The last sounds in the RV on the evening before were two grown men enjoying their favourite chick-flick….Pretty Woman. No names shall be mentioned! What happens in the RV, stays in the RV!
The night passed with some light winds and some rain showers around 4am. We are all now experts at using the inhouse WC!
So the morning wake up was at 6am, followed by the pill routine (well two of us are pensioners after all!), then a hearty healthy breakfast was had all around. Craig was soon busy ensuring the routes and checkpoints were understood by all.
After family calls, chamois cream, bibs, vests, jackets and kit were all finally suitably in place, it was time to set off in fine sunny but windy weather to the famous Lands End start point.
This probably wasn’t an auspicious start, but we ended up down a one track path in the RV going the wrong way. After a few friendly expletives, the course correction was made and we found the famous place.
Craig took the first photo and for some strange reason we felt that we had got something not quite right?? 😊
We finally found the right start for our c.950 mile journey that would start with a first leg of 54 miles, over both pleasant rolling countryside and some challenging climbs, taking us from John O’Groats to Helmsdale.
Footnote: we could have called it a day there and then as some lovely people came up to us at the start and congratulated us for getting there. It was only under duress that we had to admit that we hadn’t started yet! 😊
The first 5 miles were what Alan calmly called ‘a bit of a livener!’
The sun had vanished, but not the wind. And the wind had been joined by driving rain. It was not very inviting but we battled through and things became quite pleasant. It’s fair to say we saw a good mix of weather on our first day.
And we knew that someone was at least watching over us for a while…
The first checkpoint passed without incident but that was soon to be changed after checkpoint 2.
But first, for all of you to take part in the POW21 JOGLE game.
Here is the first ‘special’ photo. You may quickly guess why.
But through the adventure we will post more ‘special’ photos, and we want you to guess which placename on our journey may be the next ‘special’ one.
We left Craig and set off down the road towards the next rendezvous when this happened…..
Moving towards a long line of traffic approaching us, a 4×4 decided to overtake and move into our lane. This is the footage from Alan’s bike camera. We saw it in good time and stepped onto the verge and were in no danger, but it just goes to show we need to keep our wits about us.
The overall ride itself gave us some marvelous views in some amazing countryside.
The last half of the ride became much tougher with two particular climbs between us and Helmsdale. Alan battled his way up both of them, Thomas had to push the last half of both of them! But we got there and were particularly encouraged by Craig at the last checkpoint who had very kindly bought us Booster Brownies to help our energy levels, just after having eaten his own kind of booster….a double bacon cheeseburger 😊
The final drop into Helmsdale was exhilarating as we got back all the pain of the previous climbs. We cruised downhill at around 30mph excited to arrive at the Bannockburn Hotel, Helmsdale.
Imagine our dismay at seeing the sign, ‘You are now leaving Helmsdale, thank you for driving safely’.
Some words were exchanged, and to settle the peace, we decided that neither Thomas nor Alan were to blame. We had just happened to book an overnight in the car park of a hotel that only appears, ‘Brigadoon- Style’ every 200 years!
We found it in the end and are now cooling down and relaxing for a nice meal, a bit of footy and an early night before Day#2.
Thanks for all your support!
Signing off for the day 😊