8th August Mission accomplished
Last night as I had just posted the blog 3 more End to Enders entered the pub. Will from USA has come over to do LEJOG. He thinks the midgies are better than the mossies he has to put up with back home. He is self sufficient on his tour. Jackie and Jenny, two teachers who classify themselves as weekend cyclists are riding for charity for CLD trust mental health for children. We had all had a very tough day into the wind.
It rains heavily overnight but I smile in my lovely summer house. Only a few midgies and not too many bites over night. I’m up about 6.30 and pack my sleepinbag and get my breakfast. As I sit looking into the garden I am entertained by 2 Spotted flycatcher. I haven’t seen any for a long while but their little figure of 8 flight from a branch or a picnic bench in this case is unmistakable. They have lots of midgies to catch. Then I spot two wood warblers. What a start to the day.
I load Genevieve, waving off the midgies as I do so and head door the road. I see Alex and his Dad and also Will and wish them well on their journey. They hope to be at JOG for 6.
If you would like to experience the first 5 hours of today’s ride then try this. Fill your shoes with cold water so you can feel puddles under your feet. Have a cold fan blowing 20 to 25 mph at you. Turn on the garden hose, cold water obviously, the spray just above the showery setting at aim straight into your face. Vision was 100 m max. I blame Neil ( you know who you are) for saying yesterday was a holiday and he had prayed to the wind and rain gods. Boy had they listened.
Despite saying all that I was on some new roads to me and although it was incredibly tough I did enjoy the route. Stonechats and red deer were highlights as was the motorcyclist who saluted me as I was struggling up a hill. 3 hours got me to Betty Hills where I dropped all over this lovely little self service cafe. Debbie, mum of Alex the young 14 y/o, is waiting there. Two steak baked and a slice of chocolate cake later I’m back into the thick of it.
From Betty Hills onward the hills come thick and fast. A good work out going up and freezing cold in the descent s. I have to hide in a bus shelter and put another layer on.
From 1.30 the sun begins to break through and it’s only very light rain. My spirits lift and I’m thoroughly enjoying the ride.
At 50 miles I see Jackie and Jennie as I’m leaving a cafe stop. They only have 15 miles to go today and have struggled with the same conditions as myself. I wish them well and crack on.
After Thuro a sign says JOG 20 miles but I have the Dunnet Head peninsula to do as well and I am feeling a little tired. Do I really have to do the peninsula?
I’m so glad I did because it was the best riding of the day. Going past the cliffs lots of Fulmars flying by. Then lots of inland water which I think will be perfect for divers but I don’t see any. What I do see though is a great skua hounding gulls for their food. Some great aerobatic manoeuvres.
A final zig zag climb and I make Dunnet head and see a motorcycle group are already there. It is strangely quiet. Then I realise they are all deaf and are signing. I join their throng with my bike to get s picture in front of the sign post. Some very basic signing by me and mixed with mime I explain what I have been doing. They take my photo and lend me a Scottish flag. I learn that 2 of their group had walked LEJOG recently and raised 55k for their charity. They say they will race me to JOG. I set off retracing my route. The great skua is still there doing its thing. It’s 15 miles to JOG. After 8mules 20 motorcycles roar by all pulling, waving and giving the thumbs up.
I am on new roads to me going to JOG do with 5 miles to go I stop and check the map, have a drink when Alex and his Dad go by. I ride with them for a mile but know they need to finish their adventure together.
Barry from Cambridgeshire are you ready for this. I leave them behind and peddle on! I see Debbie waiting for them in a lay-by with a mile to go with his cadets racing top.
Then I have arrived. The deaf motorcyclists are there and cheer me in. They take my photo. They all try and lift my bike and are surprised how heavy it is. 5 minutes later Alex and his Dad arrive and he is met by lots of cadet supporters. Lots of photos and pats on the back.
While there, two lightweight bikes with tribars are lent against the signpost. I meet
Lee and Antony who are riding 1000 miles to LE in 4 days, they start at midnight. We have a good chat and I hope the wind is on their backs and the weather kinder than it has been to me. They are riding for Grace Kelly childhood cancer trust.
My tent is pitched at JOG campsite with lots of drowned little midgies still on it. I have a phone call with Jayne, can’t wait to get home now but train is on Sunday. I head to the pub and write this. There will be another blog tomorrow but I need to think about that a bit more yet.
And that’s a wrap.
60,457 feet of climbing