Finalising the Route – The End is Nigh

Day Eight of our LEJOG ride begins our progression through Scotland. We start at Kirkpatrick Cycles in Dumfries at 8:30 in order to reach the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome in Glasgow at 4pm.

The 73.7 mile route has a gentle upwards direction to about halfway, when we start to ease downhill into Glasgow. We should have plenty of time to enjoy the scenery and to, hopefully, miss the worst of the Friday afternoon traffic in Glasgow itself. As a big fan of Sir Chris Hoy, ever since she watched him win three gold medals at the Beijing Olympics, Boo is especially excited at visiting the velodrome named after him.

Day Eight Elevation

We have made some alterations to our original route from Glasgow onwards because we had hoped to ride the Glasgow Velodrome track at their Saturday morning family session. Unfortunately for us, the weekend of Mark’s birthday (the track time was going to be his birthday gift from Boo) is also the weekend of a world record attempt on the track, so there will be no family sessions. Clearly we’ll just have to plan another trip to Scotland, perhaps without Double Trouble, to experience the track, and the Edinburgh climbing wall.

We decided to stick to the new route for our final days as we think it leaves us a little more room for tired limbs, and geocaching and exploring a part of the country that none of us have visited before.

Therefore Day Nine now takes us from Glasgow to Crainlarich. This 53.55 mile route is one of our shortest days; probably only about four and a half hours in the saddle. This hopefully means we can visit Boo’s godmother before leaving the Sir Chris Hoy Velodrome at 10am to enjoy a gentle ride along the shore of Loch Lomond through the Tossachs National Park, and a spot of geocaching.

Day Nine Elevation

It is only when we leave the shores of Loch Lomond that our route really starts to climb, with a 200 metre vertical ascent to take us to the Crainlarich Youth Hostel at 4pm. We’re hoping this comparatively gentle day’s ride will encourage some of our cycling friends in Scotland to join us for a Saturday on their bikes.

Sunday 8th June, Day Ten, is why we started planning our LEJOG adventure in the first place. It is Mark’s 40th birthday (so I think I might manage to bring a birthday cake for him from Glasgow; and maybe a few candles).

40th-birthday-flag-5065-p

He has planned an interesting 75.34 mile route  for his birthday, starting at 8:30am in Crainlarich to reach Invergarry at 4:15 in time for that birthday cake.

Day 10 Elevation

It starts out with about half a mile of vertical ascent over a series of hills and then rolls along Loch Linnhe to Fort William, and finally along Loch Lochy to the Invergarry Lodge. They are looking at just over 6 hours in the saddle and a further hour and a half for lunch and geocaching (there are a lot of caches in Fort William itself as well as a few along the route)

Monday morning at 9am we leave the Invergarry Lodge for Day Eleven of our ride. The route to Bonar Bridge takes us alongside Loch Ness so, in addition to looking for geocaches and local wildlife, Boo will be hunting for Nessie as we pedal past.

Day 11 Elevation

As you can see from the route elevation above, most of the day is fairly flat but there are two 300 metre vertical ascents in the middle and end of the route. We estimate that sight seeing, food breaks, geocaching, and those two climbs will add to the six hours in the saddle so that we arrive at Bonar Bridge at 4:30pm. We have a 30 minute journey to our evening’s accommodation but it will be worth it, especially for Boo, as we will be staying in an refurbished railway carriage.

Day Twelve is a mere 47.78 mile route from Bonar Bridge to Tongue. We plan to leave Bonar Bridge at 9:30am and estimate that we will have four hours in the saddle to reach Tongue at 2pm. This shorter day takes us through Lairg and alongside Loch Loyal with time to enjoy the Sutherland scenery.

Day 12 Elevation

A shorter day also gives us time to explore the coastline at Tongue which Boo is looking forward to as we have read about dolphin and otter sightings in the area. She has high hopes of spotting a golden eagle in the wild having met one of these magnificent birds at a falconry session last year.

We have almost completed our plans for our final day in the saddle, including deciding where to spend the night en route home. Boo is keen for us to make Dundee our last overnight stay, and it would give us the opportunity to visit Mark’s office and thank them for their support. We’ll let you know as soon as we have finalised our arrangements.

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