Dulwich College Memorial Award 2011

Alex Scott-Malden, Angus Johnston

cycle from land's end to john o'groats

Their story, in their words…

“We began in Cornwall – the first day we were confronted with a 1500 ft mountain out of Penzance, which rather set the tone for the things to come in the South West. We struggled up the A30 before collapsing in our youth hostel at Okehampton very pleased with the first two days work.

The Severn bridge into Wales was a particular highlight for me, despite the near gale force cross winds! However our amazing evening in a medieval castle, complete with medieval banquet and no cutlery, which resulted in the throwing of chicken bones in true Blackadder fashion, set us up well for what was arguably the most beautiful part of the trip. I will never forget the moment I rode down the hill into the Wye valley towards a perfectly still river and dappled, almost autumnal, trees. It was also mercifully flat!

We continued north into what was the low point of the expedition, namely the Wigan monsoon season! Throughout the North of England we were continually soaked to the point where puddles formed in your shoes and your fingers wrinkled from 70 miles of torrential rain! Luckily the rain eased a little as we entered Scotland and as we cycled along some magnificent Lochs we were greeted by chocolate box scenes of small fishing boats set against huge green mountains. When we finally entered the Highlands, as a first time visitor to Scotland, I was struck by the emptiness of the landscape. The long, wild moors with nothing but a single road presented one of the most hauntingly beautiful sights I have ever seen.

The final day was another highlight, the sun came out for almost the first time and the coast of North West Scotland, while being very hilly, was a lovely cycle ride and a fitting end to a most fantastic trip as we collapsed, exhausted into John O’ Groats. In our 950 miles we managed to raise nearly £1800 for Help for Heroes and I can honestly describe it as the best holiday I have ever had.”