Thursday, 14 July 2011

Day 11 of the Big Ride (the final day)

We had mixed feelings about our final day. Part excitement that we will achieve our goal and reach John O’Groats and part sadness because the challenge will be over and it has been our life for so long.

We finally left the Bed and Breakfast at 8-30 when we managed to slip away from the owners who are lovely but can talk for England. They are a Yorkshire couple who moved to Scotland 35 years ago. We know their life story!!!

The ride was easy initially with gently rolling hills and we made good progress. We crossed the Dornock Firth by a long but not too high bridge, so Graham J was OK on this one but he was still fearing what was to come. After a stop for refreshments we pushed on and started to encounter some sizeable hills, both in terms of big climbs and steep descents. 2 of these descents were 13% hills which again Graham R and Shane loved and Graham J nearly wore out his brakes. We also had to climb one 13% hill which we were told we would have to walk but sheer determination and the muscle strength from all the riding got us up on our bikes. Then we hit a newly laid road and Graham R and Shane got their tyres coated in tar, causing a slow and difficult ride. It was to take 20 miles before the tar wore off.

We met our support crew of three (Charlotte had been joined by Graham J’s wife Denise and his other daughter Christine) at Dunbeath. After a good rest we were looking forward to the final 39 miles, not realising how hard this was going to be. Our map suggested the rest of the ride was going to be quite flat but this turned out not to be the case. There were lots of hills, none of which were long like the Highlands but they were quite steep. Once we reached Wick, the landscape changed, there were few villages and scattered houses and virtually no trees. 7 miles from John O’Groats, we hit another hill which we all found hard to climb, even Shane slowed a bit. The 11 days of riding was now making our legs heavy. Finally at around 6pm we rode together into the car park at John O’Groats.

It was now time for the photos and a celebratory drink. Photos will be loaded over the weekend to this page if you need to see the proof. We were all delighted to finish and soon loaded the bikes onto the car rack and heating back to Tain for a good rest. We took in fish and chips on the way and then back to the Bed and Breakfast for more of their life stories. Interestingly, they were the same stories we heard before!!!

So that is it, 912 miles in the end in 11 days. We all suffered highs and lows along the way and kept each other going with a combination of humour and care.

Thanks to all our Blog readers and all the messages of support, especially the Dad’s tips of the day from Shanes Dad, which we found really motivating. We all also individually received lots of support from friends and relatives which was fantastic, so thanks to all.


  1. Well done, really proud of you all.

  2. Well boys you all made it, i had no doubts you would it is a mega thing you have all done going from one end of the country to the other through all those counties meeting different people along the way all with there own stories well now you three have your own story to tell and what a story it is you should be very proud of your selfs it is easy to give up and so hard to keep going. we are all so very proud of you and aspecially you shane my special son .well done to you all .