Help For Heroes End To End Challenge
We left John O’Groats on July 9th on a sunny but blustery day, which turned to a full scale gale by the afternoon and, literally, blew Tom off his bike. From then on we knew this was going to be a real challenge – and so it turned out to be.
Our route took us down the far north-east coast of Scotland as far as Inverness when we turned inland and down the Caledonian Canal to Fort William. From there it was up and over spectacular Glen Coe and Rannoch Moor and then down Loch Lomond, the scene of our next disaster where Guy hit a dead fox in the road and ended up in hospital. Undeterred, and with Guy with a bandaged wrist, we continued through Glasgow, cycling over the Erskine Bridge in torrential rain and a head wind (and with Matt’s chain breaking in the afternoon) and the next day to Drumlanrig Castle, where we met up with the Factor and ex-Pirates Colts rugby captain Harvey Thomas before continuing to the border at Gretna.
From Gretna we headed down the Penines and into the Yorkshire Dales to Sedbergh followed by possibly the most gruelling day of all when we crossed The Forest of Bowland in pouring rain and howling wind. From there to Chepstow was relatively plain sailing apart from 7 punctures in 72 hours thanks to glass bottles being thrown out of car windows. Julia had to do an emergency run into Halfords in Kidderminster for 7 new inner tubes and new tyres!
We crossed the Severn Bridge in glorious sunshine, which made a pleasant change, and then continued to Tiverton before skirting around Dartmoor the next day and into Cornwall. The crossing of the Tamar brought the worst weather of the entire trip (and that’s saying something!) with our first thunder and lightening and rain coming down in stair-rods. The sides of the road turned to rivers with branches and rocks being swept along – all very treacherous on a bike.
From Lostwithiel it was a good day’s run to Marazion and then home to Land’s End where we were greeted by about 70 friends, one of whom had kindly brought a bottle of champagne!
The full daily blog (an entertaining read) can be found by going to www.knitwitspenzance.co.uk and clicking on “Julia’s Blog”. We are currently half way to reaching our goal of £5,000 for Help For Heroes so if anyone would like to make a donation they can at: www.justgiving.com/TheHopsons or put it in the box in Knit Wits Shop in Causewayhead.
As we have said throughout the trip, just because lots of people do the JOG-LE challenge doesn’t mean it’s easy and it really is a tough challenge and for Guy and Tom to complete it at just 17 and 15 respectively is an extraordinary achievement.
Julia’s challenge (apart from driving the back-up campervan and trying not to get lost) was to knit the first ever “End to End Sweater” which she cast on at John O’Groats and completed on the final morning. It was a close run thing and she was up until midnight on the final night, sewing it up, but she did it just in time and was wearing it at Land’s End.