A few impressions

before the start in Land’s End

ready, steady, go! – 1,598.95km lying ahead of me

one of endless descents and ascents (here: at the western foothills of Peak Distric National Park)

Peak District National Park near Buxton (strong high winds)

ridiculous 524m seriously was the highest point of my entire tour – still the overall ascent of the tour accumulated to 14,156 metres!

at my favourite pub in the UK – The Old Hill Inn in the Yorkshire Dales (which wasn’t en route at all)

but the ‘warm chocolate pudding with white chocolate sauce and vanilla ice cream’ (best cake on earth!) was reason enough to include a 1.5 hours detour

Lake District National Park near Windermere/Kirkstone Pass

crawling up Kirkstone Pass straight into the fog

my most loyal companions along the tour

beautiful Lake District National Park – unfortunately a little foggy/rainy/cold

crossing the Firth of Clyde via Erskine Bridge near Glasgow

best suggestion for bike touring: expect anything anytime

cycling along my favourite lake in the UK: Loch Lomond

impressive scenery in the area of Glencoe – despite the grey morning

Scottish mountains – often explored on foot during previous years

waterfalls in Invermoriston next to Loch Ness

my private campsite next to River Beauly

view from Struie Hill towards Dornoch Firth near Bonar Bridge – the wettest day of my trip has started

wearing waterproofs or not, it didn’t make a difference anymore

cycling through the remotest area of of my tour between Lairg and Bettyhill – here just before Altnaharra at Loch Naver

he had a 4WD, I had a bicycle for crossing such “puddles”…

reaching the British northern coast line

at Dunnet Head (the most northerly point of mainland Britain) on my last day, some 20km away from my destination

I’ve made it – in John O’Groats after 1,598.95km!


Photos of the tour are finally online!

10 Sep 2010: departure day – 1st attempt
11 Sep 2010: departure day – 2nd attempt
12 Sep 2010: day 0 (Penzance-Land’s End-Penzance [Heamor])
13 Sep 2010: day 1 (Penzance [Heamor]-Tavistock [Langstone Manor])
14 Sep 2010: day 2 (Tavistock [Langstone Manor]-Cheddar)
15 Sep 2010: day 3 (Cheddar-Leominster [Luston])
16 Sep 2010: day 4 (Leominster [Luston]-Buxton)
17 Sep 2010: day 5 (Buxton-Leeds)
18 Sep 2010: day 6 (Leeds-Glenridding)
19 Sep 2010: day 7 (Glenridding-Cumnock [Catrine])
20 Sep 2010: day 8 (Cumnock [Catrine]-Tyndrum [Strathfillan])
21 Sep 2010: day 9 (Tyndrum [Strathfillan]-Beauly)
22 Sep 2010: day 10 (Beauly-Bettyhill)
23 Sep 2010: day 11 (Bettyhill-John O’Groats)
24 Sep 2010: in John O’Groats
25 Sep 2010: Orkney Islands
26 Sep 2010: travelling back (Edinburgh)

Have fun watching the photos and reading the rest of my cycling blog. And please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me if you want to learn more about the tour: I don’t see it happening anymore that I’m still going to write an extensive report about this great trip on this site; however, I’m always happy to provide you with input, no matter if you’re planning a similar trip or if you’re simply an interested reader. Just keep in mind: there’s little more enjoyable than bike touring through great places, despite all the pain and struggle which will always be part of such a tour. There are ideas for at least four different future bike tours stuck in my head already again 🙂

Oxfam & I say thank you!

A great thank you to everyone who supported my fundraising activity! Having done the UK bike tour for charity – Oxfam in Germany – led to an amazing 1,361.82 € in donations. As I found, my initial target of collecting 1 Euro per mile of cycling (i.e. 1,000 €) was quite optimistic already. I’ve never actually thought that we’d even exceed that target. No matter how much people gave, it was very good to see the support of not only family and friends, but actually also by complete strangers whom I met in pubs or campsites along the way.

Through your great support – which also made me push a little harder in reaching my cycling goal – we were able to help Oxfam in getting a little closer to reaching its aim of minimising poverty and injustice through advocacy campaigns, development programmes and emergency response.

Don’t expect me to cycle 10,000 kilometres next time, however, I’m more than happy to take your positive response to that appeal as push for similar campaigns in the future. Again, thank you VERY MUCH!!

route details (incl. GPS)

the complete route from Land’s End to John O’Groats [elevation/timing shown behind this link are incorrect – only the route itself + distance is displayed correctly]:
These are the correct totals: ascent: 14,156 m; descent: 14,223 m; dist.: 1,598.95 km; travel time: 104:09; moving time: 83:51; overall avg.: 15.4 kph; moving avg.: 19.1 kph; max. speed: 61.9 kph

DAY 0 (12/09/2010): Land’s End (26 m) to Heamor (near Penzance): Bone Valley Caravan and Camping Park (61 m)
ascent: 156 m; descent: 162 m; dist.: 16.14 km; travel time: 0:46; moving time: 0:44; overall avg.: 21.8 kph; moving avg.: 21.8 kph; max. speed: 57,8 kph

DAY 1 (13/09/2010): Heamor (near Penzance): Bone Valley Caravan and Camping Park (61 m) to Tavistock (Dartmoor entrance): Langstone Manor Caravan & Camping Park (206 m)
ascent: 2,025 m; descent: 1,880 m; dist.: 144.22 km; travel time: 11:18; moving time: 7:22; overall avg.: 12.7 kph; moving avg.: 19.5 kph; max. speed: 61.9 kph

DAY 2 (14/09/2010): Tavistock (Dartmoor entrance): Langstone Manor Caravan & Camping Park (206 m) to Cheddar: Cheddar Bridge Caravan Touring Park (12 m)
ascent: 1,450 m; descent: 1,643 m; dist.: 152.07 km; travel time: 9:20; moving time: 7:40; overall avg.: 16.3 kph; moving avg.: 19.8 kph; max. speed: 59.7 kph

DAY 3 (15/09/2010): Cheddar: Cheddar Bridge Caravan Touring Park (12 m) to Luston (near Leominster/Ludlow): The Quary Farm Shop (www.quarryfarmshop.co.uk) (85 m)
ascent: 1,154 m; descent: 1,080 m; dist.: 141.09 km; travel time: 9:55; moving time: 7:31; overall avg.: 14.2 kph; moving avg.: 18.7 kph; max. speed: 53.5 kph

DAY 4 (16/09/2010): Luston (near Leominster/Ludlow): The Quary Farm Shop (www.quarryfarmshop.co.uk) (85 m) to Buxton: Lime Tree Park campsite (302 m)
ascent: 1,520 m; descent: 1,294 m; dist.: 147.98 km; travel time: 10:40; moving time: 8:19; overall avg.: 13.9 kph; moving avg.: 17.8 kph; max. speed: 51.2 kph

DAY 5 (17/09/2010): Buxton: Lime Tree Park campsite (302 m) to Leeds: 4 Raynville Garth (Lynne’s home) (51 m)
ascent: 1,217 m; descent: 1,467 m; dist.: 93.32 km; travel time: 7:15; moving time: 5:52; overall avg.: 12.9 kph; moving avg.: 15.9 kph; max. speed: 53.9 kph

DAY 6 (18/09/2010): Leeds. 4 Raynville Garth (Lynne’s home) (51 m) to Glenridding: Gillside Caravan & Camping (182 m)
ascent: 1,626 m; descent: 1,499 m; dist.: 156.72 km; travel time: 9:49; moving time: 8:16; overall avg.: 15.9 kph; moving avg.: 18.9 kph; max. speed: 54.9 kph

DAY 7 (19/09/2010): Glenridding: Gillside Caravan & Camping (182 m) to Catrine (near Cumnock/Mauchline): Catrine House caravan site (115 m)
ascent: 862 m; descent: 934 m; dist.: 179.49 km; travel time: 9:59; moving time: 8:40; overall avg.: 18.0 kph; moving avg.: 20.7 kph; max. speed: 51.5 kph

DAY 8 (20/09/2010): Catrine (near Cumnock/Mauchline): Catrine House caravan site (115 m) to Tyndrum/Crianlarich: Strathfillan Wigwams (183 m)
ascent: 912 m; descent: 851 m; dist.: 138.27 km; travel time: 8:56; moving time: 7:03; overall avg.: 15.5 kph; moving avg.: 19.6 kph; max. speed: 55.3 kph

DAY 9 (21/09/2010): Tyndrum/Crianlarich: Strathfillan Wigwams (183 m) to Beauly: Lovat Bridge Caravan Site (7 m)
ascent: 1,459 m; descent: 1,640 m; dist.: 184.51 km; travel time: 10:47; moving time: 8:41; overall avg.: 17.1 kph; moving avg.: 21.2 kph; max. speed: 55.7 kph

DAY 10 (22/09/2010): Beauly: Lovat Bridge Caravan Site (7 m) to Bettyhill: B&B town centre (60 m)
ascent: 952 m; descent: 899 m; dist.: 151.59 km; travel time: 8:21; moving time: 7:28; overall avg.: 18.1 kph; moving avg.: 20.3 kph; max. speed: 46.3 kph

DAY 11 (23/09/2010): Bettyhill: B&B town centre (60 m) to John O’Groats campsite (9 m)
ascent: 823 m; descent: 874 m; dist.: 93.55 km; travel time: 6:57; moving time: 6:08; overall avg.: 13.4 kph; moving avg.: 15.2 kph; max. speed: 49.6 kph

made it!

Sorry that it took me a while – but I actually had to get back to Germany first in order to find some online access again…

To let you know: I’ve made it – arrived safely and happily in John O’Groats on a cloudy and extremely head-windy Thursday afternoon. And surprisingly, EasyJet even managed to get me back to Munich tonight as well.

All details about the trip will be online within the next two weeks. I’m afraid I wasn’t able to put anything online during the tour – too much pedalling and simply no internet access. One thing I can say now already: It was an amazing tour, many different impressions, no major trouble, and despite the endless number of hills I enjoyed it very much most of the time.

As mentioned, more to come very soon!

still alive

This is just to provide you with a brief update: I actually made it onto the island after all, spent a night at the airport (was too late and couldn’t really find my hotel on time), cycled through the centre of London, took a train to Penzance and actually cycled the first official 15km of the tour on Sunday in the afternoon.

I.e. I really started the cycling on Monday in the morning and am about to reach Buxton in the Peak District tonight (day 4) – after then approx. 360 miles or 595 kilometres since I started. At the moment, I’m in Newcastle-under-Lyme / Stoke-on-Trent.

As I’ll reach Leeds tomorrow in the afternoon where I hope to have some time left, I’ll try and put some more updates (GPS tracks, photos and some stories) online. For now, I just wanted to let everyone know that I’m doing alright, that I do enjoy the tour, but at the same time I do very much dislike the way how Britain was built… even if I’ve known the country for quite a while know, I still was extremely surprised how hilly it is over here. I’m only cycling up- and downhill. Especially in Cornwall and Dartmoor there wasn’t a single kilomtre of just flat terrain.

Anyway, off towards Buxton in the Peak District now – one of the highest and longest climbs of the trip is still waiting for me today…

Berchtesgaden to Flensburg instead?! Or: boycott EasyJet!!

First update: This is from the Apple Store in… no, not London, nowhere near actually… it’s from the one in MUNICH!

Plan B is in place already – before the beginning of my tour! Thanks to the greatest airline on earth, EasyJet! I was checked in, I was at the gate, together with more than a hundred other people waiting for boarding… and 10 minutes before boarding time, a little airport screen indicated: The flight was cancelled!!! No other information for the next hour or so. Seriously, NOBODY was responsible or knew anything. After that, an odyssee (this Apple MacBook tells me that I spelt that word wrongly, however, as I haven’t got a clue how to open a second tab/browser page, I won’t be able to look up what the correct spelling is – please excuse that little mistake) began. Don’t know how many kilomtres through the airport I made, I just know that I met many incompetent people in the area of the EasyJet Check-In – or more specific: I only met one single person from EasyJet who arranged the re-booking, didn’t know anything else, continuosly repeated “you need to talk to EasyJet in London about this”, and that was it. With my bike box which I had to get from baggage claim first, I was the last one in the queue, i.e. I got the worst alternative flight, plus an extra and very unwanted day in Munich. The whole story happened between 10pm and 1:30am last night (got to the airport at 7pm already). They then shuttled us to a hotel in centre of Munich (as if there weren’t any hotels close to the airport), well, and here I am. Lost my London hotel booking, lost my pre-booked train (this is going to be a lot of fun without a reservation tomorrow with the bike), lost my campsite reservation… and I’m waiting for my alternative flight tonight, same time, same airline, so please keep your fingers crossed that they’ll actually get us over tonight. Funniest thing: We weren’t told anything about the reason for the cancellation – only that the plane from London hasn’t arrived as it has never started from there. And THAT they must have known hours before boarding time which would have opened a lot more alternatives to me. Even driving over to England would have been a lot faster.

One thing I’ve learned: Never book with EasyJet anymore (still got two flights to go though – one tonight, and one back from Edinburgh in two weeks)!  And even if the route from south to north of Germany described in the title would be a lot easier to arrange now, I won’t give up and will have to make it with an average of 120km per day now. Still doable. And who knows, maybe I’ll still get my waterproof cycling socks in the store next door which I wasn’t able to find anymore before the start of the tour. I’ll go shopping in Munich today… still can’t believe it.

Oh, one las thing: Automatic doors at Munich airport, no matter if rotating or not, and elevators are mainly bike box suitable. THAT is the real lesson I learned from last night.