Sunday, 20 June 2010

South Down the East Coast

Hi all

Roughly 2 weeks left on the trip and I'm a bit ahead of schedule. Its nice really because I can now start to do some shorter days for my transition back into normal life...and work!

The Spurn Lightship in Hull


Harwich Lights

3 weeks ago I was in Inverness and I cant believe how quick the run down this side of Britain has been. I've been averaging around 75-80 miles a day over the last couple of weeks, mainly due to the flat terrain and fairly strong northerly winds. The east coast has been very different riding conditions compared to the west with lots of industry and busy coastal cities. I also seemed to be ending up on the wrong side of town quite a bit, riding through some 'choice' housing estates and generally run down areas.

Felixstowe crossing on the ferry


I met and cycled with a couple of great guys heading south, Paul, from south of Atwich, who was just going to do a quick 10 miles with me... that soon turned into a 60 mile round trip down to Spurn Point and Mike was the other guy I cycled with down to the Thames. Mike had just finished a round Britain cycle himself completing over 3200 miles in just over 5 weeks, which was incredible!

Scurdie Ness Lighthouse

Cycling with lots of friends over the next couple of weeks including Rob Brooks, Lofty, Jess Ford, a group of teachers from St Giles College in Brighton (where I used to work), Noel from Dartmouth and hopefully a big group of mates from Devon for the last day (4th July) I'll post details of the last days ride soon.

cheers simon

Saturday, 5 June 2010

The Top of Scotland

The sign before the hill to the Mull of Kintyre The legend that is Damo...doing the CTC challenge

Beautiful still harbour of Ullapool

Rupert and me after a long days riding

Been a few weeks again since i've blogged but just reached Edinburgh and have internet access again...hooray (though not much)! First of all I'd like to say a massive thankyou to Helpful Holidays in Devon for their fantastic £1000 donation to Ovacome. A donation like that really helps to boost my enthusiasm for the ride and makes it all seem worth while :0)

So for the last 2 weeks ive been cycling north from Ullapool on the North west coast, around Stoer Head and up to Cape Wrath, the latter of which is apparently the most isolated part of Britain. From here I cycled east along the North coast with pretty much fine weather the whole way. I signed the book at John O'Groats and had a couple of photos and then started the journey south through the historic town of Wick and many others to Inverness. Had a couple of days off with Elsie in Inverness which was fab!!

For the last 5 days ive been cycling east then south, out to fraserburgh, peterhead, Aberdeen, Dundee, St Andrews and into Edinburgh. Beautiful riding, sunny, flat with occasional headwind. Got some great shots of the lighthouses that ill publish online asap.

Cant believe I've nearly run out of credit on this BT openzone already! Ive been busy downloading podcasts to listen to on the long flat roads of the east coast that lay ahead

Ill update again soon.cheers

Saturday, 15 May 2010

Back on the Scottish Mainland

Hi. Been a busy couple of weeks cycling up through the western islands of Scotland and today we finally made it back across the Skye Bridge onto the mainland. I had my brother up here for a few days and he did a days cycling with me down to the Mull of Kintyre Lighthouse. Like a lot of the islands here the hills were brutal and the climb back up the switchbacks was pretty full on. We've seen plenty of wildlife here - lots of deer, seals, a red squirrel and a golden eagle.

Rupe has been riding with me for the last 6 days and weve clocked up around 300 miles I guess. We visited the most westerly point (Ardnamurchan Lighthouse), Oban, Isle of Mull, Isle of Skye and Neist Point Lighthouse. Hes going home tomorrow (or back to Glasgow) so I'll be heading north alone again for a bit. I'm planning on getting up to John O'Groats in about a week or so's time, then head back down towards Inverness for the weekend permitting.
The scenery has been the most spectacular of the trip so far and the weather has been the most changeable.
I'm not going to try and put any pics up at the moment as this connection is awful. I don't seem to get much chance to update my blog that often but I will, however, keep my limited daily tweeting going.
That's all for now. cheerio

Monday, 3 May 2010

Managed to find a great little cafe in Ayr that has WiFi so heres a some pics from the last few weeks... On to the islands tomorrow!
Mountain road in the Isle of Man

Capoeira in Liverpool city centre. These guys were amazing
Long Pier around Morecambe area

Checking out the route to come through Scotland at the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse

At lot of the locals have been watching me pass with interest!

Lance Armstrong?...oh no, it's dad!

Friday, 30 April 2010


I'm 4 days into Scotland now and currently at Portpatrick on the Rhins Peninsula. I visited the first major lighthouse on this side of the coast yesterday at the Mull of Galloway, an amazing and isolated spot. Scotland has been great so far although most of the roads I have had to take have been really busy lorry routes. On Tuesday we stayed in Auchencairn at Jim Holland's fantastic Holiday cottage (dads blog for details), beautiful spacious place in a really quiet area. We had a nice meal and I did a talk at the Kirkcudbright rotary club that evening which went down well and raised some more money.
Point of Ayre LH

Day off today, so planning the route into the western islands for the next 2 weeks. My brother is coming up for a couple of days next week and rupe arrives on Saturday.
Largest water wheel in the world at Laxey IOM

Friday, 16 April 2010

Almost 2 weeks since I've blogged, mainly to do with internet connection problems, relaxing in a hotel and cycling on the Isle of Man.
Had a fab few days in Liverpool with Elsie and also hooked up with Harriett and Dean (sis and B-I-L). Got to do lots of tourist things, shopping, museums etc.
Had some interesting riding around Birkenhead and Liverpool, very busy, sometimes dodgy and stacks of oil refineries to navigate around. Great place though!

Hoylake LH, Wirral
Beautiful sunset over the Dee Estuary, Wirral
The Isle of Man was stunning and well worth a visit. Very mountainous and amazing Viking History. I didn't realise that there is no speed limit on the island. I got to cycle around the whole of the Island (approx 100 miles) and see all of the mainland Lighthouses. I also rode on some of the famous TT track and did a couple of radio and internet interviews for Manx Radio and the BBC.
The last 2 days have been pretty flat out heading up the coast from Liverpool to Isle of Walney (approx 150 miles) and I'm hoping to be in Scotland within 3-4 days. Weather has been perfect for cycling :0)
At the mo pics are taking up to an hour to upload each so ill stick some decent recent ones up soon when I get a better connection.
Quick but massive thanks to Keith at Eureka Cycles (outside Chester) for sorting the bike, Penny from Port St Mary for putting me up, Heather from Heathers B&B in Ramsey for recommending a good curry house, Mohammad from Ramsey curry house and Ian at Ancient World Chester.

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Loved North Wales...nice to be back in England

The Incredible South Stack Lighthouse, Holy Island

Monday today and had the day off doing a bit of fixing, planning and looking around Chester.

My plans have changed a little for the next few days due to a few reasons. I'll now be going to the Isle of Man a week today (19th) and spending this week in and around The Wirral, Chester and Liverpool, visiting the 7 or so lighthouses in the area, getting my bike serviced tomorrow and catching up with family and friends. So Im going to be a little lighter on the miles this week. I've ordered a new map and book from the Scottish Lighthouse Museum which will hopefully get to me in the next couple of days so I can get planning the route to the far North this week. Once I get back from the IOM I'm going to have to put in some longer days to get up to the Glasgow area by the 8th May to meet up with Rupe WS for 10 days of island hopping up the west coast!

Point of Ayr, North Wales

I met a nice couple on Saturday kitted up on their new bikes (Thorn?) test riding them for a couple of weeks before they embark on their 2 year cycle around the world! Ant and Kate are leaving in mid July and heading South East to follow the Danube down through Europe...and beyond. Good luck guys!

My legs are still doing well and I feel good in general but I do feel in need of a good strong sports massage and a long soak in a bath, maybe in Liverpool... up to almost 1200 miles now.

Finally, this is something I've seen too many times this week and I'm sure I'm going to see it again a few times before we finish
See ya.

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Anglesey and Holy Island

I've spent the last 2 days spinning around Anglesey and Holy Island in the glorious sunshine, still been quite tiring days though- Approx 130 miles and 6 lighthouses. Cycled along the longest breakwater in the UK at Holyhead...very impressive bit of engineering at almost 2 miles long!

Also visited Llanddwyn Island on the southern tip of Anglesey, which was one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen, incredible beachs with mountainous backdrops, ancient ruins and a couple of lighthouses.

Off to the Isle of Man in a few days so just trying to sort tickets, routes, places to stay, etc. Before that I've got the rest of North Wales and The Wirral.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Happy Easter! Day off today in Aberystwyth and the sun is out, although its still cold. Its great seeing the white snow caps to the North in Snowdonia. I'll be heading up there tomorrow.

The guys from Intus/OvPlex ( sent me a message a couple of days ago to let me know that the cyclethelights website has been selected to be 'cool site of the day' today, which is fantastic! Hi to everyone arriving here through that site :0) (

Also, I'm on the radio again tonight - BBC Devon, The John Govier Show on his Meeta Tweeter section, just for a bit of a progress report.
So far we've managed to raise nearly £4000 (including cheques to clear) and I've cycled 855.6 miles in the last 3 weeks.
Off now for some yoga to stretch out my aching limbs!

few more pics

Fishguard Harbour, Lower Town Harbour, South West Wales

Very cold, wet day at Burry Port Lighthouse, South Wales

Old tunnel linking the towns of Wiseman's Bridge and Saunderfoot via the coast path, South Wales

Looking South down Newgale Sands, South Wales

Thank you to the guys at New Image Bicycles in Cardigan (Tom and Elle) and also to Phil at Bike Style in Clevedon.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Just gone 8pm on Tuesday and recovering from yet another battering from the elements. Today really was hard work for me with strong, cold headwinds and the usual rain (sorry, keep banging on about the weather!)
We're going to start heading North tomorrow after a visit to St Anns Head Lighthouse on the Pembrokeshire Coast, hopefully stopping the night at St Davids in far West Wales. Yesterday I cycled across the Gower Peninsula to Whitford Point Lighthouse, a disused cast iron lighthouse thats in pretty bad shape. In 2000, it was put up for sale for £1 on the proviso that the new owner repaired's still available. Gower is a place that I'll return to when the sun shines.

Here's a pic of the hills I mentioned in my last blog. This is the hill down to the lighthouse at Lynmouth Foreland (I didn't actually cycle down that particular hill (that would be crazy) but one that cuts in behind it...that's even steeper ;0)

Another screenshot of the GPS, cycling from England into Wales.

Finally, a view from the Severn Bridge (old) looking across to the new bridge in the distance. Big storm front coming in.
Thats it for now, cheerio

Saturday, 27 March 2010

South Wales

Had a lovely day off today in Cardiff (decided against Newport), great city and some beautiful architecture. Currently sat in the dry and warm and thinking about the weather forecast I've just read issued by the met-office...plenty more wind and rain and a chance of snow on Wednesday!..what the..? Anyway, Ive just been doing a bit of route planning and I'm going to try and get up to Aberystwyth by Good Friday and then have a day (or 2) off for Easter lazing on the beach with cocktails. There are 14 lighthouses to visit between here and there, some of them a bit tricky to get to. I'm cycling in snorkel and flippers tomorrow.
Bed now as we lose an hour tonight. Hopefully get some more pics posted if we have decent phone reception tomorrow night. cheerio

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Come on Sunshine!

This picture sums up that last few days. taken after long, wet days on the North Cornwall, North Devon coast, shortly after coming off and constantly getting sprayed and blown around by passing lorries and coaches.

So after the first few sunny days its been pretty much rubbish weather every day...but character building...apparently. Today I finished what I hope is the last of the major west country coastal hills. These included the infamous knee exploding hills around Lynmouth and Porlock. Despite the rain and terrain I'm still loving the ride.

Heres a picture of Hartland point Lighthouse, couldn't get too close as unfortunately the road is unsafe. There's been a lot of great surf up the north coast (when you can see it through the mist!)
The beautiful little harbour of Cadgwith, North East of Lizard Point.
The lighthouses I've managed to get to so far are as follows ~ Start Point, Smeatons Tower, St Anthony's, Lizard Point, Tater Du, Pendeen, Godrevy Island, Trevose, Hartland Point, Bull Point, Ilfracombe and Lynmouth Foreland. Also visited lots of other Harbour lights inbetween.
While in Lynmouth I came across a story I hadn't heard before about a huge flood in the town. Check out this link if you have time about cloud seeding...interesting!

Anyway, although its been a shorter day today I still feel tired and ready for bed (and its only 9pm)
Cheers for the coffee and bacon sandwich in the olde chapel Restaurant in Porlock today...Fab!
and hi to steve compton and family, sorry i missed you :)

Saturday, 20 March 2010

Saturday in Padstow

Saturday, first day off and really enjoying the rest day. it was dads 65th birthday yesterday so we met up with friends and family for dinner at the Cornish Arms just outside Padstow. Im going to leave on Monday morning and head up towards Hartland Point in North Devon (approx 60 miles) The hills and shocking weather over the last few days have been quite exhausting and im hoping its going to get a little better in the coming days/weeks. I cycled yesterday with a good friend of mine Mat W S from Padstow and im currently staying with his brother Rupe on Stepper Point.

Thanks to everyone who's following the trip on the spot tracker on the site, Ive had loads of emails, comments etc ...such an amazing bit of kit!

Finally big thank you to the owner of The Royal Dart Hotel in Kingswear who kindly donated the money we spent on wine/champagne on the eve of the trip to the charity... Best gormet burgers and ribs in the South West!

Here are a couple of pics from the last week ~

Whitsand Bay, Just over the border into Cornwall

Charlestown, South Coast of Cornwall ~ amazing tall ships!

Windy and wet Godrevy Island Lighthouse, North Cornwall Coast

I had to post the cover of this amazing Devon Cycling map I found dated 1911. I like the way it says 'Showing Danger Hills' at the top

cheers for now.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

First blog of the trip

Day 3 and the first blog...mainly due to lack of internet connection. First of all a massive thankyou to all involved in making the day such a success...especially Kate at Alfs restaurant. The weather was great and we had about 25 riders come down to start point. I did my first ever live radio interview and had a couple of newspapers there. Ive got limited internet access tonight so thought id quickly post a few pics ~

getting ready for 'take off'

Nick Baker, Kate from Alfs and me

crossing the river at salcombe (thank you to the ferryman for a free crossing!)

Early on day 2 (only yesterday...seems ages ago!) at Smeatons tower on Plymouth Hoe

The terrain has been incredible so I thought id post a screen shot from my GPS of todays ride.

Also a big thank you to Mike Davidsion for sorting out the spot tracker at the last minute. Ive already had loads of comments about how great it is.

And thank you to mr and mrs Curtis (no relation) who made a donation when I met them at St Anthonys Lighthouse today.

Spent the first 2 days cycling with Nick Baker the zoologist (from BBC, National Geographic etc.) which was great. had a good laugh, interesting chats and I learnt some naturey things. Thanks mate, look forward to our next leg of the journey

off to bed now, big day down to the lizard tomorrow.