JOhn O Groats to Lands End & back record

Specific board for this popular undertaking.
Posts: 11
Joined: 14 Feb 2009, 8:37pm

JOhn O Groats to Lands End & back record

Postby robinsimps » 14 Feb 2009, 8:46pm

I have recently been asked to attempt the record for the above cycle. I have 6 1/2 days to beat the existing record

I have the routes from the CTC site but I am extremely inexperienced with map reading etc and looking for help sorting out the directions.

Does anybody have a website link I can use to plot the journey and print off easy to read maps, or details of a hand held GPS system I can use to plot my journey and help me find my way the quickest route.

Thank you all for your help. I am doing the attempt for charity so really would like to get the quickest easiest route possible.

User avatar
Posts: 963
Joined: 24 Apr 2008, 10:26pm
Location: shropshire

Postby lauriematt » 15 Feb 2009, 6:22pm ... cords.html

The solo cycle record set by Andy Wilkinson in 1990 stands at 45hrs 2 minutes 18 seconds. Andy also holds the windcheater recumbent record of 41hrs 5 minutes set in 1996; he also shares the tandem record with Lynne Taylor of 51hrs 19 minutes 23 seconds in 2000.
These pale into insignificance with the fastest end to end, the record is 46 minutes 44 seconds set by a Phantom jet fighter plane.

One of the most remarkable modern day end to ends took place in 2006, Sharon Gayter completed the 834 miles in 12 days 16 Hours 23 Minutes thus setting a new ladies world record, all this after suffering a quad injury.

Posts: 11
Joined: 14 Feb 2009, 8:37pm

Postby robinsimps » 15 Feb 2009, 7:08pm

We can all find records, . . . . .

I am looking for help with a record not further details of records. Thanks.

User avatar
Mick F
Posts: 50091
Joined: 7 Jan 2007, 11:24am
Location: Tamar Valley, Cornwall

Postby Mick F » 15 Feb 2009, 7:46pm

Hi Robin,

All I can point you towards is the fastest route. We've discussed it here before, but I'll repeat for you. I wish you the greatest luck! I did a double E2E in 2006 in 3 weeks. Not fast enough for a record, though I was unsupported!

The route I described on here, not long ago:

Mick F wrote:Having supported The Race Against Time in 2007, the seven riders did LE to JOG in five days, using main roads all the way.

For you, back to front of course, it will mean:
JOG to Wick on the A99 and A9, then Inverness and all the way to the Forth Road Bridge on the A9. This includes Old A9 from Perth via Glen Farg, Kinross and Inverkiething. A912, B996, B917, B981. Other than that, you're on the motorway!

From there cross the bridge and go southwest via Broxburn and Livingstone then onto the A706 and A73 for Abington. South on the Old A74 for Carlisle.
I understand there's a cycle-way open now connecting Gretna to Carlisle. You would have to go via Longtown on the A6071 and A7 - but perhaps not.

From Carlisle, follow A6 to Preston, then A49 to Shrewsbury via Wigan, Warrington and Whitchurch.

Then A484 to Bridgnorth, and A442 to Kidderminster, A449 to Worcester then A38 all the way to just north of Cullompton (Junction27 M5) via Gloucester, Bristol, Brigwater, Taunton and Wellington.

At Cullompton, you'll have got on the Old A30 at the motorway junction, now the B3181 for Exeter.

Exeter to LE is on the A30.

Fast and furious! I hope that helps.
Please don't get the idea I know all this off by heart, I had to look at a road atlas to get my facts in the right order!!

I hope that helps for you.

Not only is that the fastest route, it's almost the shortest.
Mick F. Cornwall

Posts: 29731
Joined: 9 Jan 2007, 2:44pm

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Feb 2009, 12:34am

Off the top of my head, to do the End to End and back in 6 and a half days means that for 6 days shalt thou do 270+ miles and on the seventh 135+ and knock off at lunchtime. :shock:

I rather think that anybody who could do that would be coming on here and giving advice, rather than asking for it and I for one would be happy :D to stand to attention while they shared their wisdom.

There is, of course, no RRA record at that distance, and if there were, it would be measured to the second, rather than half day. :roll:

Posts: 9538
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby

Postby PH » 16 Feb 2009, 1:32am

Get the End to End book by John Taylor (Father of the womens record holder, Lyn) Loads of detail on all the recdord rides over the last 100 years. ... EDIA_Books

Posts: 9538
Joined: 21 Jan 2007, 12:31am
Location: Derby

Postby PH » 16 Feb 2009, 1:39am

lauriematt wrote:The solo cycle record set by Andy Wilkinson in 1990 stands at 45hrs 2 minutes 18 seconds.

That record was beaten in 2001 by Gethin Butler. ... butler.htm

Posts: 32
Joined: 16 Dec 2008, 2:07pm
Location: Bristol

Postby Jonny » 16 Feb 2009, 9:32am


For navigation I have a Garmin 705. If circa £300 doesn't phase you then buy the CTC/ Wiggle bundle with city navigator mapping.

The device takes a while to get used and this blog

will tell you all the variety of ways in which you can map out your route.

Personally I map my rides at and from the summary page download your route to your Garmin using .tcx files.

Once you get the hang of it - its brilliant. Navigation a doddle. It allows you to discover the alternative and shorter routes you might pass by if just following main roads.

Best of luck with your challenge.

Posts: 136
Joined: 22 Feb 2007, 5:07pm

Postby dgibby » 16 Feb 2009, 10:45am

Hi Robin
It will help us all here (and will be of interest)if you can post another note with a brief description of who you are, your experience of riding such high mileage days etc

GPS - I did LEJOG in 2007 using a £50 Garmin Geko and loading Tracklogs 1:250000 road map onto it. Was very basic but did the job. I would think that for your challenge you would need the most advanced (and expensive) tools available so that you don't lose any valuable time at junctions thinking "left or right" - you would need to be one step ahead at all times.

Presume you will have a support van - could they help with the navigation ahead of you?

User avatar
Posts: 64
Joined: 2 Mar 2007, 2:23pm

End to End on GPS

Postby MarkW » 16 Feb 2009, 11:07am

Robin, as a member of CTC you can go to the 'Notes' tab of the E2E route on CTC Maps (UK1) and find a link to a website where you'll find several GPS tracklines.

I can't quite work out whether you want to put a route on to your GPS or are looking for an easy and quick way to mark up a map with the route. I suspect the latter.

If that's the case, IMHO you would be better off buying a Philips Navigator road atlas and spending a few hours with a highlighter pen marking up the route manually, cutting out the pages you're going to be needing so as not to have to carry the whole atlas. In this fashion you will get to know the route a little before you ride it, plus you might see ways you can cut a few corners or avoid some twisty lanes by risking life and limb on a short stretch of main road. If you're planning on beating a record then you'll need to trust to luck and take main roads all the way.

Presumably you're aware that CTC can provide you with route details for some of the fastest E2E rides ever done? Look at the list in the 'General Information' section of the pack. The three routes described in the CTC pack are all quite long and it's possible to knock about 200 miles off the distance of each by taking a more direct route.

Like others who have replied to your post, I'm slightly confused by you saying that you have six and a half days for your record attempt. No doubt you realise that you're going to have to do it in considerably under two days if you want to have any chance of beating Gethin Butler's record of 1 day, 20 hours, 4 minutes and 19 seconds.

Wishing you the very best of luck!

Posts: 11
Joined: 14 Feb 2009, 8:37pm

Postby robinsimps » 16 Feb 2009, 11:58am

Ok fine. The exact time is 6 days 17 hours. I train myself and work as a personal trainer so yes I could give advice to lots of people about training gladly.

If you have a look at and click on the link for Robin Simpson you will see some of the world records I have done to date so I will beat this record this year.
Advice I need is about the journey not the training. I can run, cycle for ages but not any good at map reading.

User avatar
Posts: 2375
Joined: 24 Jul 2008, 7:03pm

Postby EdinburghFixed » 16 Feb 2009, 1:04pm

I will help everyone out by posting a quote from the site:

Robin Simpson, for his part, will be attempting to establish his 12th endurance world record by cycling from John O’Groats to Land’s End and back again (phew!) in less than the present record of six days and 17 hours. The Be Number 1 athlete is the current holder of the World’s Fittest Athlete Physical Fitness Challenge, which includes, among 10 other tests, a 110-mile bike ride. But his two-way expedition from north to south and north again, which will cover almost 2,000 miles, is altogether new territory for Simpson.

“I will be aiming to cycle for approximately 20 hours a day and I will have to average roughly 13mph, which is high for the length of time that I’ll be cycling,” comments Simpson. “My biggest worry is saddle sores, because I have not spent a great deal of time on a road bike. Rather, I have had time in the gym on static bikes, which is completely different. There are no hills, for a start! Another thing that slightly concerns me is when I will be cycling by myself at night in the dark when I am tired, but hopefully everything will be fine. At least the daylight hours will be long. I will be doing my level best to beat the current record.”

This is all very clear, apart from the obvious confusion as to where the six days, seventeen hours comes from.

The Road Records Association holds the official LEJOG record to be 1 day, 20 hours. They don't have a LE-JOG-LE record, but that doesn't mean there isn't one (Mick has done it, after all!)

I think what everyone is struggling with is that the average speed required to break the one-way record is an eye-watering 20mph. But to break this record, only 13mph.

What is the actual record you're trying to break?


Anyway, I can help with the Scottish half of your journey for sure. The biggest, smoothest and fastest non-motorway option has to be the A7 from Carlisle to Edinburgh, the old roads to Perth (roughly parallel with the motorway) and then onto the A9 from Perth to JOG.

The A9 is dual carriageway in places and still very fast when it isn't. The A7 is single carriageway but as the main road through the Borders it is in quite a good state.
Last edited by EdinburghFixed on 16 Feb 2009, 1:14pm, edited 1 time in total.

Posts: 247
Joined: 31 Oct 2008, 7:03pm

Postby amaferanga » 16 Feb 2009, 1:11pm

Have you ridden a properly long ride yet - say 600km non-stop? I guess an intermediate aim would be to ride 600km in less than 24 hours.

I think if you can do the distance (2880km) then breaking the record time won't be such a big deal, but what you're doing now (100 mile rides) isn't really preparing you properly.... You might want to have a look at the preparation RAAM (Race Across America - ~3000miles) cyclists go through if you haven't done already. And might I suggest you look to the Paris-Brest-Paris ride in 2011 with a view to 'winning' it :wink:

Posts: 731
Joined: 21 Dec 2007, 11:01am
Location: London

Postby toontra » 16 Feb 2009, 1:21pm

EdinburghFixed wrote:I think what everyone is struggling with is that the average speed required to break the one-way record is an eye-watering 20mph. But to break this record, only 13mph.

That's not hard to explain. The one-way records were set with stonking tailwinds. I read of one record attempt team (not sure which one) waiting in readiness from April to September until there was a very strong and consistent SSW wind forecast. That is going to add 5mph to your average speed.

The chances of having a tailwind each day in each direction over 6 days is so minimal it's not worth considering. Thus the far longer both-ways record.

User avatar
Posts: 2375
Joined: 24 Jul 2008, 7:03pm

Postby EdinburghFixed » 16 Feb 2009, 3:09pm

Good catch - that didn't even cross my mind!

Hmm, it makes a bit of a mockery of the LEJOG records if all you need to do is wait for a biblical SSW storm to come along!

I'm keen to see this round-trip come about then :)