JOGLE - Getting to John O'Groats
The journey from Home the day before
Dunnet Head from the beach at Castletown
Because of where I live, the first part of my journey may not relate to anyone reading this, but diary / log sake, it has to be included!
I left Ashford on the High Speed service to London St. Pancreas, then walked the short distance to London Euston to catch the Caledonian Sleeper to Inverness, a journey time of around 12 hours. It was pretty easy to get a Cycle reservation. With so many doing the ride south to north, this way is a bit more relaxed. In fact there were only 4 bikes on the whole train!
I would say that the extra few £'s to get a Sleeping Compartment is well spent. I didn't and wished I had!
Being an early to rise bird, it was a real thrill sitting in a Sofa in the Buffet Car going through the Cairngorms and being that the North get far more daylight than us, I saw it all - spectacular.
Changing at Inverness I met another JOGLE''R. Brian was his name and he was going for 11 days and staying Hostels.
Toward the end of my ride I received an email from him to say he'd done it, on time and at 60 - good effort!
We travelled together up to Thurso, a nice scenic trip and part followed the roads I would be cycling down in a few days time. Luckily the roads it followed were not the hardest, so this made me a little more confident.
One thing about the Inverness to Thurso train, book your Bicycles, I heard horror stories of Cyclists not being allowed on the service because the 4 Cycle capacity has been reached.
From Thurso we went our separate ways and I cycled the few miles along to Castletown where I'd booked into a Hotel (I decided the night of the eve of the ride and the night before the last day I would splash out a bit more).
Castletown itself is quite barren and at first can look a bit uninteresting, but about a five minute walk leads you to the Beach where there are stunning views accross the bay to Dunnet Head, the northernmost 'bit' of mainland Britain. I liked it so much that I went there twice that evening and once the following morning, so should you cycle through Castletown, turn left at the Castletown Hotel and it's 300 meters or so along there.
So that was that, the journey to the start was almost complete. A good evening meal and a short look at the Television set me off for a good nights sleep with thoughts firmly on seeing that Signpost!