Thirteen cyclists set off from Land’s End in Cornwall to John O’Groats in Scotland’s north east corner on 14th July expecting two weeks of challenge. They certainly endured physical, mental and emotional challenges whilst cycling 70-80 miles each day. They also experienced enormous fun and adventures along the way and deep friendships were forged. Champagne corks were popped at John O’Groats on the 28th July to celebrate the achievement of reaching their destination AND raising over £37,000 for the FamilyLife ministry to help strengthen families.
Mark Daniel, Director of FamilyLife said: “It’s been a remarkable achievement and an incredible adventure for everyone. We wanted to engage as many people as possible and we know from comments on the blog that people back home felt part of it too which is great. We also thank God that everyone got there in one piece!”
As we set off from Land’s End on our first morning we had no idea that the weather would become a serious challenge in itself. How often do we experience a heat wave in the UK? The tarmac intensified the heat and then melted! Then there was the TORRENTIAL rain and thunderstorms in Scotland. We also battled with squadrons of midges equipped with wire cutters and SAS training for night raids. We enjoyed encounters with other wildlife including nibbling miniature ponies, jumping cows and a vole.
The cyclists covered 1,020 miles and climbed a total of 74,060 feet (that’s two and a half times the height of Mount Everest). Deep friendships developed between everyone but particularly within the two cycling teams: Saga and Colts as they encouraged one another up monster hills. They also supported one another as they contended with injuries and mending punctures and other bike bits.
Highlights for most of the cyclists included enjoying beautiful countryside, being part of a “fantastic team”, exchanging banter and doing it all for a good cause. The worst things were: cycling through difficult terrain in extreme weather conditions (Glen Coe to Inverness), Lorries, snoring and having to pay an extra £1 for a shower!
We stayed in a variety of accommodation, mostly Youth Hostels and bunkhouses. We renamed one bunkhouse The Hovel. Another was more like a sauna without any bedding…an interesting challenge for the support team.
The Support Team played a vital role in the success of LEJOG. They loaded and unloaded 1,000 bags, over 1,000 litres of water, served 300 bananas, and handed out thousands of jelly babies. They used over 20 bottles of squash, served over 200 sandwiches and countless pieces of cake, flapjacks, and protein bars over 31 scheduled RV stops. They also mixed up 58 tasty protein shakes. Each of the two vehicles of the Support Team was driven over 2,000 miles. In addition we noted that 11 is the number of point’s turn it took to get a long wheel-based Transit out of a dead-end road in a bad area of Glasgow.
It’s definitely worth making yourself comfortable with a cup of something to enjoy all the adventures including photos on our LEJOG blog.