About the challenge
Starting at Land’s End on the south-westerly tip of England, we pedal our way through Cornwall, over Dartmoor and north along the Welsh border, skirting the Lake District into Scotland, via lochs and the Highlands to the North Coast and John O’Groats.
In all we will cover roughly 1,000 miles, passing through some of the most stunning and remote countryside in the British Isles. This is a tough challenge but a fabulous way to see the country, and one of the most rewarding things you will ever do!
Dates & prices
|Departs||Days||Charity||Availability||Registration fee||Fundraising target||Payment option|
|30 Aug 2016||13||Open challenge||Full||£299||+||£2700||Or||£1350||Fully booked|
|13 Jun 2017||13||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£2800||£1400||Book now|
|29 Aug 2017||13||Open challenge||Spaces||£299||+||£2800||£1400||Book now|
Day 1-2: Hilly roads through Cornwall and over tough climbs of Dartmoor
Day 3-4: Rural roads through Somerset and Wye Valley to Shrewsbury
Day 5-6: Faster flatter roads as we head north; over Shap Fell to Carlisle
Day 7-9: Cross into Scotland and ride beautiful, hilly route via the highlands, castles and lochs
Day 10-11: Pass Loch Ness and follow narrow, hilly roads to north coast
Day 12-13: Beautiful deserted beaches to John O'Groats; transfer to Inverness to celebrate!
What it's really like
Long cycling distances (longest day 100miles)
Toughest terrain in Dartmoor and Scotland
Requires fitness, stamina and determination
Cycle at own pace mainly on minor roads
Variety of hotels convenient to route
Discover Adventure reserves the right to change the route or itinerary for safety reasons should local conditions dictate.
All accommodation is included, as well as all meals except 2 as specified in the itinerary. It also includes full trip support of experienced Discover Adventure leaders, drivers and mechanics.
It does not include personal travel insurance, two meals as specified, personal items and entry to any optional tourist sites you may wish to visit. Remember to allow extra for drinks, souvenirs and other personal expenses. We strongly recommend you carry a credit card in case of personal emergency.
Our accommodation is generally in larger hotels, though there may be some B&Bs. Due to the route we take, some nights are in Travel Lodge-style accommodation to minimise unnecessary extra mileage. Be prepared for variety! Accommodation is comfortable and well situated but not luxurious. Rooms are usually twin-share and have en-suite facilities. Due to accommodation restrictions in certain areas, the night-stops as shown in the itinerary may change in order to accommodate different-sized groups.
All food is included during the cycle other than 2 meals as specified in the itinerary. Lunches are generous buffet-style with plenty of energy food to keep you going! Dinners are generally eaten in hotels or nearby inns.
Being vegetarian or having other dietary requirements is not usually a problem provided you let us know well in advance. If you know there are plenty of foods you cannot eat you may wish to bring extra snacks from home so you can top up your energy supply, or buy them as you go along. Any meals not included are listed in the itinerary and are generally when we are in towns or cities where you are free to explore and find something to suit your budget.
Discover Adventure Crew
Your trip will be led by experienced Discover Adventure leaders. Our leaders are selected for their experience in harsh wilderness environments, knowledge of travel in remote areas, friendliness and approachability, sense of humour and ability to safely and effectively deal with any situation that arises. They are also trained in expedition first-aid. You are in very safe hands with a Discover Adventure leader.
All our leaders are from the UK or other English-speaking countries. Most work for us on an ad-hoc basis and have ‘real’ jobs in-between trips! We never send our leaders to the same destination for months on end – we want them to be as enthusiastic about your trip as you are. The number of crew and support vehicles looking after you will depend on the final size of your group, but the team will be looking after every aspect of your trip whether that’s transporting your luggage, making your lunch or sorting out any mechanical problems. At Discover Adventure we pride ourselves on our high leader: cyclist ratio and believe it leads to greater trip enjoyment as well as excellent trip safety.
Support vehicles are with the group all of the time. All luggage and spares will be carried in them. Space is limited and hard-sided luggage is not suitable, so it is essential that your kit is packed in a soft sailing bag, rucksack or expedition kitbag. Ask us about our specially-designed low-cost kitbags if you don’t have one already. You should also bring a small daypack or large bumbag to carry for items needed during the day as you will not have access to your main luggage until the evening. If you prefer not to travel home from Inverness with your bike, we offer a bike courier service (at extra cost). Further details will be sent to you nearer the time.
Your safety, and that of the rest of the group, is our highest priority. Our trips are designed and planned with safety in mind. Your crew will be equipped with radios and emergency mobile phones, first-aid kits and other safety apparatus where necessary. They always have access to our 24-hour emergency back-up. Our leaders are responsible for safety on the trip, and will make any changes to the itinerary they deem necessary should local conditions dictate. Pre-trip administration – such as compulsory medical questionnaires and travel insurance – is all done with your safety in mind.
Preparing for the challenge
The cycling is mainly undulating over rolling countryside, though there are some longer, tougher climbs (primarily in Dartmoor and Scotland). Distances are fairly long, averaging approx 80 – 100 miles per day, with a shorter day at the end. You will cycle approximately 1000 miles on this trip overall. Participants should make sure they are fit enough to manage these distances over 12 consecutive days. This is not a ride which any cyclist should attempt without specific training. Traffic is light on most of the roads but when we pass through large towns we usually go through as a group.
We strongly recommend that you ride a road /racing bike (rather than a mountain bike) for this trip due to the long distances involved on well-surfaced roads. It’s really important that you ride the bike you have been training on so you are used to it. Although training in the gym is useful, there is no substitute for getting out into all weathers and really getting to know your bike – especially the range of your gears. However, Discover Adventure can provide hybrid or mountain bikes at extra cost if you wish.
Our support vehicles will carry a range of spares along with a full tool kit. However it is impossible for us to carry spares for every eventuality so it is vital that you check your own bike is in good working order before departure. It is a condition of travel that you supply your own helmet and wear it at all times while cycling, with the straps done up.
Clothing & Equipment
We are travelling through varied terrain and could be exposed to bad weather at any time so be prepared for quickly changing conditions and temperatures especially the hillier regions we pass through. We provide you with a detailed packing kit-list on registration, as well as details on useful discounts you are entitled to as a Discover Adventure customer. We are always available if you need advice.
The weather in May and September should be generally good, though it can be changeable especially in Cornwall and Scotland, where there is an increased chance of rain and strong winds. The prevailing wind direction will have more of an impact on the cycling difficulty than rain. We start our ride from Land’s End to benefit from the most common prevailing wind direction – but there are no guarantees!
Our challenges attract people of all levels of experience and fitness, all ages and backgrounds. We expect all participants to train hard in advance to achieve this challenge, but we respect everyone’s limits. We design our challenges so that everyone can go at their own pace: this is not a race. For logistical and safety reasons we sometimes need to re-group, so the front-runners will find themselves waiting for the slower ones. Please relax, and remember that this is a team effort that enables people to achieve their personal goals and earn sponsorship.
We insist that you have had a tetanus injection in the last 10 years.
Worldwide Sustainable Tourism
Long before ‘Responsible Tourism’ became a recognised phrase, we designed and ran our trips to ensure they made minimum impact on the environment and a positive impact on the local communities we pass through.
Discover Adventure Projects
We are supporting a tree-planting project in Peru and a children’s home in Tanzania on a long-term basis. If you would like to ‘give something back’ please consider donating £5 to our projects when you sign up.
We encourage all our customers to offset emissions connected with their trip. You can offset at any time in the lead-up to departure by visiting Climate Care via our website and making a donation to a worthwhile project supported by them.
Alternatively, if you wish to take more practical action in the UK you can volunteer for a day with TCV and work on an environmental project local to you. Work may include construction footpaths, dry stone walling, creating wildlife habitats or planting trees in your community. Volunteer today at www.tcv.org or call 01302 388883.