Josh Wood’s Epic Journey: John o’Groats to Landsend

IN

Josh Wood was one of our youngest recruits when he joined the business at the age of 18. Fresh from high school, he worked in the warehouse for a number of years before deciding to take off to Stirling to study at university. His sporting achievements at home and away, are well documented – particularly when it comes to running marathons.

Despite being an Islay Marathon winner, his cycling exploits were few and far between until last year, when he decided to set himself an epic task. In order to raise money for The Brain Tumour Charity, Josh has set off on a journey from John o’Groats to Landsend. You can read more about his motivations to do so on his Just Giving page.

In support of Josh’s epic JOGLE journey, we’re following his progress with daily updates and a few photos wherever possible over on Twitter, search @bruichladdich and #joshsjogle

Day One – Monday 10th June

Accompanied by mother Rosemary and father Neil in a rented motorhome, Josh began his journey on the 10th of July.

15.28: “We’re driving up to John o’Groats just now, just passed Dalwhinnie. I’m planning to do about 50 miles along the north coast to Bettyhill tonight once we get there, but that might be cut short if we arrive too late. Tomorrow, it’ll be all the way down to Dingwall.”

23.23: “Just found somewhere to stop for the night. We arrived at John o’Groats later than expected and set off at about 20.45, hoping to stop just after Thurso. Laybys big enough to fit a camper are surprisingly rare up here so ended up doing 32 miles before we found one. We’re currently outside a place called Reay at the moment.”

He jokes he might have to end his 22 year streak of not drinking coffee the next morning.

Day Two – Tuesday 11th June

07.28: “I woke up at half six, planning on an early start, but there were hailstones and about 40mph winds so I decided *insert swearword here* that and went back to bed. Just sitting down to some Weetabix now (other cereals are available). The weathers dried a bit but it’s still hell of a windy. It’ll be in my favour after 20 miles though. I’ve got just over 100 miles to cover to get to Dingwall.”

18.26: “We’re arrived safe and sound in Dingwall, only 104 miles and 4500 ft of climbing to do tomorrow”. Josh’s south on the 12th will take him from Dingwall to Blair Atholl, taking his journey to around halfway down Scotland. In three days now less, that’s no mean feat.

22.05: “Just back from a bar meal with Michael ‘Fish’ (surname actually Barford but everyone on Islay has a nickname, and ‘Fish’ used to work in our warehouses alongside Josh, before he sold out and moved up north). I’ve been helping him set up his tent, which looks like he nicked it out a skip! He’s doing thew whole 110 miles with my tomorrow… Oh and we met some old boy in the pub. He did Landsends to JoG many years ago in a 135 tractor, for charity. Dad was loving it… we spoke to him for about 15 minutes about tractor engines and such… not my particular area of expertise. He kindly gave us £10 when he left.”

Day Three – Wednesday 12th June

11.37: “38 miles in, we just cycled over Glen Kyllachy, I should have inspected my route better. It was a mountain pass *insert more sweary words*! Climbed to 475m! Stopped at a burfer can and getting warmed up in the camper. Weather has been atrocious with strong wind and rain. Scottish summer definitely not disappointing… Fish is feeling it in the legs.”

20.17: “We’ve made it safe and sound to Blair Atholl. A long very hard day, both physically and mentally. Relentless climbs after Inverness. Light drizzle all morning but wasn’t too bad, and the wind was with us most the way. We had our last food stop at Dalwhinnie about 25 miles of Blair Atholl. Last 20 were some of the hardest I’ve ever done, climbed all Drumochter summit on the cycle path next to the A9 which was ruined due to frost damage from being so high up. Meant we had to crawl along at a snails pace. Wouldn’t have been an issue but by this time it was absolutely pouring down and was VERY windy, must have been close to freezing, never ever been so cold in the middle of June. Again we were fortunate the wind was mostly behind us, had a slight crosswind as we got lower and headed East. At one point the path made a sharp right and I was nearly blown of my bike. Best hot shower of my life at the campsite.

“110 miles, 5000ft of climbing and nearly 8 hours in the saddle. My legs are a wee bit tender, have had them sober before though so still positive. Shorter day to Stirling tomorrow, 68 miles and I’m staying in my own place so should lift my spirits. Michael was absolutely done, he’s going to struggle with stairs. He didn’t even stop for photos.”

Day Four – Thursday 13th June

16.34: “Got home just after 2pm, 68 miles, 2500ft of climbing and 4.5 hours in the saddle. A much easier day with not even a drop of rain. The gentle slopes of Perthshire were a lot more forgiving than the Highlands.”

Day Five – Friday 14th June

22.23: Day 5 done. We did Stirling to Carlisle. 119 miles, 3800ft and 8hrs 20 in the saddle. It was a long grueling morning and early afternoon but an enjoyable evening as the wind died down and the sun came out. Sights of the day included: big green fields, wind turbines, a Marshall construction warehouse complex in Falkirk (got lost), North Lanarkshire county lanes (which appears to be the fly tipping capital of Scotland) and an encampment with guard dogs.

Day Six – Saturday 15th June

Josh has a moment’s silence… maybe he has a day off, or maybe he’s just forgiving for those on the updates that it’s the weekend.

Day Seven- Sunday 16th June

13.56: “56 miles in out of 118 for today, stopped in a town called Sandiway in Cheshire and we’re missing the Scottish hospitality a bit. There are plenty signs to stop trespassers and it just gives a different feel to the place.”

More to come as we track him on his epic journey…

If you’d like to support Josh on his charity bike ride, you can donate via his Just Giving page. He is incredibly grateful for all the support received by the local community and beyond thus far.

 

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