End to End Challenge
Day 1 (197 miles)
1 Take A30 from Lands End to Oakhampton.
2 At Oakhampton take a left onto the A386
3 After approx 4 mile take right onto the A3072
4 Then take a right onto the A377 to Crediton
5 At Crediton take a left onto the A3072 and then the A396 to Tiverton
6 Take A361 to junction 27 of the M5
7 Take A38 to Taunton ,Bridgewater and then to Bristol
Day 2 (174 miles cycling, 4.5 miles Kayak and 1mile swim)
1 From Bristol take the A38 to Gloucester
2 At Gloucester take A40 to Ross-on-Wye
3 From Ross-on Wye take the A49 to Hereford ,Leominster and Ludlow.
4 At Ludlow take the A49 and just after the Craven Arms take a left onto the A489 to Lydham ,Church Stoke
5 At Church Stoke take a left-A490 to Welshpool and Llanfyllin
6 After Llanfyllin-2 miles take a right-B4580 to Abernaint and after 3 miles take a left onto the B4391 to Penygarnedd and Penybonfawr to Llangynog and Bala.
7 At Bala take the A494 to the bottom end of the Lake
8 The van to take the A458 and then the A470 to Dongeliau-finally the A494 to Bala
9 Kayak and swim Bala
Day 3 ( 112 miles cycling,3,560ft ascent)
1 Take the A4212 out of Bala
1 After 3 miles take a right onto the B4501
2 Then take a left onto the A5 through Betws-y-coed and Chapel Curig before taking a right onto the A4086 to Snowdon
3 Run up and down Snowdon
4 Back via the A4086 and A5 to Betws-y-coed then left onto the A470 and Llanwst still on A470 to meet the A547
5 Keep on the A547 to Abergele and Rhuddian-take the A5151 out of Rhuddian to Dyserth and then the A5026 to Holywell-at Carmel take left onto the A549 to Flint, Connahs Quay
6 Keep on A549 until you take a left A550-A41 to Birkenhead.
7 Cross on the ferry or take the tunnel as we did to Liverpool
Day 4 (121miles cycling,10.5mile Kayak and 1 mile swim)
1 Take the A59 out of Liverpool to Preston
2 A6 to Lancaster and then onto Levens
3 Left onto the A590 to Newby Bridge
4 Kayak and swim Windermere
5 From Ambleside take the A591 to Seathwaite
Day 5 (3,209ft ascent and 163 miles cycling)
1 Run up and down Scafell
2 Take the B5289 to Keswick –A591-A595 to Carlisle
3 Take the A7 out of Carlisle and use the minor roads to skirt the motorway-including the B7076. Arrive just south of Glasgow
Day 6 (24 mile kayak,1 mile swim,70 mile cycle and 4,409ft ascent)
1 Take the A82 out of Glasgow to Loch Lomond.
2 Kayak and swim Loch Lomond.
3 Take the A82 to Fort William
4 Run up and down Ben Nevis
Day 7 (185 mile cycle)
1 A82 to Inverness then A9 to Wick and A99 to J O G
1 Cycling 1,022 miles
2 Running 11,178 ft ascent
3 Kayaking 41 miles
4 Swimming 3 mile
Daily Diary of the Challenge
Day 1 (Monday 4th September)
Our record attempt finally started with a cycle across the foot of England .Setting off at 03.00am slightly misty and warm but with no wind.The roads were hilly and hard work but we quickly managed to get into a rythym with Keith setting the pace at the front and Peter hanging on behind.
Finished at 6.30. just south of Bristol with 185 miles in the bag-a solid first day. Our only hazard had been rabbits running out into the road.
Stopped at a small village,had a shower in the van and then a meal in the pub.Stayed the night here right in the path of the airport.However nobody heard the planes as we were so tired.
Day 2 (Tuesday 5th September)
A few hours fitful sleep and we were off again at 4.00am.Again a good day weather wise –warm and dry with no wind .Got through Bristol in the early hours of the morning with no traffic problems and had some good luck when the sat nav fell off the bike but was undamaged. Stopped at Ross-on –Wye for a big breakfast.
The van got stuck in heavy traffic through Hereford and we caught it up and passed it.
Fortunately by the time we had reached Welshpool it was back in front and we had dinner on Morrisons car park.We stuck to the plan of going over the steep hills to Bala whilst the van would go round.This was a big mistake.Setting off from Welshpool there was just a slight breeze this turned into gale force winds with rain as we battled over the hills.We arrived very tired and dispirited at the campsite to the south of Bala at 6.45pm.
We dithered about deciding whether to paddle and eventually got onto the lake at 7.30.The van drove down to the meeting point (Layby with telephone box) only to find there were two and they weren’t sure which one.By the time they had driven up and down the lake,we had gone passed and had missed them.First error!We eventually met up and this meant we were going to have to swim in the dark using a couple of light sticks on the back of our wet-suits so that we could be seen.Eventually we set off at 8.15pm.reaching the end of the lake at 8.45pm with the lights of the van to guide us in.
Day 3 (Wednesday 6th September)
Warm and breezy start at 5.15am dry soon detiorating into rain and strong head winds all the way up to Pen-y pass where we met the van at 8.25am.After a change of clothes set off up Snowdon at 8.50am.Reached the summit at 10.45am.On the summit visibility was down to a few yards with strong winds.Back down again at 12.00am for a big breakfast and then off again on the bikes at 12.45
We had decided to use the minor roads in North Wales and arrived at Birkenhead at 6.50pm.After some discussion we decided to run the gaunlet and meet on the northern edge of Liverpool-chancing our arms(bikes and lives) with the rush hour traffic as the light was fading Eventually we found the Ferry but for some reason it wasn’t working! The only option left was the Tunnel but we couldn’t use that until 8.00pm and the light was deteriorating fast .Finally met up at 9.00pm on the northern limits of the city just glad to be in one piece especially after Peter’s encounter with a white van man at a roundabout (didn’t see him!) Found a quiet campsite nearby-everyone tired and fractious.
Day 4 (Thursday 7th September)
Drove back into Liverpool to the point we had been picked up the previous night. Set off at 4.45am.The weather was dry but cold and we soon stopped to pick up more clothes from the van .Met up again at Preston (8.10am) and then again at Lancaster before arriving at Newby Bridge at 1.10pm
We had a quick sort out of kit ,a massage and then off again on our kayaks at 2.05pm arriving at Low Wood at 4.05pm.It was great to see so many family and friends as we finished the Windermere Kayak stage. After a quick change started the swim at 4.35pm and arrived at Waterhead at 5.10pm.
Decided not to do Scafell in the dark from Langdale but to bike to Seathwaite and run it in the morning.
Arrived at Seathwaite at 8.00pm followed by tea and a chat about future tactics.
Day 5 (Friday 8th September)
Set off up Scafell at 5.20am leaving the crew in bed to have a lie in! Colin joined us on the run and was supposed to show us the easiest route! Arrived back 9.00am and then off on the bikes at 9.20am.Beautiful day-dry, sunny and warm .We took the scenic route to Carlisle along quiet yet hilly roads.Finally on towards Glasgow on the B7076,a lovely road for cycling .Arrived south of Glasgow at 6.30pm were we decided to have a break and go through Glasgow in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Day 6 (Saturday 9th September)
Set off at 1.30am to get through Glasgow-having learnt going through Liverpool to ride when there is no traffic .Peter still managed to come off his bike at a double edged round-about after hitting the kerb(Very deceptive)However he was o’kay apart from a grazed shoulder and bruised hip .Got to Loch Lomond at 4.15am and had a sleep before setting off on the Kayaks at 6.05am just as it was getting light.
The conditions were ideal- calm with little chop. However after about an hour we began to have quiet severe side chop .Fortunately this changed direction as we got more out into the centre of the Loch and came straight at us.
Stopped a couple of times when near land to stretch our legs and bottoms and arrived at the swim point at 11.00am-cold and stiff! After warming up we got into our wet wet-suits and set off up the lake at 11.25 arriving at the end at 12.05.Straight into the shower followed by one of Martin’s now famous breakfasts
Set off on the bikes again at 1.00pm meeting up every 30k for a brew-somewhat shorter intervals than usual .Arrived at Ben Nevis at 5.00pm setting off at 5.15pm with conditions warm and sunny.Got down again at 9.45pm.Big tea then bed.
This was a true Quadrathlon day with the four disciplines in one day!
Day 7 (Sunday 10th September)
Set off at 4.20am.Our goal was within our grasp and provided our bodies stood up for a few hours longer we would soon be celebrating .The final leg was very hilly(Others had told us there was a sting in the tail ) but they were never going to stop us finishing Arrived at 7.45pm elated but shattered Job done!
The End 2 End quadrathlon record had been reduced by over two days and the 7day barrier broken ( Total time 6 days 17 hours ).
Weather was very good on the whole-especially whilst kayaking Loch Lomond.
Best to travel through the big cities at night if possible-depends on schedule!
No major cock-ups apart from Bala.
Always nice to know you are going to get a brew every 3 hours-breaks journey into small chunks
Everyone enjoyed the whole experience (except Pete and Keiths bums)
Its impossible to do a challenge like this without an experienced back up team-we had one in Martin and Claire.