With thanks to my late aunt, Jean Abdee, whose legacy has helped make this possible.

Land's End to John O'Groats / End to End

So, the really big challenge - cycling from the very bottom of the country to the very top.  Walkers tend to refer to it as LeJog (or JogLe (pronounced 'joggle'), depending where they start); cyclists tend to call it the 'End to End'.  As to 'why' (do it), the old reason 'because it's there' is extremely worn, but it's true that there is something peculiarly satisfying about starting an expedition at one edge of any given bit of land, and finishing at the other end, stopping only because you can't physically go any further.  I've walked the coast-to-coast route (across England) and the Offa's Dyke (from the Bristol Channel to Prestatyn along the English/Welsh border) and both those walks truly felt complete at the end, as opposed to the Pennine Way, which just - stops.  Walking down the 'backbone of Britain' is still a huge achievement, but it could have finished just about anywhere (we walked from north to south).  When you hit a beach and are faced by the sea, when you paddle into the sea as far as you can, you really know you've finished.

Now pedants will of course note that John O'Groats is not the most northerly point in the UK - Dunnet Head is.  But I'd also like to visit Cape Wrath - it would be a shame to go that far and not see it.  Cape Wrath is the most northwesterly point in the British mainland.  Incidently Wrath doesn't describe the weather conditions up there, but is from the Norse 'hvarf' meaning 'turning point' - the point at which the Vikings turned their ships for home.

An interesting note about John O'Groats from 'Scotland: The National Cycle Network' by Hearry Henniker:

"Jan de Groot was a Dutchman who James IV employed to start a ferry to the recently acquired Orkney Islands.  He is said to have built an octagonal house [still there - now a gift shop] to solve squabbles in the family about precedence, and the hotel [now closed and sadly derelict] has an octagonal tower in his memory."

So the plan at the moment is to go up the west coast of Scotland from Ullapool and dog-leg to the right across the northern coast road, taking in Dunnet Head on the way.  OK, it isn't exactly on the way as such but with good planning there may be time for a detour and also for an extra couple of miles at the end.  John O'Groats is the target, but the most northeasterly point is Duncansby Head - another two miles up the road and a spectacularly wild and lovely place with hundreds of seabirds nesting on the cliffs and grey seals basking on the rocks along the shore.  What a hardship to have to go and see that again :-)  So if all goes to plan, I'll get the most northwestern, northern and northeastern points of mainland UK bagged, as well as Land's End and John O'Groats which aren't actually 'the most...' anything but they do have the official photographers with their signposts.

Unfortunately I only have three weeks to do all this in, which has to include travelling time to and from the start and finish, and given that the fastest route is just under 1,000 miles, there may not be much time for sightseeing off-route.  Factor in, too, that I'm probably not going to use the fastest routes, avoiding 'A' roads where possible and sticking to quieter, more scenic back roads.  After all, it's a holiday and I don't call inhaling three weeks' worth of exhaust fumes from stop-go traffic a holiday!