is not wasting his time; he is learning German via a Michel Thomas CD and we are treated to his latest phrases each time we stop.

 





   
 
Me and MY van
         
Morning paddle   Morning paddle   Still paddling
Drying off   Drying off   Drying off
         
         
         
         
         

July 2nd 2011

Jono

I got my van! I now know that all my life thus far in which I did not have access to a van has in fact been a pointless, tedious wait for these last few days of having a van. Having a van is great! It has 6 gears, no rear-view mirror and 3 seats in the front. Crazy, right?!

We have finally completed our journey up to John O'Groats, just arriving at our second B&B of the trip. We left this morning a little later than originally intended due to Tom and Alex's sudden urge to wade topless in the nearby brook at Ciar Mhor. I refrained from joining them but instead decided to stand on the bank snapping pictures of the two semi-naked figures, probably helping to make the whole thing look even more suspect to the occasional passing Scot.

Now some of you may have noticed a slight discrepency between the number of people on the journey and the number of seats available in the van. With one extra person to deal with, we considered many possible options: Tom on Alex's lap; Alex on my shoulders; Tom at Dad's feet; Dad on van's roof; Alex on ski's behind van; Tom on van's bonnet... the list goes on. In the end we decided to set up a camping chair in the back of the van. It is quite comfortable, quite secure, and almost definitely quite illegal as well.

At the moment the cyclists are getting the last few things ready for tomorrow, after which we are going to stroll down to the local restaurant for a meal. Having stopped off for lunch at a service station specializing in all things battered and deep-fried (during which my digestive system had to contend with the unexpected arrival of "hot dog in tatties"), I may well have to settle for a salad this evening!

 





   
 
Us and the yellow van
         
Ready......   .....to.....   ......go!
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         
         

July 1st 2011

Tom

Breaking news! The 'Went the Day Well?' anthem is on iTunes. Just click here to go straight to the iTunes site where, for the fantastic sum of just 79p, you can listen again and again to this wonderful piece of music. Please remember to tell all your friends.

We are now on the road up to John O'Groats. Woke up to a beautifully sunny morning only to realise that we were so not ready to leave. All of the fluid and energy supplements, spare wheels, inner tubes, tyres, puncture repair kits, tools, bottom repair cream (don't ask!) etc, etc, etc, were still sitting on the dining room floor, the magnetic artwork had not been put back on the fabulous yellow van, I hadn't packed any of my clothes and I had to go to school for the first part of the morning! The troops (that's mum, dad and Jono) were called into action and off I went to school leaving them strict instructions that they had to have everything packed into the van (neatly and securely) and then pick Alex and me up from school to leave at 10.30. They were five minutes late - that's the last time I'm going to trust them to do something properly!

I jest of course. They were fantastic and they can do it again for me any time. A few photos were taken at St. Paul's School in front of the famous John Colet statue and then we were off. The drive up to Dunblane, where we are staying the night at the fabulous Ciar Mhor B&B run by Jean and Ewen, was remarkably straightforward. Jono is taking his job of chief driver very seriously and, other than following the SatNav's intstructions to take us through someones garden to get us to this B&B, has done very well.

For those of you who do not already know, my Dad is along for the trip; he has always wanted to cycle the length of Britain. As I said in my speech at the Cathedral last week, he has been so helpful with the organisation of the concert and cycle ride I have promised to cycle slowly up the hills so that he can keep up.

Tomorrow after breakfast, we have an approximately six hour drive to John O'Groats and, on Sunday, we are off.

 





  © Copyright Thomas Jackson 2010