LEJOG Virtual Challenge: The First 46 Miles

I decided to go back to when our stay at home order began and added up the mileage between the walk and bike rides up until April 19th. So on my virtual map, that puts me just outside of the small village of Tresillian, a distance of around 46 miles.

As this virtual experience is supposed to be human powered, I will try to stick to that and make an itinerary that sticks as close to that as possible. So in “real life”, I decided to break down the journey as such:

Day One: Lands End to Mousehole along the South West Coast Path. 13 miles.

Day Two: Mousehole to St. Michael’s Mount also along the South West Coast Path. 7 miles.

Day Three: Bike to Tresillian along National Cycle Route 3. 30 miles

Apparently Lands End to John O’Groats is a popular long distance journey that as been done in a variety of ways, some of them odder than others. The following are taken from Wikipedia.

Walking: The first end to end walk was by brothers, John and Robert Naylor in 1871. Since then it’s been done many times, mostly by walkers combining the many off road, long distance footpaths and usually takes 2-3 months.

Cycling: Typically takes 10-14 days and seems to be a popular route for charity challenges. The record on a conventional bike is 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds, set by 40 year old Michael Broadwith, on 17 June 2018. The women’s record is Lynne Taylor (Lynne Biddulph), 2002, 52 hours, 45 minutes and 11 seconds. The youngest is Rhoda Jones, 4 years and 4 months on a trailer-bike with her parents. But my favorite is by far the record for the penny-farthing, over what had to be an ass numbing, teeth rattling, 5 days and one hour by George Pilkington Mills. This was broken 133 years later (can’t imagine why it took so long!) by Richard Thoday, who completed the journey in 4 days, 11 hours and 52 minutes.

Imagine riding this for 1000 miles. James Gardiner Collection

You can read more about the runners, swimmers, paddleboarders, wheelchair bound and even a skateboarder on the Wikipedia site.

If you should be interested in walking the length of Britain, Walking Lands End to John O’Groats with Mark Moxen is one strong footed individual’s experience that includes his route, tips, and a searchable photo gallery. If you are a fan of travel memoirs like I am, Journey Through Britain by John Hillaby, written in 1968, is considered the best account of this ‘End to End’ walk. I’m adding it to my Goodreads tonight.

If two wheels are more your speed, there looks to be plenty of fully supported or independent rides you can do. Ride Across Britain offers a nine day classic route if you are the type of cyclist that can ride over 100 miles a day with daily ascents averaging 5000 feet. The first days total ascent is over 8000 feet! Heck, up the challenge by doing in on a pennyfarthing!

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