Sunday, 24 June 2007

Day 15 - Pushing the Wind - Bettyhill to John O'Groats

Another grey day to see us through to the end of the tour, but at least it's dried off. A few big hills out of Bettyhill to start the day, and we're off on the final leg ... heading straight into a head wind.

"Why are you going from Lands End", asked ALL my friends before this started, "surely it's down hill the other way?". I patiently answered them all "the prevailing wind in the UK is from the south-west, so most people go from LE to JOG to avoid a head wind for the last few days". That told them ... so how come I'm cycling into a head wind for the last day? And it's coming straight from Siberia, carrying ice and hail with it. Wrapped up in every layer I've got, I keep cycling. Only 50 miles to go ...

In the afternoon, I catch up with the Cambridge brigade and cycle with them for a while. What am I saying ... yes, I actually keep pace with them, slip streaming with the team for miles. This really helps with the continuing head wind. So after 5 weeks of training and 2 weeks of Touring, I can finally keep up with the regular cyclists - fantastic.

DunnetDunnet Head lighthouseDunnet Head
Dunnet Head

We take the short detour to Dunnet Head on the way to John O'Groats, to take in the views of the Orkneys, and just to say I've been to the most northerly point. And finally, into John O'Groats, the finish ... there's even a finish line painted before the pub. No tea today - cakes and champagne at the campsite before lots of group photos at the John O'Groats signpost.

The FinishJob doneCampsite, tea and champagne
The FinishJob doneCampsite, tea and champagne
The Cambridge crewBikes heading for homeHighland cow
The Cambridge crewBikes heading for homeHighland cow

Congratulations from complete strangers are welcome and we shout "good luck" to some cyclists starting out in the other direction. They're about to cycle through the worst rain and floods the UK has seen in many years, while we're off to the pub. Dinner with Trevor and Andi and the whole group. Pool and darts until late with Andy and the self-proclaimed "naughty group", and off too bed.

Today's route from Google maps
Tour summary: 59 miles planned, 60 miles actual, 1075 miles in total.

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