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LEJOG THE HARD WAY

LEJOG Hardcore Words & photography by John Potter

I

set off from Land’s End on 27th July 2015, well prepared and full of energy. I arrived at John O’Groats on 14th August 2015, half-dead but ecstatic. “Nothing special about that,” I hear you correctly point out. Well, this one has a twist: welcome to LEJOG Hardcore. Rather than the usual 874 miles from Land’s End to John O’Groats, this one heads straight for all the toughest climbs in the country, in all of the most splendid areas of the country, clocking up 1,848 miles with 137,000 feet of climbing. As well as being the toughest, I am claiming that this is the most beautiful cycling journey that the United Kingdom has to offer, visiting ten of the United Kingdom’s National Parks and eight Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty. From Land’s End in Cornwall you pedal on to Dartmoor and Exmoor in the south west of England, to the Brecon Beacons and Snowdonia in Wales. Back into England, you will climb the most incredible roads in the Peak District, the Yorkshire Dales, the North York Moors and the Lake District, before disappearing into the magical peace of the minor roads of Scotland. From Loch Lomond and the Trossachs and the Cairngorm mountains, to the west coast, you will see the full range of spectacular scenery that the Scottish lowlands and highlands have to offer, before you finally cruise the north east coast up to John O’Groats. LEJOG Hardcore is split into 16 stages, the official challenge being to complete them over 19 days. Each stage though, can, of course, be attempted in isolation so that you complete the journey gradually over a timeframe that suits you. If a stage is too tough, just split it into two (or more) days. You’re still going to see the most incredible parts of the country. All you need to do to get started is go to the website – www.lejoghardcore. co.uk where the GPX files are available to be downloaded. Aside from completing this self-imposed challenge out of nothing but a pure love of cycling, I have also written and self-published a book that is intended as a travel guide for others who want to have a go at it. You can also buy the book through the website. For each stage, this book gives you: n a map of the stage and a description of what you will see and the names of all of the towns and villages that you will visit. n details of tough cycling sportives in the same area, which you might want to attempt on a return visit. n good places to stop and eat lunch or take a well-deserved tea break n nonsense snippets on my version of history of Britain. n fascinating pearls of wisdom from my conversations with the locals. n a “Beat the Author” section for the main climbs of the stage.

Horseshoe Pass, North Wales

www.aukweb.net

Arrivée Summer 2016 • No.133

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Arrivée 133 - Summer 2016  

Arrivée is the free magazine of Audax United Kingdom, the long distance cyclists’ association, which represents the Randonneurs Mondiaux in...

Arrivée 133 - Summer 2016  

Arrivée is the free magazine of Audax United Kingdom, the long distance cyclists’ association, which represents the Randonneurs Mondiaux in...

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