2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 720 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 12 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Challenge65 Review

18 to 24 months ago I was contemplating the advent of my 65th Birthday and realised there were a number of challenges that for one reason or another I had not completed, never mind started. Those who know me will know that I have been a keen walker for many years but to my shame I had never climbed Ben Nevis, and as a recent convert to cycling, London to Paris seemed to be a Challenge within my capabilities. The more I thought about it I realised that as a 30 year old I had also expressed a wish to walk the Pennine Way. Further contemplation arrived at 3 challenges, London to Paris, 4 peaks walk and The Pennine Way. After Kath had recovered from the shock of what I wanted to do I then casually mentioned it to Richard as I thought he’d like to do London to Paris, however he suggested John O’Groats to Lands End as well! The plan then was to complete all the challenges in the 12 months leading up to my 65th birthday starting with London to Paris and finishing with JOGLE. The family having raised £5800+ for Prostate Cancer UK and its predecessor between September 2010 and September 2012, my plan was to again raise some more money hoping to reach £10,000 by the end of Challenge65 as it became. Planning started in earnest in September 2012 with first of all agreeing dates with Richard for the 2 cycling challenges, August Bank holiday weekend 2013 seemed to be a good time to start with JOGLE to finish the weekend before my birthday so all the family could get together. Richard then combined route finding for London to Paris with training for the London Marathon in April 2013 for which he received £590 in sponsorship taking the total up to £6400. London to Paris turned into a weekend of contrasts, hot and sunny in the UK, cold,wet and windy in France. We were so cold when we arrived at the Eiffel Tower we wanted hot chocolate instead of champagne and stood by the air vent of a slush puppy machine which was blasting out hot air.

London August 2013

London August 2013

Paris in Summer 2013!

Paris in Summer 2013!

Next was the 4 Peaks in October. 4 days of driving and climbing. I had no wish to break any records it was about completing the challenge and enjoying the scenery. Well I did get views from all 4 tops although Scafell Pike was somewhat limited!

Snowdon

Snowdon

Scafell Pike

Scafell Pike

Ben Nevis. The top!

Ben Nevis. The top!

Final Top! Sleive Donard

Final Top! Sleive Donard

Then it was time for a rest before the Pennine Way in May, but we did have a Wine Tasting in November by way of a little light relief!

Charles is his usual expressive self.

Charles is his usual expressive self.

The Pennine Way was the one challenge that had been on my list of to do for over 30 years. I have to say I’m glad I did it but have no desire to repeat it although there are areas we will revisit.

Pennine Way Ready for the Off.

Pennine Way Ready for the Off.

 

The End!

The End!

You can read my thoughts on JOGLE in all my recent posts but it is something I wish to repeat but at a more leisurely pace so that Kath and I can explore some of the UK’s beautiful countryside that we all miss when travelling on motorways.

John O'Groats Le Depart

John O’Groats Le Depart

Lands End-Challenge65 completed!

Lands End-Challenge65 completed!

There are more people than I can name here who I need to thank for their support both as hosts on different challenges, some more than once, and all those who have donated at http://www.justgiving.com/Challenge65. I must of course thank Richard for all his work on the cycle routes. Laura for agreeing to him taking part.Louise for her support and the fundraising with St Catharine’s. Most of all I must thank Kath for her unstinting support, all the driving, cooking and just being there when I needed her. OH! How much have we raised? £4171.51 for Challenge65 giving a grand total of £10636! Thank you all.

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JOGLE Round Up

First of all some figures.

Hours moving 68 hrs 14 mins
Kilometres ridden 1584.8 = 990 Miles
Climbs 15691 Metres = Everest x 1.95

Funds raised to date £4046.06

Total Funds raised since 18.09 2010 £10136.61

JOGLE was the final Challenge of CHALLENGE65 timed to finish before my 65th birthday on the 16th. It was a longer distance than I had ever attempted before, either walking or cycling. In fact before this summer I had not ridden a hundred miles on my bike let alone 7 one after another!

When planning this it was always going to be an unsupported ride,however, the more I think about it the less I like the term, yes we were unaccompanied, but far from unsupported. My first support came from Certini of Saltash, who serviced my bike for free. Secondly we were supported by ELIVAR and JACKOATBAR with our nutrition. We were also supported by OWAYO with our custom shirts, by Brian Yellop of The Spot Wick who received and rebuilt our bikes ready for our arrival. All our hosts and hostesses whether they be B & B’s, Hotels, Pubs as in the first 5 days or Family and Friends as we progressed south.

By Richard’s wife Laura who agreed to him being away from the family for 11 days, and Kath who has helped and supported me throughout the last year with everything I set out to do.

Richard spent countless hours pouring over routes, finding accommodation and designing our shirt for which I am very grateful. However, the even more important part he played was to keep me going, at times I cursed him for his route, at others I pleaded for a break, but whatever happened he pulled me through and for JOGLE it is to him I owe the most. The opportunity to ride through wonderful countryside,enjoy the different areas and accents in our country in the company of your adult children is very rare and I would not have missed it for the world.

Did I enjoy it? Most of the time (All those climbs)

Would I do it again? Yes but at a slower pace to have time to explore.

At Lands End

At Lands End

Lily gets in on the act

Lily gets in on the act

Louise with the Champagne

Louise with the Champagne

cornish walk 325cornish walk 319

cornish walk 294

At the sign post

At the sign post

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Day 11 Callington to Lands End

A night at home is a very strange thing when you’re in the middle of something like JOGLE, with only one day to go it felt very odd and Richard and I both agreed that perhaps it wasn’t such a good idea as it seemed when we planned this. Its not that we didn’t enjoy being with our loved ones it was just a bit unsettling to our equilibrium. There was however the chance for Richard’s elder children to join us for dinner, which is always nice, and Cameron helped his dad wash both the bikes whilst Granddad skived off for a soak in the jacuzzi at St. Mellion.

Saturday morning saw us up at 6.15 and on our way by 7.40 after another cooked breakfast to set us up for the day. We were joined for this early departure by Mike Watson and Morgan who rode with us until Bodmin Rugby Club. Mike commented at the end that he had ridden on roads he’d never been on before! Well from Callington we went via Golberdon, Pensilva, Darite and Carminnow Woods a good 2 hours of ups and downs to continue amassing yet more metres climbed. We both enjoyed having company for this early part of the day which set us up for the final hours on the road.

It was then off towards Lanhydrock and Lanivet, quickly followed by Roche,Victoria and Indian Queens, yes there is such a place. We then entered a flat section, which cannot often be said about Cornwall, and just before 12 stopped for a drink and top up of the water bottles, being just over half way. There was then a spell of passing signs for Newquay,Truro and numerous coastal resorts as well as Redruth. On through Camborne and Hayle, where the harbour development is at last under way, and  then it was back to the up and down routine until we dropped into Penzance with a fantastic view of St. Michaels’ Mount and Mounts Bay.

With only 10 miles to go we then hit the big hills again straight out of Penzance, the first one being at 15% on a narrow, busy road. Being a coward and not wanting to cause an accident I decided after 200 metres the safest way was on foot! We were now well on target for a 3.30 finish, and after a series of descents and climbs we joined the A30 for the final mile.

Eventually arriving at 3.10 to be met by Kath, Louise and family, Laura and children, and David and Dawn with their friend Caroline. It was then off to the fingerpost for photos and hugs and kisses followed by cream tea with Champagne. photos will be published separately when I have the necessary leads.

I am now having a few days R&R whilst I celebrate my 65th Birthday and will complete the story and reflections once we’re back home.

You can still donate at http://www.justgiving.com/Challenge65
or text LPJL65 to 70070

The last day Cornwall End to End
Jogle End to End
Challenge65 THE END!

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Day 10 Aylesbeare to Callington

After another pleasant evening spent with Martin and Joan it was an early start so that we could have a relaxing afternoon. We joined the commuter traffic into Exeter but took a cycle lane through the outskirts which took us safely to Countess Wear Roundabout and on through Matford for our first climb of the day past the RSPCA hospital. Then we started to climb onto Dartmoor with our first stopping point to be Moretonhampstead.

The approach was a 1.5 mile down hill route which was really exhilarating. A brief stop for photos and then it was off to Princetown, however early on we were stopped by a passing motorist who wished to make a donation.

A brief stop in Moretonhampstead

A brief stop in Moretonhampstead

In Princetown we met up with Kath for Hot Chocolate and cake at the Fox Tor Cafe.

Hot Chocolate at Fox Tor Cafe

Hot Chocolate at Fox Tor Cafe


Then it was off to Tavistock and the back lanes to Horse Bridge
Crossing the Tamar into Cornwall.

Crossing the Tamar into Cornwall.

Stoke Climsland and home via Kit Hill, where we were greated with Kath’s home made poster and so there was the inevitable photo shoot.
Home in Callington for the night.

Home in Callington for the night.

The afternoon was spent preparing for the final assault tomorrow, Me having a jacuzzi at St Mellion, Richard cleaning the bikes! I think I know who got the better deal!

Final day tomorrow with a 7.30 start and company for the first 25 miles. Hopefully we will arrive at Lands End between 3.30 and 4.00 after another 95 miles and 1800 metres plus of climbing.

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JOGLE day 9 Street to Aylesbeare

Well what a lazy pair we were this morning. Left our hostess at 10.00 Norman having left for school at 8.00.

image

Believe it or not Glastonbury Tor is in this photo.
It was then off through the lanes past Millfield’s impressive swimming pool and on to Taunton via back lanes amd the A38.
Coffee and a brunch sandwich for me tea and crumpets for Richard.
Back on the bike thrlugh Columpton, , past Exeter airport and on to Aylesbeare
91k done and dusred by 3.00.
Penultimate day tomorrow similar distance to today but 1500 metrt of climbing.  Hey Ho.

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JOGLE Day 8 Ilmington to Street

The day started badly for me with a real mental low. A reaction to a very long day,  over tired.  I don’t really know but a phone call home, and Louise and Richard eventually sorted me out.
This morning was important as we visited St Catharine’s School Chipping Campden to say a big thank you to the children for their fundraising with a sponsored Bounce that raised over £350.

image

After that it was off to Cirencester to try and find a bike shop to help lift my handle bars to adjust my riding position as I’ve been suffering from tight neck and shoulder muscles. Unfortunately Halfords were unable to help but Adam, the manager, seeing the donation text details immediately got on his phone and made a donation.  LPJL65 TO 70070 and decide how much you want to give.
Fortunately the Independent Bike Store had just what was needed and it certainly has helped. Lunch at Subway and then it was time to crack on as we had only managed about 40k.
Another day of crossing watersheds but also some ridge riding took us through Bradford upon Avon, Wells and Glastonbury
As usual it was an uphill final end to the day.
Norman and Charmian made us very welcome and I think the beer and night cap certainly helped me sleep.
Only a short ride today and tomorrow and I get a night at home before the final day on Saturday.

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