Wednesday, 20 June 2007

End to End Movie

I've finished the definitive film of the End to End Charity Cycle ride and uploaded it to YouTube in four parts. You can access it directly here:

Hywels End to End Part 1

Hywels End to End Part 2

Hywels End to End Part 3

Hywels End to End Part 4

Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Hywel's End to End

Hywel's End to End
Land's End to John o'Groats Charity Cycle Ride

I have transferred my End to End blog here from the previous site at

Total distance: 973 miles
Time in saddle: 70 h
Average speed: 13.9 mph

Day 12 Tongue to John O'Groats, 63 miles
The end of the End to End. The gale force westerly made cycling a joy as we headed east for JoG. After some initial climbs we scorched it over the last 30 miles and regrouped just outsode JoG to arrive together. Completely, utterly, mentally and physically knackered! Bussed it back to Inverness where I quite literlly crashed out and had to miss the celebrations. I did it and will put a framed picture of the route on my wall so that whenever I feel stressed or unable to start something I will look at it and think if I can do that I can do anything!

Day 11, Bonar Bridge to Tongue, 49 miles
This was really the middle of nowhere. The secenery was absolutely fantastic but a gale force westerly made cysling hard work, though the rain kept off. Lots of stops to take photos on this leg and a stop at the Crask Inn, which was bang in the middle of the middle of nowhere, for coffee and scones. Arrived in tongue and straight for an Isle of Jura at a very nice hotel.

Day 10, Invergarry to Bonar Bridge, 77 miles
Some great scenery today as we cycled along the banks of Loch Ness, and we clearly saw the monster gambolling in the shallows with young in tow as we cycled past. Absolute killer of a hill out of Drumnadrochit caused near fatal cardiac arrest/vomiting/hyperventilation etc. but made it to the top without stopping. No tea shops to spea of from hear to Bonar Bridge where we had another 'quality' hotel.

Day 9, Inverary to Invergarry, 101 miles
TON UP! Broke 100 miles today. Tough day on the road with bits of drizzle and cycling was a slog. Lots of lovely lochs - Loch A, Loch B.....Loch Z etc. - and Castle Aaarghs to look at but a chilly wind meant that, by Fort William, my hamstrings were like piano wire, so I had to resort to restorative coffee, cake and deep heat therapy in a coffee shop in FW. Despite all this I was still clearly concerned about my appearance for the video diary - televisual standards to maintain after all. By the time I approached the hostel in Invergarry I had 97 miles on the clock so carried on down the road for the extra to break 100. Several other of the guys were equally mad. A hostel meant that we had to resort to making our own breakfast in the morning (see Day 10 clip), so porridge and bacon butties it was then!

Day 8, 15th May: Kilmarnock to Inverary, 79 miles
Best day yet. Bowled along through Largs in beautiful sunshine, and a stop for latte and cake on the waterfront, to meet my sister Jane, Mam and Dad on the Dunoon Ferry for a photo opportunity and to collect some midge repellent. Great second half past lots of lochs saw us - after an ill-advisd sprint finish, what were we thinking?- into the Argyll Hotel for a deserved pint (or 3). Zero signal on my mobile so had to resort to the public telephone as in days of yore.

Day 7, 14th May: Longtown to Kilmarnock, 91 miles
Arrived at the signpost which said 'Scotland' and realised we were only half way! Passed through Gretna Green and had a long climb through Dumfries but it was mostly downhill in the second half with plenty of traffic on the busy A road into Kilmarnock.

Day 6, 13th May: Preston to Longtown, 96 miles
Past the worst of the traffic now. A sunny morning, and lunch in Kendal, got us over the long ascent of Shap Fell in the lake district, after which a major tea stop was required to recover. The rain started up agian as we approached Longtown, which turned out to be a it like a mexican border town from a Spaghetti Western (figuratively that is)- I half expected tumbleweed to come down the road - and the hotel lived up to this billing where I managed to melt one of my wicking tops on an antiquated convector heater, so now I have two (one on and one in the wash).

Day 5, 12th May: Shrewsbury to Preston, 89 miles
Another clear morning saw us make good time to lunch via several bike shops for running repairs incuding my second puncture, so now I have two new tyres as well. Rain sluiced down in the afternoon but Burger King and the Orchid Tea Rooms in Wigan helped us on our way even if the traffic didn't.

Day 4, 11th May: Tintern to Shrewsbury, 89 miles
This is Ieuan's version so I'll leave it for a bit of colour. There was one eventfulm interlude in a bike shop in somewhere or other where the proprietor was well intimidated by 5 lycra clad hardcore cyclists arriving in his 'family' bike shop demanding brake pads. The 4th day being the day of the 4th number was bearable with blustery sunshine i travelled swiftly throughvthe depths of the Wye valley to Monomouth where i successfully aquired some brake block and a spare inner tube should the impossible of my trustly bike Squire Geremy fail at any point. Thence fourth into Hereford a plesent and quiant little village on the outskirts of somewhere i most probably don't care about and eventually a solid 25 mile joust with heavy traffic on the A49 to Shrewsbury. Find out tomorrow if i can make it through the excitment to follow.

Day 3, 10th May: Sampford Peverell to Tintern, 87 miles
Now this was more like it. The sun was out and the road was flat. We stopped for tea/cake/soup in the George in Wedmore (think?), where a young Bill Bailey was serving at the bar. We emerged to find that the temperature had dropped 5 degrees and the rain had started. On we went through Somerset/Avon and up Shipley Hill to lunch in the rain. It was here that we had a 'Little Britain' moment." We had been supplied tea from Lenny's tea room by two old ladies who would typically be manning church jumble sales and WI events; so getting a bit cold I shelterd in their tea-room until the off and we were chatting about the usual stuff one does when doing a lunatic cycle ride. So, the conversation turned to our soujourn at the George earlier that morning and one of the ladies suddenly remarked to her friend 'Isn't that the Gay pub?' which put our lycra clad stay right in perspective - 5 Dafydds all at once! The rest of the ride was interupted by my first puncture and jousting with lunatic truck drivers in the rain as we went through Avonmouth up the the Severn Bridge (old one) and my attempt to record entry into Wales was foiled by water in the DV Cam. At the least the rode into Tintern was downhill with great views of the Wye Valley and Tintern Abbey. Best hotel so far in the Royal George where I actually had a Kingsize bed.

Day 2, 9th May: Liskeard to Sampford Peverell, 77 miles
Dartmoor, rain, mist! Pretty much sums up the morning. Left Liskeard in rain and thence to Tavistock up and down some nice hills. Then the big ascent up onto Dartmoor - I had done this before but that was on a nice sunny Spring day, and I hadn't cycled 75 miles the previous one either. Total white-out on the moor meant that the spectacular scenery was invisible, though some fellow traveller did find their way to the Two Bridges hotel for free burgers. As I got the Moretonhampstead the rain cleared (as it always does when cycling over Dartmoor) and had lunch there. Rolling hills the rest of the way to Exeter and then Sampford Peverell, but it took me 40 mins to find the B&B when I got there (no-one seemed to know where it was) so I was well p****d off by this time.

Day 1, 8th May: Land's End to Liskeard 75, miles
Left Land's End in reasonable sunshine and cloud, with a stiff wind behind. The first part before lunch was easy going with no real hills to speak of and a latte & cake stop at Redruth set the tone for the rest of the trip. Lunch at St Austell saw the start of the rain and the rest of the road to Liskeard seemed to be one continuous uphill slog, which it was in fact!. We arrived at the Nebula Hotel to find that the bags had not arrived but at least there was a cup of tea waiting.