12 March, 2014

Dover to Cape Wrath – a preview

Editor: Bill Atkinson is a long standing member of the Association, having walked and cycled End-to-End more than once. He intends to complete his cycle from Dover to Cape Wrath this June and write us a full account.

By Bill Atkinson

I had always intended to do this in one trip and I do think it is much more satisfying all done day after day, but circumstances stopped me. I am still really enjoying it though. Over the last two months I have completed just under 800 miles of my Dover to Cape Wrath cycle. I started in Bexhill and had a fantastic day getting through to Dover. I cut across to Whitstable and then followed the coast all the way to Tower Bridge in London where I stopped to help my son work on his house. That was three days cycling.

Later I went to Chesterfield and did the South-North arm of the Trans Pennine Trail, then the Leeds Liverpool Canal, and then A roads to Carlisle. I cycled through the Southern Uplands, through Glasgow and up to Loch Lommond (mainly on cycle paths) and then west to Oban. That chunk took 7 days.

I have just completed another 5 days getting from London to Chesterfield, making several visits on route. The 60 miles from just west of Aylesbury to just east of Coventry was absolutely wonderful; I had a list of villages and followed the direction signs from one village to the next. The sun shone, there were hardly any cars and the autumn countryside was glorious.

I was very, very lucky with the weather: two hours of rain. I was always in the right place at the right time, and the wind was nearly always behind me. I always use B&Bs and hotels; I like comfort at the end of the day. Where possible I always use cycle tracks and cycle routes and I usually try to avoid using A roads though this is not always possible. This means that it does take me longer than someone just using roads; I also must admit I only really go quickly downhill with the wind and I always walk up steep hills.

I will do the rest in June with my wife.

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