LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
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JoeP89
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LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby JoeP89 » 20 Jul 2019, 12:26am

Hello folks, my name is Joe and I'll be conquering Lands end to John o Groats in September of this year.

I've chosen to take the scenic route following the complete Sutrans guide book from start to finish, circa 1200 miles.

I'm taking all of my annual leave in one go (the whole of September) and whilst I am quite the competitive chap, I've given myself enough time to get there without being under pressure.

I'm from the West Midlands myself (Staffordshire) and have visited 90% of the MTB trail centres in Scotland over the past 4 years, in fact 3 visits in 4 years although this one will make it a 4 out of 4. The 7 Stanes Glentrool Big County Route gave me the inspiration to do 'Lejog' and each time out of the 3 visits to the Glentrool 7 Stanes trail centre. I opted to take the extended Big Country Route out to a town called Gatehouse of Fleet, before circling back to Glentrool. This 95 mile cycle saw me pedaling through some fantastic scenery and extremely rural and isolated areas, I just knew that I would love cycling from one end of the country to the other.

I'm not keen on taking busy roads, hence why I've chosen the Sustrans NCN route and after looking through the book, it all seems pretty simple and straight forward to follow to me. My main question for those that have completed the NCN route from start to finish relatively recently following the Sustrans guide; Is did you find any problems with the route that I should know about before setting off? Just to make my life a little easier because nobody likes getting lost.

I'm doing this ride self supported and on my own and I'll be camping out in a tent all of the way to the top. My chosen steed is a Bergamont Horizon 6 and I've purchased various panniers and racks to carry all of my lightweight stuff. I'm yet to receive my order from Tredz but I am looking forward to getting the bike setup and loaded and to take it out on a maiden trial voyage.

I'm 30 years old, an off and on mountain biker, slightly over weight but I'm hoping that this ride is going to do me some good. I've been training for a month already and still have 6 weeks left till I leave. The train ticket to Penzance was purchased today and I'm in serious need of some 'me' time whilst not having to worry about the stress's of running a business for a month, hence the trip. My last holiday was in September 2018 which was a Scotland visit to something like 15 MTB trail centres. My favourite being AE, Glentress and Dalbeatie.

If you have any tips, helpful advice, or recommended things to buy to help me on the journey that I perhaps haven't thought about, then feel free to fire a response below!

I'm a car detailer/valeter and have a YouTube channel with nearly 40k subscribers and I'll be making a video covering the entire trip, so feel free to check the channel out, it's called JP Details.

I'll continue training and I look forward to reading your comments.

Kind regards, Joe.
Lejog September 2019. I can't wait.

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Paulatic
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby Paulatic » 20 Jul 2019, 8:40am

Good to read my local area has inspired you to make your current plans.
Following NCN be prepared for some challenging navigation and some route frustration. Stock up with food whenever you can as shops can get far apart when riding in quieter areas.
You’ll probably discover Scotland, no bias here :wink: , is the best part of the trip and I expect to see you back here next year asking for advice on a full September in Scotland 2020. :D
Enjoy your trip you’ll discover a lot.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

geocycle
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby geocycle » 20 Jul 2019, 9:02am

Great post, the enthusiasm shines through. I’ve not followed the whole of the NCN on a LEJOG or even JOGLE but have ridden most of the route in different parts. 90% will be fantastic rural lanes or rail trails with great views and wildlife, my kind of cycling. Id take a more pragmatic view in towns where NCN are often designed to help commuters avoid major roads and local knowledge is often important. Often passing through a town on an a road where the traffic is moving slowly and you get to see the high street is preferable to seeing the backside of an industrial estate.

charliepolecat
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby charliepolecat » 20 Jul 2019, 3:02pm

Just to make my life a little easier because nobody likes getting lost.


I am of the opinion that if one has a good sense of where you are - know where north is? - then getting lost is never a problem in fact at times can be quite rewarding. Are you any good at orienteering? If so, it can give you a great sense of comfort to know you can get yourself back to where you need to be.

Have a great trip. My Lejog starts in just over four weeks for 1,000 miles.

Ken.

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Paulatic
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby Paulatic » 20 Jul 2019, 3:36pm

charliepolecat wrote:
Just to make my life a little easier because nobody likes getting lost.


I am of the opinion that if one has a good sense of where you are - know where north is? - then getting lost is never a problem in fact at times can be quite rewarding. Are you any good at orienteering? If so, it can give you a great sense of comfort to know you can get yourself back to where you need to be.

Have a great trip. My Lejog starts in just over four weeks for 1,000 miles.

Ken.


I constantly view evidence on Strava tracks of people riding through my patch on an E2E not everyone has that sense.
Viewed a classic a few days ago of lady doing a 30-40 ml /day. LEJOG. She got to Carlisle and went via Longtown to arrive at Gretna. A common thing before the Mway opened. Getting to Gretna she turned left and headed back to Carlilse on the road she should have taken out of Carlisle. After 2 mls she stopped presumably to check her map, turned around and after 4 unnecessary miles got back on track.
Whatever I am, wherever I am, this is me. This is my life

https://stcleve.wordpress.com/category/lejog/

rareposter
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby rareposter » 20 Jul 2019, 5:35pm

Jus be prepared for the fact that NCN signage can be confusing and often extremely time-consuming - a lot of the city routes in particular have a habit of sending you via tortuously convoluted routes just to avoid one roundabout or 100m of road.

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robgul
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby robgul » 20 Jul 2019, 8:08pm

I am aware of at least 3 people who set out with the intention of using the Sustrans E2E route from LE.... they all gave up after only 3 or 4 days as the route was, as suggested, convoluted to put it politely and they lost so much time.

You have been warned!

Rob

charliepolecat
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby charliepolecat » 20 Jul 2019, 9:01pm

According to your East of England Cycling Club page, the temperature there now is 58F, is that right? That's bloody cold!

As of this moment, here at 3 in the afternoon it is 98F. I'd better bring some warm weather clothes for my ride in a months time.

Ken.

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RickH
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby RickH » 20 Jul 2019, 10:16pm

charliepolecat wrote:According to your East of England Cycling Club page, the temperature there now is 58F, is that right? That's bloody cold!

As of this moment, here at 3 in the afternoon it is 98F. I'd better bring some warm weather clothes for my ride in a months time.

Ken.

At your time of posting - just after 9pm UK time - that isn't an unreasonable, or uncommon, evening temperature.

whoof
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby whoof » 21 Jul 2019, 9:37am

How are you navigating?
I would not advise just following Sustrans signs.Most are fine, a few are; missing, faded, turned around or hidden in a hedge row. It only takes one missed sign to send you off in the wrong direction.
Map, compass and or GPS navigation may make the journey more enjoyable.

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JoeP89
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby JoeP89 » 21 Jul 2019, 12:32pm

Paulatic; Absolutely, it was 100% the Glentrool Big Country Route that' has given me the urge to do it. Challenging navigation and route frustration doesn't sound good but from what I've read on this forum, it does seem to be the going thing on the NCN. The bit I am looking forward to the most is heading through Scotland. I used to go on Holiday to places like Aviemore every single year as a kid.

geocycle; Sounds strange but I don't mind checking industrial estates out, although not too many of them. I rent a industrial unit myself so it's nice to compare, but I'll see about detouring off the NCN routes to see some of the towns a bit better. I've already been looking into what dangerous animals we have here in the UK and the worst seem to be cows and ticks. No bears or alligators!

charliepolecat; I've never done orienteering before and to be quite honest I don't think I have the patience for it. I'll be getting a map and a compass and will always have my mobile phone to hand just in case I need some live Google maps to assist. I'll be setting off 2 weeks after you are or there abouts, so I wish you all the best with your own adventure!

rareposter; I do get the feeling that there will be a certain amount of frustration involved with taking the scenic route, although hopefully with me not being in a rush, should ease the stress.

robgul; Not going to lie but I'm slightly concerned. I don't plan to take a garmin sat nav with an alternative route loaded, but perhaps I should begin thinking about a back up plan just in case I get sick and tired of the NCN. I definitely want to complete the end to end challenge!

whoof; At the moment I was thinking the Sustrans NCN book on its own. As long as I keep an eye on the book and the direction of where I should be heading, I'm thinking that I'll be okay and if I do go wrong then I should know how to find myself again pretty easily. I'll be getting a compass and a map for a back up but don't plan on any GPS unless I am really lost where I'll use my smart phone.

P.S Thank you for the comments so far people, I'm planning this trip on my own and you have all given me some good food for thought so far.
Lejog September 2019. I can't wait.

Jamesh
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby Jamesh » 21 Jul 2019, 4:46pm

Sounds fantastic.

If I were doing it again I would do in a month rather than a week and stop at every pub / cafe possible!

I really found the NCN network useful especially up towards loch Lomond.

Btw the route to the avonmouth bridge is closed at the moment if taking ncn26 - need to go via the housing estate to the east.

Enjoy take loads of pictures.

Cheers James

Ps make sure you shadow is on the left in morning and right in afternoon and you cant go far wrong!!

rareposter
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby rareposter » 21 Jul 2019, 9:50pm

Paulatic wrote:I constantly view evidence on Strava tracks of people riding through my patch on an E2E not everyone has that sense.
Viewed a classic a few days ago of lady doing a 30-40 ml /day. LEJOG. She got to Carlisle and went via Longtown to arrive at Gretna. A common thing before the Mway opened. Getting to Gretna she turned left and headed back to Carlilse on the road she should have taken out of Carlisle. After 2 mls she stopped presumably to check her map, turned around and after 4 unnecessary miles got back on track.


I think this is down to the prevalance of satnav these days. You know how you occasionally hear stories of drivers doing 3 laps of the M25 or up the M1 then all the way back down it, following random directions from a mis-programmed satnav without ever thinking "where's the sun, where are the landmarks, what towns should I be passing through, how long should my journey take?"

Same in Sportives - so many riders blindly following arrows without any idea of where they are, where they've been, possible escape routes etc.

In that respect, doing it off a book and NCN signage is probably easier to navigate than trying to cope with the foibles of cycle computer navigation (where a unit might spontaneously decide to re-route you if it thinks you're off course). And ultimately, it's not the back end of Siberia or Alaska, you're unlikely to be too far away from civilisation.

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JoeP89
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby JoeP89 » 22 Jul 2019, 10:18pm

Jamesh wrote:Sounds fantastic.

If I were doing it again I would do in a month rather than a week and stop at every pub / cafe possible!

I really found the NCN network useful especially up towards loch Lomond.

Btw the route to the avonmouth bridge is closed at the moment if taking ncn26 - need to go via the housing estate to the east.

Enjoy take loads of pictures.

Cheers James

Ps make sure you shadow is on the left in morning and right in afternoon and you cant go far wrong!!


Thank you for the notice about NCN26. I've got a month to play with an do plan to take a few rest days at some nice locations on my way to the top. I'll be taking a GoPro and making a YouTube video about my journey which should be good. Shadow on the left in the morning and on the right in the afternoon; thank you! I'm so glad I posted this thread because there's been some knowledge increasing replies!
Lejog September 2019. I can't wait.

charliepolecat
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Re: LeJog on the NCN | Leaving in September | Is there ANYTHING else that I should know?

Postby charliepolecat » 22 Jul 2019, 10:51pm

Same in Sportives - so many riders blindly following arrows without any idea of where they are, where they've been, possible escape routes etc.


I had to respond to this because yesterday there was a charity ride (sportive) around here and I was doing one of my Audax rides and came across some of the hundred or so riders in that ride and asked one of them who was on the 73 mile ride what his route was he said: "I don't know I'm just following the signs".