The morning after Lands End to John O Groats

Missing John O Groats Sign Missing John O Groats Sign
Caithness Stones near John O Groats Caithness Stones near John O Groats
John O Groats Campsite John O Groats Campsite
Family completes Lands End John O Groats Cycle Challenge Family completes Lands End John O Groats Cycle Challenge
Family Cycles Lands End John O Groats Family Cycles Lands End John O Groats

IMG 6683 The morning after Lands End to John O Groats

Family joy as we completes our Lands End John O Groats cycle challenge

The morning after

Kirstie Profile Small The morning after Lands End to John O GroatsI awake with a headache, perhaps like a hangover at the end of a party. The tent is a peculiar shape, the wind pushing the guy ropes to their limits. I put on layer upon layer before even venturing to the toilet. The wind blows me back, but I walk on, out to strange collection of buildings that form this tiny but famous place.

IMG 6700 The morning after Lands End to John O Groats

Tent in strong winds

Clashing and colliding

The gothic hotel that has been closed for ten years is backed by a dark squally sea. The two oceans meeting, clashing and retreating, like the Scots and the English over the years. The sign is still missing; the photographer yet to arrive, but cyclists are already rolling in, and the first coach of the day has disgorged its passengers. The burger van is frying bacon, it’s carried on the wind and I long for hot coffee as I stand on the deserted cliff and breath deeply as the wind pushes my hair into my face.

IMG 6659 2 The morning after Lands End to John O Groats

Caithness Stones near John O Groats

Happy on the wind

As we dismantle the tent Hannah is almost blown away, Stuart practises being a human windsock, scarf on head, and Cameron chases a flyaway plastic bag along the clifftop. We have camped at what seems like the very end of the world to mark the end of our journey and the end of the summer. It ‘s the first day of September yet winter has come early to John O Groats.

IMG 6703 2 The morning after Lands End to John O Groats

John O Groats Campsite

We’ve been expecting you

“I heard you were coming on the grapevine,” says the photographer. “Sorry I wasn’t here last night. Trade was bad yesterday and the boss told me to pack up early.”

“Well if you can get the kids to smile, then you’re doing better than the guy at the other end,” I tell him, thinking back to the identical picture, seven weeks ago at Lands End.

IMG 6669 The morning after Lands End to John O Groats

The kids are ready for the photo, we just need the sign

Smile please

We had agreed to be photographed by the Sunday Express for a feature on adventurous families, and by the time the anxious photographer had finished his shoot, the kids were both whingeing and refusing to smile, and the official photographer was getting annoyed with the paparazzi clogging up his pitch.

But this time everyone grins; it is the end of the ‘end to end.’ We are all groated out and hungry for home, but not too tired to smile and shout ‘cheese.’ Back at that Lands End sign, what seemed like so long ago, I inwardly resolved to give this journey my best shot. And here we are.

LEJOGPOSTER2 The morning after Lands End to John O Groats

Success. Family cycles Lands End to John O Groats

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Kirstie is the Editor of The Family Adventure Project. A professional writer, she's the creative and journalistic force behind many of the stories and features published here. She's a co-founder and co-director of the project, the misadventure magnet part of the partnership and a busy mum.

2 Responses to “The morning after Lands End to John O Groats” Subscribe

  1. Jonny Blair November 14, 2013 at 6:50 am #

    Amazing journey this John O’Groats – Lands End one. I plan to do it on foot and using public transport someday. Also be cool to do one in Ireland from the north tip to the south tip. Safe travels, Jonny

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