JOGLE 2021

In 2013, I achieved a long ambition of mine to cycle from Lands’ End to John O’Groats (LEJOG).  Having done it one way, I fancied doing it the other way (JOGLE) and to cycle down the east coast. I sat down and planned a route. We would be self-sufficient, carrying all we needed on the bikes.

With all the B&B’s, trains and cycle transport booked, two of us set off on the 7th of September on the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness. We had a day acclimatising to the Scottish weather with a cycle out to Loch Ness via Drumnadrochit. It turned out to be the hottest September day in Scotland for 115 years. So much for acclimatisation.

We were joined by our third member the following morning in the rain – now that was more like Scottish weather. John O’Groats Cycling Transport loaded us and the bikes onto their van, and 3 hrs later, we were in John O’Groats. It was dreich day – see the dictionary of Scotland if you need an explanation!  Compulsory photos were taken and we were on our way to Thurso in the rain via Dunnet Head in the mist (the most northerly point of mainland Britain). Lighthouse, what lighthouse?

The next day we continued west to Tongue, where we started going south through the middle of the Highlands, up and down and in and out of the mist. It was a stunning cycle. We overnighted in The Crask Inn, where the midges were out and we were eaten alive. The next day, starting in the rain, we were on to Inverness via the Nigg Ferry and the Black Isle.

East to Whitehills near Banff and then south again against the wind to Stonehaven. Leven, Kelso, Longhirst (did you know there was a cycle and pedestrian tunnel under the Tyne?), Thirsk, Dunham, Rockingham, and a stop at a very accommodating B&B in Shipton. Then it was on to Chew Magna, Crediton, Devon hills, crossing into Cornwall over the river Tamar at Horsebridge and onto St Austell.

We set off on our final day against the wind for more Cornish hills and Land’s End in the mist. What lighthouse? At the finish, we had the compulsory photo and signed the End to End book that is found in the hotel. As we cycled back to Penzance via Mousehole with the wind behind us, the sun finally came out.

A total of 1165 miles cycled and 16,399 metres climbed in 15 days and no punctures!

I look at the weather map in a different way now.

Ian Drainer

December 2021 – January 2022