Land’s End to John O’Groats

Jonathan and his brother having a rest on the grass beside their bikes

In June 2022, Jonathan Sparrow and his Dad cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats. He raised £10,100 to help us keep children out of institutions and in loving families, where they belong. Here, he tells us all about the amazing odyssey.

What an epic adventure that was! One of the best experiences of my life, and for such a brilliant cause! We both felt completely detached from reality, you become absorbed in the routine of it all. Eat, ride, eat, sleep, repeat.

The route was designed to be scenic rather than direct. As a result, it was challenging, physically and mentally, with morale generally in-line with the weather forecast! We had all four seasons during the trip, as well as a headwind for roughly 8 days. This made it all more rewarding on day 10 when against the odds the sun was shining, and we had a strong tailwind carrying us to the finish in John O’Groats.

The highlights of the trip for me, aside from undertaking the challenge with my Dad, were the harder hillier days as these are generally the days with a view! Day 2 over Dartmoor was stunning, with constant rolling hills and rapid descents. Day 3 we crossed the Mendips and entered Wales along the beautiful Wye Valley. Day 5 we travelled through the Forest of Bowland and into the Lake District, this was by far the toughest in my opinion. Not a single flat road and some really challenging, long climbs. Before we knew it, we were in Scotland, literally on day 6 we crossed the border at Gretna Green and made our way up to Moffat. Day 8, through The Cairngorms, was ‘The Queen Stage’ and featured some monster climbs. Two of which were up past Scottish ski resorts at around 700m (2300feet). The day ended with the beginning of the highlands, breath-taking views in all directions. The final day was forecast to be wet and miserable with the beginnings of a storm on the coast, cross / tailwinds of 40mph predicted. The day started as expected, but before­ we got too wet the sun broke through. Seeing the sunlit sea come into view on the northern coast was an incredible moment. The final 50km flew past with a combination of adrenaline and tailwinds, we were soon drinking a toast to our achievement in John O’Groats.

Jonathan and his father setting off on their journey from Land's End
Jonathan and his father cycling through Dartmoor on day two of their journey from Land’s End

It was my absolutely pleasure to take on this challenge on behalf of Hope and Homes for Children. I am so proud to be able to complete this challenge for such a worthy cause! We cycled a total of 1,580km (982mile) over the 10 days, and climbed a monstrous 18,800m (62,000feet)., I still cannot quite believe the amount of money raised!