THE ROUTE SO FAR
An outline guide of the route with maps and links to more detailed directions can be seen by clicking the Day -1 to Day 9 menu items above.
More detail on camping stops, food and petrol stops will all be worked into the overall ride and details will be available soon.
The shortest route for a Lands End to John o Groats run is 837 miles. Motorways, A-Roads, and generous quantities of dull. The route we are using takes in the highest peaks in England, Scotland and Wales, and as many minor roads, mountain passes, scenic views and National Parks as we could reasonably fit in. Our North-South route, twists, turns, and at one point on Day 3 is further north than it was when we started the day. Once the run along the South Coast is added in, the mileage is almost exactly the same as a direct run LE – JoG and back again, but a lot more interesting!
Big thanks must go to the Grim Rider MCC; the Mountain Passes Ride that we found by happy accident on their website was the inspiration for our route
Day Minus 1 - 18th June: Getting There
Off we go! Bus to Luton, plane to Inverness. Meet the lorry transporting the scoots, fiddle, fettle, panic, realise it’s too late for panicking, get some nosebag, get some kip.
Day 0 – 19th June, Inverness to John O’ Groats, 119 miles (approx).
Not part of the ride itself, just a nice gentle shakedown for our precision-prepared steeds. Probably through the heaviest storm since some bloke called Noah decided to go into boatbuilding. Get to Jo’G, try and pitch a tent in the teeth of a gale, check the scoots, panic some more, remember it’s too late and panic anyway. Simples!
Day 1 - 20th June: John O' Groats - Ballachulish, 199 miles (approx).
After a photo opportunity and an extended period of wondering what we’ve let ourselves in for, a nice easy one to start. Down the east coast, skirting Inverness and joining the Great Glen at Castle Urquhart, on the shores of Loch Ness. Then down to Fort William, a nod to Ben Nevis and round the corner. Overnight at the Invercoe campsite near Glencoe.
Day 2 - 21st June: Ballachulish - Buttermere, 234 miles (approx).
The longest ride of the trip, passing through the wonderful scenery of Glencoe and Rannoch Moor, then a change to our planned route, missing out the Dukes Pass and instead heading down the west coast of Loch Lomond . Next up is Glasgow and a break for the lowlands, shadowing the motorway until it’s time to head off into the Lowther Hills and over the Mennock Pass (our first pass over 1000ft above sea level) before heading for Dumfries and then Gretna. Over the border, around Carlisle and across to Buttermere on the northwest edge of the Lake District , where we will call it a day at the Dalegarth Guest House.
Day 3 - 22nd June: Buttermere - Tan Hill, 159 or 135 miles (approx.).
Nice short day? Yep, you just keep thinking that. Honister Pass , along Derwent Water to Keswick. Then, depending on the state of us after the rigours of day 2, EITHER the Whinlatter Pass, around the western edge of the Lakes to OR the direct route south and west “out and back” via Langdale to Hardknott Pass. Then Wrynose Pass, over the Langdales, Kirkstone Pass , and along the edge of Ullswater before heading for Penrith. That’s 5 mountain passes before lunch and skirting around the highest English peaks at Scafell. No 6 for the day is Hartside Pass , the highest in England (with a caff at the top). From there we head south to Barnard Castle and into the Yorkshire Dales, before turning west along Arkengarthdale to finish at the pub at Tan Hill, where we can camp. This is a mad ride, going around in circles and heading north in places to fit all those passes in, but if we get good weather, this could be a day that will linger long in the memory.
Day 4 - 23rd June: Tan Hill - Bala, 231 miles (approx).
This could well be the toughest day of the lot. Starting in the north of the Yorkshire Dales, the first couple of hours over the Buttertubs Pass , through Chapel-Le-Dale and the Trough of Bowland will be good fun. This all changes from Clitheroe where we pick up the A666 (the road to hell?) through Blackburn and Bolton , then onto the motorways for a while (sorry). Down to Chester , then the A55 along the north Wales coast. A lot of pretty dull trunk route driving, at least as far as Conwy, after which matters improve. Over the Llanberis Pass tick off Snowdon and head for Capel Curig and Betws-y-Coed, before finishing off somewhere in the Pen-y-Bont campsite in Bala.
Day 5 - 24th June: Bala - Weston-Super-Mare, 191 miles (approx).
Starting in Snowdonia, before swinging out east to pick up the passes at Milltir Cerrig and along the shore of Lake Vyrnwy to Bwlch y Groes. From there we head down through mid Wales along the spine of the Cambrian Mountains using a mixture of A and B roads with some hefty gradients, crossing the Brecon Beacons via the Gospel Pass (the final high pass) and down to Abergavenny. To avoid a big detour via Gloucester we will use the M4 to cross the Severn, then down the M5 to WSM, where the rugby club have kindly offered free camping, and we might even have a beer, so do join us!
Day 6 - 25th June: Weston-Super-Mare - Barnstaple, 100 miles (approx).
Not a rest day as such, but by the time we get to Weston, we reckon a morning off is in order! We will go to the Lambretta Museum in the morning, then a gentle meander across Exmoor and around the North Devon coast in the afternoon, with some great little roads. Tea and cakes near Barnstaple are planned, as we will be passing the home of a Long Scoot Downers parents (little do they understand what fearful horde may descend in merciless pursuit of cucumber sandwiches and Victoria sponge!), then camping at a local farm just up the road.
Day 7 - 26th June: Barnstaple - The Lizard via Lands' End, 171 miles (approx).
A relatively easy run down the north Cornwall coast and around the north edge of West Penwith via St. Ives and Botallack. Celebratory stop at Lands' End before heading off to The Lizard via St. Michael’s Mount, so we visit the westernmost and southernmost points of the UK on the same day. Nice part of the country, with accommodation at Franchis Campsite. The Lizard also has the best pasty shop in the world!
Day 8 - 27th June: The Lizard – New Forest, 195 miles (approx).
Up through Cornwall , straight across Dartmoor, around Exeter and along the Jurassic Coast . Past Lyme Regis and buzzing ever onwards to the New Forest . Nothing too demanding, before an overnight stop at Gundry’s Farm, west of the New Forest .
Day 9 - 28th June: Wimborne - Ashford via Brighton, 161 miles (approx).
The home straight! A nice early morning run through the heart of the New Forest, followed by a less nice early morning run around Southampton and Portsmouth on the M27. Suddenly, we’re east of the IoW and back on home turf. Along the South Coast ; ice creams and posing on Brighton Seafront, then off to Beachy Head for a last photo opportunity. Eastbourne, Hastings , Home. Simples!
Total 1664 miles (approx.)
It’s not a race but a lot of the riding is on minor roads, so assume 10-11 hours travelling per day (fag breaks, fuel breaks etc.). By day 4 your a**e will have gone into shock, by day 6 your scooter will be hanging, on day 7 you will probably want to visit serious physical harm on the route planner (and he’s coming with us, so you’ll have ample opportunity), and by day 8 you may have lowered your sights to sabotaging your own scooter and fooling that nice man from the AA. There’s a reward at the end though, because:
a) you’ll have the glow of satisfaction that comes from being part of an event that will raise a lot of money for charity, and;
b) The post-ride party will be held at the Camber Sands Scooter Rally. We want ALL the riders to come along, display their filthy, leaking rattling scooters, pose on the rally stall, bask in the adulation of your peers (or soak up the abuse and snide comments from those questioning your sanity), rattle collecting tins, and celebrate with suitable enthusiasm. It promises to be a biggie!
Below is a list of the 15 highest passes in the UK, showing the 11 from 15 that we are doing, in order. Also there's two skiing centres in there. In addition, we are travelling Wrynose Pass, The Langdales, Whinlatter Pass, straight across the top of Dartmoor etc.
|10||Bwlch y Groes||1788 feet||between Dinas Mawddwy and Llyn Vyrnwy, North Wales|
|9||Milltir Cerrig||1594 feet||between Bala and Llanganog, North Wales|
|8||Pen-y-Pass||1200 feet||between Pen-y-Gwryd and Llanberis, North Wales|
|4||Hardknott Pass||1289 feet||between Eskdale and Duddn Valley, Lake District|
|5||Kirkstone Pass||1490 feet||between Ambleside and Patterdale, Lake District|
|3||Honister Pass||1167 feet||between Seatoller and Gatesgarth, Lake District|
|6||Hartside Pass||1904 feet||between Penrith and Alston, North Pennines|
|Winnats Pass||1312 feet||between Castleton and Chapel-en-le-Frith, Peak District|
|7||Buttertubs Pass||1726 feet||between Muker and Hardraw, Yorkshire Dales|
|11||Gospel Pass||1778 feet||between Hay-on-Wye an Abergavenny, South Wales|
|Cairnwell Pass||2199 feet||between Glen Shee and Braemar, Scottish Highlands|
|The Lecht||2083 feet||between Cockbridge and Tomintoul, Cairngorms|
|Bealach na Ba||2054 feet||between Ardarroch and Applecross, Scottish Highlands|
|2||Mennock Pass||1535 feet||between Wanlockhead and Mennock, Lowther Hills|