The long-awaited final day! And it never fails to impress. Tackling some of the remotest and most spectacular parts of Scotland and some of the best riding anywhere in the UK, the days starts facing one of the biggest hills of his journey. Feeling super human and determined, Sam cycles it with ease. Continuing through the Highlands, adrenaline pumping, time for a pit stop in the pub with Bren. As Sam thinks of being blessed, a man of the cloth walks in and that’s exactly what he does. With 16 miles left to the finish, Sam continues he’s journey with everything he has left in the tank. At 2.45pm on Friday 26th October 2018, day 11, Sam completes he’s amazing journey and wow what a journey it was!! Feeling battered but elated with his achievement and the money raised for Haven House, Sam screams out, “I’ve done it”! A MASSIVE well-done Sam.
Moy - Brora - 75 miles
Bowl of porridge and dippy eggs done, the journey continues. Exhausted but sheer determination kicking in, knowing the challenge is slowly coming to an end with 140 miles left. Saddle sore kicking in, pulled muscle in left thigh and aching from head to toe, heading towards Brora fighting against the winds, envisaging the finish is within touching distance. Covering 75 miles of stunning lush scenery of the Highlands, a broken chain along the way, the days destination is reached.
Pitlochry to Moy - 81 miles
Steaming bowl of porridge, Lone Ranger Sam, sets off towards the biting gals of the highlands, Man versus Scotland! With legs like concrete but sheer determination, Sam continues through the gusts of winds blowing in his face but fighting against it, with the feeling of getting nowhere fast. Oat bar, lime and cucumber gel, just as the rain starts, Sam turns down a cycle path with a warning sign, “cycle route subject to severe weather changes & drifting snow”! “This one’s for you Bill, see you on the other side” quotes Sam. Met by Bren at the other side and a quick pit stop for some beans on toast before setting off again, determined to make up more miles and nearing his destination. As the darkness hits, Sam becomes lost in the pitch black of the Highlands, circling for 20 miles. Cycling over rocky pathways with fear creeping up, Sam eventually spots a light from a nearby almost derelict house. A very merry Dutch man opens the door, laughing as he directs Sam back on the beaten track, where Bren eagerly awaits with the camper van. Another mountain overcome, 81 miles done and alive to continue this tremendous challenge. Let’s hope tomorrow is a smoother cycle for the Lone Ranger.
Edinburgh to Pitlochry - 70 miles
Another early start, setting off from Edinburgh, sheer exhaustion kicking in, heading for Pitlochry and into the gales of the Scottish Isles. Crossing the famous Fourth Road Bridge, with astounding views but feeling the sting of the gales as the wind picks up, blowing in their faces with the feeling of getting nowhere, their destination for the day is reached! Not much left in the tank and due to unforeseen circumstances and tears in his eyes, Billy has had to abandon the challenge! One man down, Sam will need everything he’s got to make it to the finish!
Carlisle to Edinburgh - 96 miles
Another early start, heading North from Carlisle and towards the border of Scotland with some of the most dramatic scenery lying ahead. The ride from Carlisle to Edinburgh offers fantastic views of the Lowther Hills,The River Clyde and the iconic Forth Railway Bridge. Just as they enter Edinburgh, another blow out, but prepared with Billy to the rescue.
Preston to Carlisle - 89 miles
Setting off from Preston following a successful end to yesterdays journey, with a “BIG SHOUT OUT” to Evans bike shop in Preston, heading towards the border of Scotland with some of the most dramatic and breathtaking scenery. Passing through the mighty Lake District, Lancaster on to Kendal with a pit stop in Penrith to refuel. With little sleep and legs like concrete, the duo continue their amazing challenge knowing the end is near, finishing their day in Carlisle home to majestic highlands and lush green valleys.
Stoke on Trent to Preston - 94 miles
Cycling off from Stoke on Trent, passing through Manchester and the famous Bolton, home of comedian Peter Kay, Sam encounters the first mechanical breakdown whilst ascending a hill, as the gears snap on his bike! Having to use Billy’s spare bike, making the challenge tougher but thanks to the help of Evans bike shop in both Manchester and Preston on hand with the spare part to fix Sam’s bike in readiness for tomorrows ride.
Ludlow to Stoke on Trent - 91 miles
Setting off with the sun rising over the hills and well in tuned with the ride, crossing the edge of the Stiperstones hills before hitting the Shropshire and Cheshire plains. The ride begins to flatten out significantly as the approaching landscape becomes more suburban heading towards Stoke on Trent. Covering 91 miles finishing in total darkness, soaked with sweat and freezing cold, a well earned pit stop for a beer. First chase as Sam skims Billy’s wheel, ending up in a Hollybush! Good day but both shattered and hungry.
Bath to Ludlow - 101 Miles
Super quick start covering 17 miles in their first hour, skirting around Cheddar Gorge before crossing the sweeping expanse of the Bristol Channel on the Severn Bridge. “Smashing it,” in the words of Sam Murphy. 85 miles in and a pit stop for coffee and re-fuel in Gloucester, before ending the day in Shrewsbury with a hot meal and early night ready for the day ahead.
Okehampton to Bath - 110 miles
Another early start, re-fuelled and ready to embark day 2 of their challenge, the boys continue with their uphill ride with a quick pit stop at Tiverton following a tough 50 miles. 45 minutes ascending the hill with a 16% gradient, empty water bottles they hit a wall but limped in with more homemade stew, rolls and fluids awaiting them. Batteries charged in readiness for Bridgewater, slightly behind schedule covering 82 miles, but hoping to make these up with a few big days ahead. Just made camp in time for a quick dip in the pool and a hot dinner, compliments of Bren & the camper van team. These first two days are probably the toughest of the ride, but once cracked they know they have what it takes to make it to the end!
Land's End to Okehampton - 107 miles
Up at 5.45am, following an 8 hour journey to Land’s End with little sleep, the intrepid duo have begun their challenge with some of toughest climbs of the entire route but with rewarding views of the impressive coastline, St. Michael’s Mount and Cornwall’s iconic china clay pits. Experiencing 2 blow-outs and a new tyre change only 15 miles into their ride, not the best start, but sheer determination meant this did not discourage them!
Covering 107 miles in 12 hours with a pit-stop for some well deserved homemade stew, the boys cycled 3 hours in total darkness, enduring some of the biggest and longest hills they have ever seen “and never want to see again” in the words of Sam Murphy. “One of the hardest days on a bike ever” as quoted from Billy, an avid cyclist, having previously participated in the Tour de France route, highlights the enormity of this amazing challenge. Both falling asleep into their dinners, off to bed ready for another big day ahead!
An intrepid duo – Sam and Billy – are undertaking the huge challenge of cycling Land’s End to John O’Groats to raise money for Haven House Children’s Hospice. This feat is the traversal of the whole length of Great Britain and is some 874 miles. Sam and his fellow riders are aiming to do this in 10 days from an early start on 15 October.
Supported by Brendan and a crew in a camper van, the team are aiming to raise at least £10,000 for the hospice and are hard at work training for cycling around 100 miles per day.
Haven House believes that no family should have to face alone the difficulties of looking after a child with a life-limiting condition. All our services are free of charge to our families but less than 20% of the £4.4 million we need to obtain during 2018/19 is secured by government sources. This is why all money raised from this incredible endeavour is so appreciated and families like Massimo’s will really benefit.
Sam who has visited the hospice recently said: “I was really moved when I visited Haven House and saw the amazing work that is being done to support children and families. It is a really beautiful place and I am really happy to support their work. We are all really determined to complete the challenge and raise plenty of money as well”!