John O'Groats to Land's End - The Longest Day

Stephen Norwood banner

John O'Groats to Land's End - The Longest Day

Wednesday 28th July 2010

I woke at 4:10am and was quickly eating some dried fruit, nuts and another chocolate mousse. Having not made it to Aviemore yesterday I was behind schedule. I had a booked a B&B in North Queensferry (across the Forth Bridge from Edinburgh) for this evening. This was now still about 150 miles away so I needed to be up. It always takes time to get organised, packed and loaded and so after enjoying the gentle coast down the road to join the A9 again it was about 6am before the pedals were turning.

View from the A9

The road gently climbed for the first two hours of cycling and afforded some great views.

Another view from the A9

Eventually I reached the summit of Slochd Summit and was now entering the Cairngorns National Park.

Slochd Summit

After a while I reached the high point of the whole journey as I went over another summit at 452m. However, having stopped several times already to take photographs felt that I needed to get going. Stopping for a photo had a huge impact on time. I needed to slow down, get the camera out, take the photo, put the camera back and I would usually grab something to eat before setting off. Then more time as I get back up to the speed I was travelling at before.

I reached Aviemore just before 9am. It still very quiet with most of the shops preparing to open. I stopped to use the loo. When I came out I checked my map and a lorry driver commented that he had passed me on the A9 earlier. He thought I had made good progress from a section of roadworks where he had overtaken me. He then gave me some directions to take me on to old A9 road that runs parallel to the new one which was relatively traffic free.