Packhurst Cycle Tours, Packhurst House, Edge. Stroud . GL6 6NG

© 2019 by Packhurst Cycle Tours. 

Lands' End to John O'Groats via the Lake District.

This route is almost entirely on small roads with the occasional cycle path to avoid towns and main roads.  On most days there are more or less hilly options.

Day 1 Lands' End to Fowey

Arriving at Lands' End the first day is a relatively short day of about 60 miles with no major climbs but quite a lot of up and down.  Apart from the stretch from Lands' End to Penzance it is almost entirely on small roads with great scenery.  Stay in Fowey or nearby.

Start of "LEJOG" (It's not always sunny) !

Day 2 Fowey to Tiverton

This is probably the hilliest day of the tour until the Highlands.  The day starts at sea level and some rolling countryside until crossing your first county line and arriving in Tavistock.  From here there is a long climb (but not very steep) onto Dartmoor.  There are excellent coffee stops in Mortenhampstead and although it's not all downhill the worst is over as you go through Exeter and stay near Tiverton.

Crossing into Devon

Dartmoor

Day 2 Tiverton to Alveston

After the hilly previous day there is a bit of gentle climbing to start the day before a long descent to the Somerset Levels.  There is an option to go up Cheddar Gorge and through Bristol and over Clifton Suspension Bridge but the flat way is avoids this by going over the Avon Bridge.  In total it's about 100 miles.

Crossing the Avon Bridge

Day 4 Alveston to Ludlow

This is a relatively gentle day starting following the Severn to Gloucester.  After a few miles navigating around Gloucester the countryside is beautiful and fairly flat through Worcestershire and into Shropshire. 

It's about 80 miles but there are options to go into the Malvern Hills for those who feel need the exercise.

Crossing the Avon Canal

Day 5 Ludlow to Mere

This is another relatively gentle day and starts with a fantastic ride with a few short climbs to Shrewsbury on small straight roads with stunning views.  From Shrewsbury the  you head through Nantwich through lovely Cheshire countryside.

Shropshire Countryside

Day 6 Mere to Kirkby Lonsdale

This starts off  by crossing the Manchester Ship Canal and after a wiggling through the suburbs of Manchester there is a climb to Belmont where there is a great coffee shop.  Then there's a log descent to Preston. 

After a few miles through the Forest of Bowland you climb onto stunning moorland and a rapid descent to Bentham.  From there it's about 10 miles to Kirkby Lonsdale. 

In total it's about 85 miles.

Manchester Ship Canal

Descending to Bentham

Cycle paths avoiding Preston.

Slaidburn, Forest of Bowland

Day 7 Kirkby Lonsdale to Brampton

There are two choices here. 

The more challenging (80 miles) is to go into the Lake district and take on the iconic Kirkstone Pass followed by a long descent to Patterdale and a ride around Ullswater. 

The alternative is via Tebay which is shorter (70 miles), with less climbing but there are still plenty of hills. 

A rather wet day

Weather forgotten with a great dinner at the Farlam Hall Hotel

Day 8 Brampton to Selkirk

Into Scotland. This is a much more relaxed day which may be welcome after the two previous days. 

It starts with a few rolling Cumbrian hills until you arrive at the border for obligatory photos.  There is then a long but gentle climb before decending to Hawick.  One more small climb before arriving near Selkirk.  In all it's about 65 miles.

Obligatory photos as you enter Scotland

Day 9 Selkirk to Stirling

This day starts with a glorious ride along the Tweed to Peebles.  Stunning views or hills the Cheviots on one side and the Tweed on the other.  After Peebles the countryside opens up and although there is some rare A road biking it is not busy and the views are great.  

In all it's about 80 miles and a gentle start to the final part of the trip.

Cycling along the Tweed

Stirling Castle

Day 10 Stirling to Pitlochry

This is a long but glorious day with several alternatives. and begins with about 25 miles to Comrie where there are several superb cafes.  From there around the southside of Loch Earn (northside is flatter but mor cars), followed  by a ride along the old railway line avoiding the A85 through Glen Ogle and also on a cycle way to Killin.  There is then a choice of south or north side of Scotland's biggest Loch, Loch Tay and one final climb to Pitlochry.  In total it's about 80 miles but there is a more direct route via Crieff which cuts off about 20 miles and some uphill.

Arriving into Comrie

Loch Earn

Loch Tay

Day 11 Pitlochry to Granton on Spey

Again there are two alternatives.  The easier route if the weather is bad and the wind against is to follow the A9 where there is a mainly very good cycle path.  It's still long 70miles but about 1000m less climbing.

However if the weather is fine and you are feeling fit you can tackle the Scottish ski stations of Glenshee and Lecht with a bit of Deeside in between.  The climb to Lecht in particular is steep (max gradient 24%).

From Lecht there are still a few climbs before the run to Granton.  In total this alternative is about 85 miles with  more than2000m of climbing.

Cycle path along A9

Nearly at Lecht

Lecht Ski station

Day 12 Granton on Spey to Lairg

This is a long day (100 miles) but relatively flat and you might want to convert the final two days into three.  Overall it's downhill and there are no hard climbs.

The day starts by following the A9 cycle path to Inverness and crossing the Moray Firth.  The countryside is a bit bleak and good coffee stops are harder to find until you reach Dingwall.  

From there you go to Bonar Bridge and on to Lairg.  

Coffee stop and grumbling about the weather

Leaving Inverness

Getting ready for the final day

Day 13 Lairg to John O'Groats

The final day starts with a rolling ride and there is a convenient coffee stop after about 20 miles at the Althaharra hotel.  Again the scenery is glorious and remote.

From Altnaharra you take a small smooth road along Loch Naver and then along the River Naver where the main hazzard is sheep.  You arrive at Betty Hill which will bring your average speed down.  There are a few hills along the North coast to Tongue and a final flat 20 miles to John O'Groats.

Loch Naver

Betty Hill

Altnaharra Hotel

Nearly there..

The finish!