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Thursday, 26 April 2012

The route

With the last of the big training rides completed this week I have been putting some flesh on the bones of my route and it is looking like this:

Day 1, Sunday 6th May: Land’s End - Hele (136 miles)
The first day’s ride looks like being the longest and also possibly the hardest as Cornwall is a notoriously hilly county, especially once you get off the main roads. I’m hoping to make as earlier a start as possible and cover a significant chunk of the route on the A30 before peeling off after about 50 miles and hopefully finding some quieter roads. With around 9,000ft of climbing in the day I will be happy to reach my first night’s accommodation in Hele near Exeter.

Day 2, Monday 7th May: Hele - Playley Green (123 miles)
The second day will see me skirt around Bristol via the Cheddar Gorge to Playley Green, which is about 10 miles north of Gloucester. A shorter day and, other than the Gorge, a relatively flat route should hopefully give me chance to recover a bit from the difficult first day.

Day 3, Tuesday 8th May: Playley Green - Manchester (135 miles)
Day three takes me up to my home in North Manchester. A longer day at 135 miles and, whilst initially the route will be quite lumpy, once I get to Cheshire the roads will flatten out and knowing that I’m not far from home should give me a psychological boost.

Day 4, Wednesday 9th May: Manchester - Gretna (129 miles)
After leaving the home comforts behind I will set off through Bolton up to Preston and then on through Lancaster and Carlisle to Gretna. The morning will see a bit of climbing over the West Pennine Moors before flattening out on the A6 until it gets to Shap Fell and once that climb is crested the remaining 46 miles will be mostly downhill.
Day 5, Thursday 10th May: Gretna - Callander (119 miles)
Scotland. Home of the Scottish. The first part of the day will be on the B7076 which runs parallel to the A74(M)/M74 with the road gradually climbing until past Moffat. From there it's downhill to Hamilton before heading over the Crow Road giving a few nasty kicks up towards the end of the day in the Trossachs National Park.

Day 6, Friday 11th May: Callendar - Drumnadrochit (133 miles)
The majority of Day 6 will be spent on the A84 as I wind my way out out of the National Park towards Fort William and then up the lochs to Drumnadochit. This will see a fair bit of climbing in the morning but the second half of the day will follow the lochs and hopefully shouldn't have too many significant climbs.

Day 7, Saturday 12th May: Drumnadrochit  - John O'Groat's (135 miles)
The final leg starts with the biggest climb of the day up to Muir of Ord, which I suppose is a boost as it gets it out of the way, before joining up with the A9 at Tain. I follow this road (which seems to have a lot of hills for a coastal road!) past Helmsdale and up towards Wick before branching off the A roads for the last 30 miles into John O'Groats. With around 910 miles to cover in the week I might end up being glad of the fact that the days get longer as you head further North. 


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