John o’Groats to Land’s End

Posted: July 22, 2012 by Ben Weber in Cycling, English, Training
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Thanks Google Street View! – The A82 from Glencoe

Looking at the cycle tour options for our training, and now more closely at the ride from the northernmost to the south-westernmost points of mainland Britain (maybe via London or through Wales… ), and it is very easy to see why this 1000 mile / 1,600km journey would be a good training tour.

A rough idea of what the route through Britain could look lie

The British weather is infamous for being well… bad. Going through the Scottish highlands in February would be bitterly cold, wet, windy, snowy… To be honest, probably the rest of the country will have quite attrocious weather as well! They won’t be the nicest of conditions around, and this is something that we want: basically to try and replicate conditions that we might face along our main expedition route. We will also look to do a lot of camping during the period (especially in the north) – something that is great to do in the UK, rather than staying at hotels or guest houses – again to try and prepare ourselves for the reaities of the actual expedition.

We have to look at exactly which route we would take, but in the Scottish highlands there will be good scope for training up and down mountain sides. Okay the highlands haven’t got the highest mountains in the world, and the Lake District in northern England even less so… one might not think of the Cornish hills as particularly hard either…. however, just because they are low in height doesn’t mean that they are not hard, and it is not without good reason that himalayan mountaineers train a good deal of time in Scotland.

In looking at central Scotland, just east of the rough route highlighted on the map,  lie the Cairngorms, and the Cairnwell pass at 670metres would be a nice example. On the western side of the country, the road from Invergordon to Glasgow, through Fort William is pretty tough, going over some pretty desolate and exposed passes and seeing a good amount of altitude gain and loss over the days.  Down into England and going through the Lake District will also be nice and hilly as well as pretty beautiful scenary.

Going further south and things will be generally more plain sailing – relatively flat, especially after the north. If we were to choose to go via London, this would be a relative cruise, with plenty of villages, towns and cities to stop off at on the way to recharge. Wales on the other hand would be much more mountainous and present similar challenges to those faced in Scotland. Down in Corwnwall, there will also be more steep hills to navegate up and down. Overall, the journey has a massive potential to be a lot of fun and… hey, cycling the length of Britain isn’t something that one does every day.

On the negative side, while there will be plenty of challenges, in comparison to going through the Andes, the altitude gain/loss will be relatively low. Furthermore, going through the Andes would helps us in terms of getting used to cycling at the heights of 4000metres or greater….but this is something we will go into greater detail in posts to come…

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