Find your ideal cycling holiday
Land's End to John O'Groats
30th August 2019 - 18th September 2019 (20 days)
The route used makes good use of quiet and scenic roads wherever possible and the tour is aimed at the fitter cycle-tourist or Audax rider who can cope with the many hills in Cornwall, Devon and the Peak District. Having said that, this tough ride has been completed by riders in their Seventies - their method being to start a bit early, maintain a steady speed and keep the stops to a minimum. The tour is not suitable for the inexperienced and we will be asking that tour members have recently completed at least 80 miles in a day. The hire of a Garmin GPS is included in the tour cost.
The route uses mostly rural roads and offers plenty of beautiful scenery. The first four days can be tough, but things do get easier, with a rest day before the final Scottish hills. Succeed in this challenge and you will have some wonderful memories to treasure. This holiday is also available on 31 May 2019 - find out more.
- Holiday Type Guided
- Tour Manager Chris Ellison
- Grade Challenging
- Booking Status Places Available
- Accommodation Hotel
- Board Basis Half Board
- Travel Arrangements Land Only
- Road / Off Road Road
- Holiday Style Moving-on
- Vehicle Support Full Vehicle Support
- Holiday Ref 03275
Friday 30th August
Bag pick up at Penzance station 1230 to 1600. Cycle to Redruth for dinner at 1930. Stay 2 nights.
Saturday 31st August
Cycle to Land's End and back to Redruth by optional long or direct route.
Sunday 1st September
Cycle to Lostwithiel, through Cornwall’s remote rolling landscape. Stay 1 night.
Monday 2nd September
Cycle over eerie Dartmoor to Exeter. Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 3rd September
Cycle via the Somerset Levels to Weston-super-Mare. Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 4th September
Cycle over the Avon and Severn bridge cycle paths and through Welsh border country to Hereford. Stay 1 night (no evening meal provided).
Thursday 5th September
Cycle through ancient Ludlow and Corve Dale to Shifnall, near Telford. Stay 1 night.
Friday 6th September
Cycle via the Manifold Valley to Bakewell in Derbyshire’s Peak District. Stay 1 night.
Saturday 7th September
Cycle through the lovely Peak District to Outlane, near Huddersfield. Stay 1 night.
Sunday 8th September
Cycle the Pennine moorland to Haworth (Bronte country), Skipton and into the Yorkshire Dales to Hawes. Stay 1 night.
Monday 9th September
Cycle the beautiful Eden Valley to Carlisle. Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 10th September
Cycle into Scotland via Gretna Green to Abington via Wanlockhead. Stay 1 night (no evening meal provided).
Wednesday 11th September
Cycle through the Scottish Lowlands to Stirling. Stay 2 nights.
Thursday 12th September
Rest day, with the opportunity to visit Stirling Castle.
Friday 13th September
Cycle via Crieff and Glen Cochill to Pitlochry. Stay 1 night.
Saturday 14th September
Cycle via the Sustrans cycle route up the spectacular Glen Garry and the Pass of Drumochter to Nethybridge. Stay 1 night.
Sunday 15th September
Cycle via Inverness and the Black Isle to Tain. Stay 1 night.
Monday 16th September
Cycle via enchanting Strath Tirry and Strath Vagastie to Bettyhill. Stay 1 night.
Tuesday 17th September
Cycle the northern coast of Scotland to John O’Groats. Stay 1 night.
Wednesday 18th September
Bus to Inverness, arriving 1215.
Daily cycling distances will be between 50 and 83 miles; average 63 miles.
Accommodation & Meals
This will be mostly in 3-star hotels, apart for two nights rated 4-star and two nights which have been given 2-stars. Most rooms will be ensuite, but this cannot be guaranteed at two hotels. Half board is included except for two nights (4 and 10 Sept) where no evening meal is included. Vegetarians should indicate their preferences on the booking form but may have very limited choice in some places.
A back-up van will carry your luggage and will give support to the group during the day.
Obtaining travel insurance is optional for UK residents as your CTC membership provides third party cover. However, this does not cover any other risks such as cancellation charges, personal injury or lost property. We therefore strongly recommend that suitable insurance is taken out to safeguard against such risks. Members who do not reside in the UK are not covered for third party and are advised to obtain suitable cover before leaving their normal residence. If you already have an annual policy, you may need to confirm that it will cover a UK holiday or make provision for it to do so.
The price of £2,195 is based on a minimum number of 10 people taking part in the holiday. If there are insufficient bookings by 21st June 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid.
- Transfer by bus from John O'Groats to Inverness
- Back-up vehicle to carry luggage / people where necessary
- 17 nights hotel, sharing room, half-board
- 2 nights hotel, sharing room, bed & breakfaast
- Hire of a Garmin GPS and bike mount
- CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs
Price Does Not Include
- Travel to Land's End and from Inverness
- Drinks with evening meals
- Lunches or refreshments during the day
- Entry fees at any attractions
- Any other personal expenses
- Travel Insurance
- Single room supplement (£490, subject to availability)
A deposit of £395 per person is payable upon booking, with an Interim Payment of £900 per person due by 4th May 2019. The final balance of £900 per person is to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 21st June 2019.
Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:
Written notice received:
Before 4th May 2019
4th May 2019 to 20th June 2019
21st June 2019 through to departure
The Area Covered By The Holiday
The UK mainland contains an amazing variety of scenery in a relatively small area and a useful network of country lanes and minor roads. To help us on this 1000+ mile ride the prevailing wind is from the southwest and the weather is usually reasonable at this time of year.
In the first section you will experience the remote hills and moorlands of Cornwall with their stone-age monuments and the flat marshlands of the Somerset levels before crossing the high-tech Avon and Severn bridge cycle paths into the Welsh border country and Hereford.
From here we cycle north through Ludlow and Corve Dale towards Telford before turning northeast and cycling through the Manifold Valley into the Derbyshire Peak District. Heading more or less north and staying on the high ground of Pennines, we cross Monsal Head and the Strines and cycle through moorland to Haworth (Bronte country) and into the Yorkshire Dales before emerging in the Eden Valley and stopping at Carlisle.
You cycle into Scotland via Gretna Green to Wanlockhead, the highest village in Scotland, before cycling through the Scottish lowlands to Stirling where we enjoy a rest day. From here we ride via Glen Cochill to Pitlochry, then, using the Sustrans route, up Glen Garry and the Pass of Drumochter to Nethybridge.
Continue via Inverness and the Black Isle to Tain, from where the route goes via Strath Tirry and Strath Vagastie to Tongue and Bettyhill. Then there is a final push along the northern coast to John O’Groats.
Rides & Rest Days
Most of each day will be spent cycling. We expect people will ride in loose groups, around 12-14 mph on the flat, slower up hills, usually meeting up at road junctions and cafes for lunch and refreshment breaks.
The Tour Manager normally ‘leads’ from behind, driving the support vehicle, which will set off after you have set out and repeatedly leapfrog you during the day. There might also be a deputy leader riding but please do not expect to be constantly accompanied. In practise we should always be fairly close if you need us, and you should see or meet us several times during the day.
Inevitably, many parts of this route are very hilly, so you do need to be fit to get the most out of this tour, and it is essential to get out on your bike and build up to 70 or 80 mile hilly rides before the tour starts. 100km or 200km Audax rides are good training for this sort of tour. See http://www.aukweb.net for details.
Please note: it may not always be possible to follow the itinerary exactly; things do not always go as planned. In these circumstances, we will make alternative arrangements.
Accommodation & Meals
Accommodation will range from 2 to 4-star hotels. Meals, where provided, tend to be wholesome and filling.
We recommend that you travel to Penzance by rail or car; nearly all trains carry cycles, but they can be overcrowded. We can provide advice about booking. One-way hire cars can be cheaper and more convenient, with a drop off point for the major hire firms in the station car park. The van will be at Penzance Train Station from about 1230 to 1600 to transport any luggage.
At John O’Groats we have arranged a bus for 0830 on the final morning, returning you and your bikes to Inverness by about 1200. It is possible to have your bike shipped home from John O'Groats, and we can provide advice about this.
The maximum number of participants will be 20 excluding the Tour Manager(s).
Weather & Clothing
As you may know, British weather can be very variable, so there is a possibility of both heat waves and cold, wet weather on a tour like this. Lightweight clothing, suitable for a range of temperatures, is needed and possibly smarter clothing for the more up-market hotels (though they seem to be very relaxed about what people wear). Lightweight waterproofs/windproofs may be useful and also warmer clothing for the evenings. Hopefully sun cream will also be useful.
Cycles & Equipment
A lightweight road bike or touring cycle with low gears (eg a small chainring the same size or smaller than the largest cog on your rear wheel) is recommended. On a ride of this length a weight saving of even a couple of pounds (a kilogram) can make a big difference. Your bike must be in good working order, especially the brakes; spare brake pads must be carried. Lights and mudguards are optional. You should have ridden your cycle before the tour to ensure you are happy with its handling. You are expected to carry tools and spares to deal with punctures and minor repairs, including two new inner tubes. There are local bike shops on or near the route, but they might not be available when you want them.
Maps & Guides
The hire of a Garmin GPS and bike mount is included in the tour cost, as it makes navigation much easier. You will need space on your handlebars for the Garmin. If you wish to bring your own maps some tour members have found that ripping pages from an atlas as needed is the cheapest option. Please contact the Tour Manager for more details.
Travel Insurance & Advice
Although medical care and repatriations aren’t really big issues for a UK tour, cancellation can be, so please take note of what is said about insurance in the Holiday Summary. If you should have to cancel due to illness or an accident, the cancellation schedule shows what you will stand to lose at each point in time. Travel insurance, taken out at the time of booking, would normally cover this.