Day 18
Miles completed today 55
Total and Final Miles 1227

An amazing final day - we blitzed the first 30 Miles from Bettyhill to Thurso before stopping for cakes with our support crew (Martin and Toby). I don’t remember much of the scenery as we were busy reminiscing about our wonderful adventure.

Time for Adam to have one final puncture outside the coffee shop before we were on our way on the last 20 Miles. We arrived to a wonderful reception from Martin and Toby with champagne, fellow Lejoggers from the US and Brighton and general excitement from the other tourists.

John O’Groats was nicer than I expected - a little less tacky than Lands End - and so many friendly face and positive comments - even one final donation to our fundraising!

We then decided to cycle to Duncansby Lighthouse so we could be at the most north easterly point in mainland UK. A lovely way to round off the route before dumping our bikes with the courier to bring home.

My reflections on our adventure ...

1. It has reminded me that we live in a truely amazing country - in the space of 1200 miles we have experienced so many varied landscapes, so much excillerating scenery and so many kind people, we should be more proud of the UK

2. Adam has been a delightful cycling companion - from the glorious revolution through Greek myths to Donald Trump, Brexit, the World Cup, Tour de France and beyond he has kept me endlessly entertained and has been so tenacious in keeping going and being positive

3. The mental tiredness should not be underestimated- from avoiding potholes to co-existing happily with other motorists - it all takes a lot of concentration. Along with organising stops, planning the route and having the right stuff in the right place ...  a lot of this would go away in a bigger organised group but overall I love the way we have done it - the freedom to choose our own route, go at our own pace and meet up with so many friends and family has been totally brilliant

4. I can’t overstate the help and encouragement that social media has given us - from Facebook to this blog to texts - the instant and so positive responses have given us more impetus than I can possibly describe. Thanks to all and the bonus of raising so much money for Pancreatic Cancer Research is even more of a reward

So what next ..? Adam wants to do a trip to France - we shall see but above all I just hope I have given him some memories and a sense of achievement that will stay with him for the rest of his life ... he told me at the end he had enjoyed every minute .. that for me is the biggest triumph of all

Thanks to all who have read this far and this really is the end ... farewell from our adventure and I will go to sleep with the sound of Adam playing his Welsh ukulele that was his present from Martin and Toby for finishing!

Day 17
Miles completed today 49
Total Miles 1172

Stunning - that is the word for today’s scenery ... pretty easy day cycling from Lairg to Bettyhill which gave us time to stop and take in our surroundings. Feeling very lucky to have got this weather today. First landmark was Crask Inn publicised as the most remote inn in the UK but sadly closed on a Tuesday morning. Great excitement over the road from it though, when we saw our first JOG signpost with 90 miles on it (is that all!). 

The ride continued through amazing scenery with views across the hills, lochs and heather then leading down the to sea. Lovely cafe near Tongue for lunch looking out towards the Atlantic. 

Final stretch a bit trickier with quite strong side winds and one big hill where I plodded and Adam cycled like Geraint! 

Day rounded off with a really interesting museum about the Clearances - a period of Scottish history I knew nothing about - when poor families were cleared off the land to make way for more profitable sheep farming - resulting in many Scottish families emigrating to the US, Canada, Australia and NZ .. culture and exercise, a well rounded day! 

Mixed feelings about tomorrow being our final day - legs and bottom will be pleased but I shall miss our adventure when it is over .. 

Day 16 

Miles completed today 87
Total Miles 1123

Lovely day from Carrbridge to Lairg via Inverness - this morning began with a fantastic undulating ride into Inverness that we blitzed in only 2 hours. Struggled to find somewhere nice for lunch but eventually struck lucky with a hotel beside the Moray Firth.

Afternoon began with a poor few miles alongside a very busy A road but things soon improved as we climbed up higher and were rewarded with some amazing views of the Firth of Sutherland. The heather was lovely and purple and it did feel a bit isolated - I suppose what I expected this far north!

The final section gave us great value from the climbs with long and scenic downhills eating up the miles and some lovely woodland sections near the river.

Adam had salad again at lunch (still wrong!) but was back on top cake form later in the day.

Special thoughts today for Vicky our much missed hockey colleague and her mum Pat who has kindly sponsored us after hearing about our ride. Penultimate day tomorrow but still no John o’groats signs yet ... hoping that changes soon!

Day 15
Miles completed today 71
Total Miles 1036

A good day from Pitlochry to Carrbridge passing through Drumochter pass and Aviemore. The pass was a gradual climb through about 12 miles to the highest point on a cycle path in Scotland. Scenery was lovely if a little clouded in mist for much of the time.

Stopped at a great cafe in Dalwhinnie for hot drinks and scones before another Adam puncture and a heavy downpour for 30 mins slowed our progress - but we were able to stop at Kingussie for chips and to regroup and dry out.

We passed 1000 miles at this point so tried this arty photo of 1000 (thinking of Anya as we did it!) .. not quite as good in retrospect as we thought it was at the time!!

Route was then easy and undulating through Aviemore to Carrbridge. Aviemore is just too touristy for my taste but we did find a cafe doing fab sandwiches. Just had a lovely evening at the pub with a girl from Holland who was delighted to have some company - or so she said!!

Tomorrow is our last big day in terms of mileage - just hoping my legs will cope - before 2 more shorter and more hilly days to the end ... I am wondering when we will see the first signpost for John O’Groats ... beginning to believe we can do it ... after all who would have predicted a Welshie winning the Tour ..!! 

Day 14 
Miles completed today 69
Total Miles 965

An unexpectedly enjoyable day as we managed to cycle 69 rain free miles from Queensferry to Pitlochry. 

Early breakfast meant we set off from Queensferry ahead of the weather and managed to reach Kinross via Dunfermline in the dry. I still don’t like the route through Dunferminline (remembered from last year) but the descent into Kinross is still fabulous.

Lovely coffee and cake stop followed by a dash to Perth - riding through the valley surrounded by heavy showers on either side on the hills. We arrived just ahead of the clouds! 

We were then into full “rain avoidance” mode - having lunch in Perth for 2.5 hours during the most torrential downpour ... we saw many painted penguins and Adam had salad and no cake for lunch (just wrong!).

We then made our escape and cycled through huge puddles but still in the dry to Dunkeld. Buoyed by Geraint Thomas’s Time trial performance and a cake we then powered onto Pitlochry along a beautiful path along the river Tay. Far fewer hills today than we were expecting .. are we really in Scotland?!! 

Day rounded off with a lovely evening having steak with Catherine and Gordon Baird - Adam also loved the old fashioned sweet shop in Pitlochry that was still open as we arrived and couldn’t resist some blackcurrant Bon bons. 

Another day of dodging rain beckons tomorrow but we definitely saw Inverness on the signs today so we can’t be too far away - Less than 250 miles to go!! 

Day 13

Miles completed today 75
Total Miles 896

This is definitely the bike ride that just keeps on giving - we have had a fantastic ride today. Temperatures lovely without the heatwave of the  south of England. Spectacular coastal views as we worked our way across from Berwick through Edinburgh to the area just below the Forth Bridge.

We particularly liked Coldingham (thanks for recommendation Mum!), Dunbar and Haddington. Great lunch stop at Dunbar, liked the harbour and the bloke in the bike shop who adjusted Adam’s gears for a fiver!

The route through Edinburgh is fantastic - an old railway and hardly any traffic - Edinburgh was unbelievably busy - I have never seen it anything like that full as we went around Waverley St and Haymarket - so happy to be staying out at Queensferry.

Great that adam was really on it today especially after the Milkshake shack we found in Musselbrough where he had a vanilla shake with literally everything in or on it!

Tonight I am going to try and find the curry house I went to with dad in 2000 on our way to see Tiger win the British Open so I think I will dedicate today to all of us who no longer have our dads around - raise a glass and have a happy memory about them!

Day off tomorrow so until Saturday ... adios!

Day 12

Miles completed today 98
Total Miles 821

What a wonderful day even if it was a little long! Northumberland did us proud from the Roman wall through Wooler to just north of Berwick - this stage was magnificent (I am biased!)

We managed 42 Miles pre lunch - before stopping at a very strange place which was an idyllic mansion on the outside but more like a haunted house inside! We then pressed on along fantastic country roads to Wooler (apart from one short off road section that was totally impassable on a road bike so we had to find a way around). Adam then sniffed out an outstanding cafe in a nondescript garden centre (best scone of the trip award) which refuelled us for the final push to Mordington. Encouraged in this part by the great views out to a really blue North Sea.

Amazing route, great road surfaces and beautiful cycling weather. Rounded off with fab fish and chips at Eyemouth with Mum ... one more shorter day to Edinburgh and then a well deserved rest on Friday ...