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 many days there are more or less hilly options.
Accomodation is usually in good pubs or small hotels always, with ensuite shower or bath. We will tailor these to your requirements but sometimes you will be limited to where you need to be.
DAY 1 LANDS' END TO FOWEY
Departing from 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.
DAY 2 & 3 FOWEY TO ALVESTON
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 (but not very steep) climb 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.
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 avoids this by going over the Avon Bridge. In total it's about 100 miles.
DAY 4 & 5 ALVESTON TO MERE
This is a relatively gentle day starting by 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 need more exercise.
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 you head towards Nantwich through lovely Cheshire countryside.
DAY 6 & 7 MERE TO BRAMPTON
Day 6 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.
For day 7 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.
DAY 8 & 9 BRAMPTON TO STIRLING
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.
Day 9 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
DAY 10 & 11 STIRLING TO GRANTON ON SPEY
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 more 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.
For day 11 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 than 2000m of climbing.
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.
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 Altnaharra 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 eventually 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.