LEJOG Day 21 Melvich to John O’Groats, The Final Day

39.17 Miles Cycled
3241ft of Climbing

After 20 days in the saddle, 21 days if you count the short rides I did on my first day of travel, I awoke in my Airbnb in Melvich on yet another windy morning.  The easterly wind I encountered the day before as I reached the North coast had not died down and I knew that the next 40 miles or so were going to be difficult.

The final Day of My Solo Lands End to John O’Groats Cycle Ride

I set off at around 9.30 am and started my attack on John O’Groats along the A836.  The last 40 miles is undulating and for every downhill there is an uphill until the last stretch.  With the wind hitting me head on I have to admit that I struggled counting down the miles until my planned stop in Thurso.

The headwind was not the only issue that I faced, the road was busy with camper vans, cars and trucks making the last day hardest of them all.  I had imagined that the final day would be like the last stage of the Tour de France, a parade stage to celebrate the hundreds of miles cycled in the build up to the finish and how wrong could I be.

Hampered by the headwind I carried on taking breaks as and when I lost interest.  One thing that did cheer me up was when a couple on E-Bikes came charging past me up a hill, a voice shouted “Nearly There” and she was right.

I passed the Welcome to Caithness sign and I had entered the final county of the ride.

The scenery in this part of Scotland is nothing to write home about, after witnessing so many amazing sites in the build up to today.

I eventually made it to Thurso and stopped at a great little bakery for some lunch.  Jamiesons Bakery on the main street was a welcome stop for me to refuel for the last 20 miles or so.

After leaving Thurso the wind carried on right up until I turned left in on to the road down in to John O’Groats.  The feeling of this left turn with less then half a mile to go was unreal, the wind was no longer in my face and the end was in sight. As I approached the car park I was met with an unusual site.  A couple cycled towards me on a tandem, both naked as the day they were born, both smiling without  a care in the world.  I later reads that this couple were Colin Unsworth and Sadie Tann, a couple from Lancashire that had just set off on their John O’Groats to Lands End charity ride.

welcome to Caithness
Welcome to Caithness Sign

The last 100 meters or so was a great feeling, the gentle downhill in to the car park and up to the John O’Groats sign.  As I approached the sign there were a number of people taking photos and some were keen to ask about my journey.  I pleasant couple took my photo and reciprocated.  Another lady approached me to ask if I had just completed the End to End, she had done it over 6 weeks or so on a folding bike.

Jamiesons Bakery Thrurso
Jamiesons Bakery Thrurso

And there you have it! I set out and did what I planned to so, I had cycled Lands End to John O’Groats, unsupported, on my own and enjoyed every minute, well almost every minute!

After months of planning and over 3 weeks on the road the sense of achievement was unreal.

Now on to the next part of the journey! I need to get home!

Homeward Bound – John O’Groats to Manchester via Orkney, Aberdeen and Edinburgh