The Daft Way Up – The Full Story

Daft Way Up MAG and Macmillan fundraiser 1st – 7th April

 

The initial idea for this fundraiser came about after Leeds MAG had hosted a talk by Nathan Millward, who’d ridden a Honda postie bike from Australia to the UK.

“We should do something daft like that!” We said…..and if we do we should raise some funds for MAG. Last year the MAG family lost Ian Williamson to cancer, so Macmillan cancer care was added to the beneficiaries of the ride.

After batting a few ideas around we decided on Lands End to John O Groats and instead of one type of bike, we said inappropriate motorcycles should be ridden. Basically, if the bike you chose to ride was inappropriate for a trip of 1000 miles, that would do!

We decided to self fund the ride so the two causes would benefit from all the money raised, this meant that each rider paid out of their own pocket for an inappropriate motorcycle, all fuel, accommodation, and holiday time to complete the trip.

We were amazed at the response from interested MAG members and finally ended up with 17 riders, 2 support drivers a cameraman and a fixer (to sort out all the odds and ends for everyone)

We set the start date for 1st April (when else?) and planned everything from that.

Due to time restrictions (getting time off work) we planned to get the bikes from home to Lands End and from John O Groats to home at the end in hire vans.

At the time of writing this we’ve very nearly hit our target of £5000 to be split between MAG and Macmillan and to ensure we do I’ve decided to raffle off my magnificent 2002 C90 and donate all the profit, after costs to the fund. There will be just 500 tickets at £10 each and you could win an appreciating classic – if you don’t win you can feel content that you’ve helped to support our endeavours and have donated a fiver to MAG and a fiver to Macmillan cancer care. Tickets are available at http://leeds.mag-uk.org/shop/

 D(aft) Day minus 1 – March 31st Leeds to Lands End

It  dawned grey and drizzly and we started loading the bikes into 3 vans at 6am to leave at 6.45 prompt. After much faffing about we finally left Leeds at 7.15 for the 380 mile journey to Newquay to drop the vans off.

An uneventful drive down culminated in arrival at Newquay airport, unloading all the bikes and kitting up for the 50 mile ride to Lands End.

The 50 mile ride down was a lot more eventful than the 380 mile drive when Pete smashed through the parking barrier at the airport, Andy’s MZ “broke down” when he hit the kill switch accidentally and only discovered this with the bike half dismantled and the group riding proved problematic for some, with the riders getting split up several times.

Three hours later we arrived at Lands End Hostel (highly recommended) and decamped to the First and Last pub in England to await the Welsh contingent, who monumentally failed in the task of arriving before last orders! And so it began.

Manny – Daft #1

D(aft) Day – April 1st Lands End to Barnstaple

Before we truly began our epic journey we had our first malfunction not strictly of a ride or rider. Daft #10’s lock refused to co-operate, the key just spinning the barrel. Surprising little resistance was offered by the offending lock and the MZ was soon freed by the bunkhouse owner, many thanks sir. We set off in dribs and drabs, putt-putting down the little lane, to find that business at Land’s End doesn’t open until 10am so we were early. As we squeezed riders and rides beneath the famous signpost for a photo to prove our presence, we heard Daft#20 making her way down the winding slope. A noise that would soon be familiar to us all, in a comforting way as it meant we didn’t need to look out for her, just listen. Paperwork that allows those successful in journeying from Land’s End to John O’Groats to apply for an official certificate was acquired by our lovely admin Daft#5, and now our journey of attrition could begin.

Anyone that has ever tried to keep a number of bikes together knows how the next bit goes, we had our first ‘travel separation’ less than two miles into the official journey. I am very much to blame for this as I failed to spot, from my number two position directly behind Daft#1, that there was no one behind us. It turns out Daft#8’s ride, a CT90, had cut out and was refusing to re-start. Less than two miles, this wasn’t starting well. We did all get going again our first target to make it as far as the nearest petrol station, something that concerned a number of us prior to the trip, some of us not being daft but smart and carrying an additional fuel vessel just in case. There were of course a number of things other than ‘lack’ of fuel capacity to remember riding these smaller less sophisticated machines, ‘down for up’ Daft#3.

As I recall the main theme of the day whilst we settled in to riding together was the weather. It rained, it was cold and there were occasional side winds which tend to send smaller bikes ‘off line’ but it was April and the white Easter had not arrived in Cornwall or Devon. The day passed slowly as we weren’t exactly eating up the miles, I can say that we were delighted when we found ourselves waved in to a lay-by, by one of our hosts for the evening, Doug Smith North Devon Rep. As, to quote our leader Daft#1, we were ‘wetter than an otters pocket’ by that point. We were guided to a very warm welcome at ‘Chez Smith’, the welcoming committee including MAG President Mr Ian Mutch who’d hopped borders to see us. Our rides were squeezed in to the safety of the garden with our oldest, a 1962 Triumph Tiger Cub being separated from the herd as a little fettling was in order. The bathroom became a refuge for sodden gloves, the hallway a dumping ground for helmets and luggage. We were all well cared for by our hosts and their helpers, who put themselves out to give us food and accommodation for the night. Many thanks to all of those involved, it really was a cheery end to the day and lifted our spirits. I’ll finish my piece with quote of the day from Daft#13 ‘I dream of 4th’, on a C90 I think that would mean I’d wrecked the gearbox by forgetting ‘down for up’.

Selina – Daft #7

D(aft) Day +1 – April 2nd Barnstaple to Gloucester

Today saw us arise from our slumber at Doug and Tracey’s in Barnstaple, to be greeted with another wet and damp day .. deep joy, especially as most of us still had damp gear from the soaking the day before. Breakfast and packed and we were all ready for the off by around 9:30. A huge thanks to our genial hosts Doug & Tracy, together with a large contingent of helpers from North Devon MAG who had really pulled out all the stops to look after us the previous night. Doug escorted the gaggle of little bikes out of town, bade our farewell, and then we were off into the wilds of Exmoor following the A39. Lovely road and lovely scenery, the weather was even brightening up. We stopped at the Plough Inn, the home of Taunton mag and were greeted by Tim and a number of their members. Some delicious flapjack, a hot drink and some warmth lifted the spirit, and as the pub began to fill, we got kitted up ready to make tracks. Steve’s tiny petrol tank meant a jerry can refuelling was in order in the pub car park, but we were soon making progress again, albeit, sedately.

We continued around 30 miles to Glastonbury and a stop at Morrisons, to get fuel for both us and our trusty steeds. We were met here by another MAG  member on his Sportster who was to join us for a while on the ride. We also met up with El Presidente and salty old Sea Dog, Ian Mutch. Whilst at Morrison’s we realised Pete was no longer with us. It transpired his 1962 Tiger Cub had cut out at a roundabout a few miles away, and couldn’t be restarted. Joss our wing man in his support van had bundled the stricken Tiger Cub into the back of his van, and ferried Pete to Morrisons to meet up with us. A quick discussion about what to do to with Pete’s bike as options would be very limited as it was a bank holiday and most bike shops would be shut. It was then we heard about the almost mythical ‘Stoker’, British bike guru, who, if he couldn’t get the Cub going again, no one could apparently. It transpires Mr Mutch knew this mythical ‘Stoker’ character and offered to lead Pete & Joss to his magical workshop, where he was bound to be …. turned out he was right, his workshop was indeed an Aladdins cave of wonder, his overalls so engrained with oil and grease they were more waterproof then our bike waterproofs, and he did indeed know his onions, giving the little Cub a thorough checking over, getting it running again, but advising Pete to get a new coil as it was breaking down when hot .. he was bang on too, a new coil was fitted the following day and the Cub gave sterling service for the rest of the week.

A special mention has to be made of the Morrisons cafe at Glastonbury, where were were hoping to get fed … the frying machine had broken, as had the microwave, so almost the entire menu wasn’t available, sandwiches were, but subject to a 20 minute wait (there were only two people in the cafe when we arrived, and we were the only ones queueing, yet we’d have to wait 20 minutes for a sandwich … go figure as they say). Bob also got a shock at the Glastonbury stop when she realised a brake pad had fallen out of her rear brake … gulp. A desperate search would have to be made for brake pads and in the meantime, Bob would have to make do with front brake only and pitiful engine braking for a while.

After our lunchtime of excitement (and culinary disappointment), we continued on our merry way towards Wells and then thorough the spectacular Cheddar Gorge, and then onto Bristol. Our route was to take us over the Clifton suspension bridge, where we were all armed with our 20p toll … only it transpired bikes had to pay a pound, the same as cars. Manny’s pleading that we were on a charity run fell on deaf ears with the bridge toll attendant and we all had to stump up a pound for the 100 metre crossing. Still, a magnificent bridge and it physically shook under the thundering of our mighty steeds (OK, I just made that bit up, it didn’t). We headed out of Bristol and over the Severn Bridge and into Wales, albeit for a short period, heading through Chepstow then back into England and through Ross-on-Wye, where a bike shop was found that yielded a Coil and Brake Pads. We continued towards our ultimate destination of the day, Lydney, near Gloucester. We split here as half were staying in the Woolaston ‘Gurkha’ Inn, and the other half a stones throw away at the Blacksmiths Arms. One hundred and forty two miles covered.

Following unpacking and showers we all decended to the Blacksmiths Arms for food, a pint or two of foaming ale and to meet up with Paul Sysum the local Gloucester MAG Group who had come along to see us. The pub staff also ferried the Woolaston Inn contingent to and from the Blacksmiths Arms for free … they even catered especially for us as they didn’t normally do food on Monday’s – what jolly nice people. A thoroughly pleasant day, a couple of mechanical mishaps, but we hadn’t lost anyone, nor had anyone fallen off their mighty steeds, let’s see what the next day would bring.

Steve – Daft #4

D(aft) Day +2 – April 3rd Gloucester to Glossop

 

Today was the Gloucester to Glossop leg gaining around 157 miles of road and it started with the folks that hadn’t stayed with the main crew waiting as per instruction diligently on time for Manny and the rest who were …still waiting for their breakfasts! Those that had been given the gift of time mostly repressed the need to snark and those that needed to tweak used the time to do so. We were not much delayed in the longing for hot tarmac however and were soon all assembled and also met by delayed-daft way upper Simon from Wales who had been in hospital! We were most grateful for Simon’s presence, his charm, wit and noisy exhaust which took stole some of the limelight from my headache-maker!

On setting off through Lydney we had our first daft experience in taking a couple of wrong turns in the centre of the village; its fair to say we didn’t pass through incognito…!

We were soon back on track passing through some lovely forest on the B4234 on the way to Ross on Wye and a couple more B roads before joining the A59 to take us through Hereford, Leominster, Ludlow and Shrewsbury. We stopped off at about 11am for a quick reccie and to allow Andy McFarlane to fix his MZ with an obliging rock!

Many tootles later saw us refuel at a particularly mundane and unassuming filling station. On leaving said provider of the lifeblood of the mechanical we soon happened upon the lovely folks for Aber MAG waiting along the roadside. They had ridden a combined 600 miles between them simply to return our daftie Phil’s phone charger after he’d left it on Rory’s table! Well done Kate and your Aber folks, the force is strong amongst you Dragons! I think I speak for us all when I say we all nobly stifled our physical symptoms of empathy at such a gesture in order to continue our quest; the tears of joy at the milk of human kindness postponed to air later in a more private, individual setting as however we all independantly saw fit.

Early afternoon saw us stop off for refreshments where there was a bit of something for everyone whether they worshipped at the altar of the Starbucks or the King of Burgers and we idled a while enjoying the sun that had finally crept out while Medwyn got chatting to a family who kindly donated and the kids enjoyed looking at all the bikes, taking a firm preference for Keith’s Innova and all its dashing accoutrements!

We were soon heading north once more into Stafforshire through Leek past the mordor-like peaks of The Roaches and climbing up the A53 past Flash, the highest recognised village in the UK. As we climbed the weather became more and more forboding; patches of defiant snow clinging to the hillsides as cat hair clings to a pair of black trousers as the temperature dropped with altitude gained, threatening grey clouds almost tapping us on the shoulder. I think we all felt relief within and without as we dropped down towards Buxton and on towards Chapel -en-le-Frith as the weather seemed to restabilise and the threat of rain dimished, our thoughts turned towards our end goal; Glossop! The promised land, a mirage made tangible, a veritable island in a desert of endless tarmac…the warm embrace of a bastion we call Travelodge…and maybe even a pint!

However, just above Glossop, our presumptuous yearnings for the termial safe haven were stunted momentarily by our honourable leader, chieftain of the slow pootle as Manny created a convincing ruse of pretending to break down from what was presumed to be a death rattle from the rear end of the C90. Selina gazed into some unknowable future, uttering into the wind “If mine isnt rattling, its broken” and after we all took turns in selflessly staring at the bike knowing that the hardest part of fixing a bike is in the contemplation, we pressed on and made it the last few miles to Glossop with all the ease of a piece of toast landing butter-side down.

Glossop welcomed us weary bikers generously, as only a town can which is conveniently positioned at the end of the Snake Pass can do, and into its velvet-lined sanctuary the party gratefully fell, some of us so grateful we fell twice just to be sure. Soon, in the bosom of the trolley park, tinkering surrupticiously occurred as Wakefield’s Pete’s tiger cub was coddled back to life by the careful and consentual insertion of a new coil, and Wakefield’s Bob’s Serrow received the gift of rear stoppage with a delicious new brake pad. Joss was our Mary, birthing the gift of renewed motorcycling upon his dedicated flock. As I left the Travelodge in search of the mythical horn of plenty we call the Wetherspoons I heard the cub cry its defiant call once more over the Derbyshire hills and it was all I could do to stop myself falling to the unforgiving hardeness of the Marks and Spencer car park and losing myself in a fit of joyous tears and laughter at the perserverance and dogged pertinacity of the little bike. Triumph indeed!

Later that evening in the Wethersoons, our kind friends from Huddersfield MAG visted us to bolster us with their support and to lighten our load by taking away any hitherto unrequired baggage and also secret Birthday cake and a card appeared…for me! Happy Birthday to me and a very nice one it was with so many steadfast and characterful friends around me, I felt truly blessed and rejuvenated, ready to face the challenges of what the next day would bring on our fantastic adventure!

Clare – Daft #20

D(aft) Day +3 – April 4th Glossop to Alston

Fed and watered once again, we get straight into full wet gear as we emerge into a grey overcast morning in Glossop. We follow the damp roads alongside the Torside reservoirs towards Woodhead Pass then begin the long climb up Holme Moss, fortunately the swarms of cyclists that test themselves on these roads following its use as a section of the Tour de France are yet to emerge today, the views from the top never fail to impress me; looking out over West and South Yorkshire, the cities and power stations just little dots among the green in the distance.

At the summit we cross from Derbyshire into Yorkshire and fly down the hill as fast as we dare, not forgetting the big hairpin bend half way down!  Across the dam of Digley reservoir and splash through the first flooded road of the day, the ridiculously steep T-junctions with more cast iron manholes than you would think possible found in Slaithwaite ( Slaw’it to the locals) test brakes and nerves as we cross the canal and climb the first gear in places Meal Hill lane, we cross over the M62 and suddenly halfway down the hill we are in the clouds 200 metres later we can see again as we drop down into Greetland where both the MZ’s decide to stop, Simon’s comes back to life with a new plug but Andy’s goes home in a van after a 7.5 hour wait for the recovery firm!

The journey on from here to Skipton is best forgotten. A never ending rainbow of diesel goes on for miles combined with roadworks spoils what should have been fun.

The Daftie squadron fragments as we attempt to get through the hellhole that is Keighley with people heading in all directions, we text and plan to meet up in Skipton a few miles up the road, the chaos continues in Skipton as its market day, the Dafties scatter across the town and it’s like herding cats, the weather is starting to look like more rain and keen to get moving 5 of us set off for the Manor Café near Leyburn hoping it will spur the stray cats into action.

We head down narrow roads towards Kettlewell, Selina ducks down as a HGV charges towards us on a partially flooded section, I can see what’s coming next and I’m sure I saw Selina laughing as the trucks Tsunami bow wave almost sinks the mighty Innova and drowns me. The rain gets heavier as we indulge in a fast as we can go race up towards Aysgarth and on into Leyburn, its great fun and at 50mph doesn’t feel too scary given the roads are more like rivers, disappointingly the Manor café is shut so yet more texts and the Tan hill Inn is set as the regroup point, we cross the military ranges into Reeth, it’s a pretty soggy and cold bunch that head into the Tan Hill Inn and huddle around the blazing real fire drinking coffee, we wait an hour but as we latter find out the others have taken a wrong turning, ended up in Richmond and taken a different route. We push on from the open high moors and drop down to the A66 and a most unpleasant 8 miles of spray and 56mph HGV’s, we thankfully turn off to Barnard Castle and at the walls of the castle we have to take to the footpath to avoid the deepest flood so far. We once again refuel, fuel tanks holding 3.7 litres make you nervous and I dropped and holed my emergency fuel bottle before the start on the way to Land’s End, we press on towards Middleton in Teesdale, the weather is really changing fast and we struggle into a fiercely strong headwind and heavy rain which needs 2nd gear to get anywhere other than backwards, the waterfall High Force can be seen at full flood in the distance and the river Tees is still boiling as it flows alongside the road, impressive stuff nature.

As we start to climb out of the valley the heavy rain starts to turn to sleet and very quickly starts to lie on the road, when we were planning the route I had warned that Alston Moor’s weather could change very rapidly for the worse but never being one to listen to my own advice we continued to climb, sleet quickly became heavy snow, very little traffic passed as the locals were obviously a lot wiser than us, soon we had 30-40mm of snow to cope with then suddenly the 2 bikes in front of me went down, Gav lying flat out in the snow and big Dave gracefully launching himself  like a baby heffalump over his bike, I helped Dave to his feet who despite saying he was ok ended up with some spectacular bruises a couple of days later, Gav was still laying in the snow, we helped him to his feet, he was looking very shaken but understood the need to get moving again, Manny having noticed no one was behind him came back to find us. The heavy snow became a blizzard with very little visibility but we had little choice but to continue and get off the moor, fortunately the bikes were undamaged and we slowly set off. Selina really looked to be struggling with the cold; I dread to think how cold the other Daftie’s hands were as I had electrically heated gloves which even though by now sodden were still helping and I was still cold. I kept lying to Selina that it was only another 2 miles to the hostel, it was 10 miles really from where the bikes were dropped, the snow got even heavier and visors were coved in ice inside and out, Manny stopped and said his twat nav was telling him to take one of the narrow side roads, I politely pointed out the road signs to Manny warning of danger in winter conditions, extremely steep descents and forbidding use by long vehicles, we took the longer way round which was quite scary enough, thank you!

We finally made it to the hostel: Haggs Bank after at least an hour of crawling along to be met with hot tea and our welcoming hosts Danny and Helen, we stood defrosting to be followed by the rest of the Dafties about 30 minutes later who had called it a day after Medwyn slid off on ice on the moor top road, they had then decided to abandon the bikes and got a lift down to the bunkhouse but where the hell was Oliver on his Hinari-Davidson?

We shortly received a call telling us Oliver was sat in a pub the other side of Alston having got lost, ending up near Penrith and then coming over Hartside had binned the bike big style getting it completely upside down while walking away unharmed thankfully, Danny the owner kindly went to get him. Sadly that was the end for both Medwyn’s and Oliver’s Daft Way Up .

The evening finished as normal with everyone sat around the huge conservatory table, a couple of beers, dinner and talking bollocks, unsurprisingly it wasn’t a late night.

Keith – Daft #3

D(aft) Day +4 – April 5th Alston to Glenrothes

We agreed on a late start. Bikes had to be retrieved, others recovery organised and more importantly, the snow and ice thaw so we could get out of Haggs Bank Bunkhouse.

Sadly today both Medwyn and Oliver had to retire, gritters worked hard, 2-3 journeys up and down a very icy stretch to make it passable for us, and by 11am we were ready to retrieve the abandoned bikes.

Andy, who we lost yesterday, rang to ask where we were, he had gone home, changed bikes and was in Corbridge waiting for us.

We set off around 12.30, part of the roads coming out of Alston still treacherous, we headed to Corbridge, Jedburgh, Edinburgh and on to Glenrothes. Over 150 miles.

On the way, we lost Simon, his MZ would not start, and just outside Corbridge Bob’s front brake seized on and her and Paul waited to be recovered.

We had to press on and picked up the pace, a whole 45mph!! Some very beautiful and scenic roads, with plenty of snow each side.

The miles slowly ticked by. Short stops for fuel and a quick stop at the boarder for a picture as we came into Scotland.

We arrived in Edinburgh around 6pm. It was heaving, and just our luck to find 2 yobs on enduro bikes with no number plates pulling wheelies and acting totally irresponsibly around us.

Heading out, only 35 miles to go, we crossed the magnificent Queensferry Crossing over the Fourth estuary and pressed on to Glenrothes.

We arrived around 7.45pn, exhausted, many of us just wanting to sleep, we then got news, Simon has managed to get the MZ running and is on his way (he arrived at gone 10 pm), and Bob had the AA out, they made progress but were stopping for the night in Jedburgh, her and Paul would be joining us in Inverness tomorrow evening after a strenuous 240 mile ride.

Our spirit’s high after yesterday’s gruelling ride. Let’s see what tomorrow brings.

Gavin – Daft #11

D(aft) Day +5 – April 6th Glenrothes to Inverness

After catching up with the remains of the group at Corbridge on Thursday , Due to my  MZ having ignition failure on Wednesday just after leaving Glossop and waiting 7 hours for recovery decided to rejoin the ride on my Moto Guzzi so that I was not a complete Fail, so on to Glenrothes.

Friday saw us muster in the Glenrothes Travel lodge car park for the days ride to Inverness only 10 minutes later than scheduled. ,Towards Perth out of Glenrothes on the A92 picking up  the A912 through Falkland and Gateside passing Balvaird Castle sat at the top of a hill giving a great defensive position! Travelling ever northward we enter the city of Perth , which has many older buildings with ornate architectural features, And so far today all the bikes are behaving themselves. So we escape Perth out onto the A9 a ribbon of grey Tarmac through the mountains and passes for 100 miles to Inverness. As we travelled further north the lowering temperature could be felt in feet and hands (for those with out the benefit of heated gloves) and as we climbed higher through the glens and passes we got above the snow line in places. At one of our short breaks in a layby ( to let the ever growing tailback of traffic to pass ) as we had set off without breakfast, Manny was persuaded (TOLD)  to stop at the next available place for fuel and food etc!!!, And so it was we arrived at the Snack Shack ( part of The Loch Ericth Hotel at  Dalwhinnie. We were all feeling the cold by this time (three hours on the road ) . Upon Manny’s entrance he was strangely drawn to the lentil soup on offer !!!!! But after seeing the large menu hand drawn on a blackboard, most opted for the Scottish Breakfast! What a feast it turned out to be , When John our camera man saw it his reaction was that he had already had breakfast,but within minutes he was wrapping himself round one !!!!,  ( if ever anyone is travelling in this region I highly recommend calling in ) Simon who had also rejoined at Glenrothes (after his own adventure) came in to announce that he was destined not to complete the ride as his Bike had fallen over and the front brake lever had broken off, with a bit of wire he managed to bodge it together and was able to carry on! Just as we were getting ready to leave Maggi, Chris’ partner arrived and with not even time for a coffee we were off ! Through the village of Dalwhinne along a nice winding minor road for a couple of miles before rejoining the A9 . All feeling better after our feast ,

After another fifty miles of  riding through the splendour of  the Highlands passing Pitlochry and Blair Atholl where you could catch a glimpse of Blair Castle’s whitewashed turrets poking out above the trees , through Glen Garry and Drumochter Pass skirting the edge of the Cairngorms and over Slochd Summit (1319 feet ) we dropped down to the town of Inverness to the Travelodge, our home for the night. Final leg tomorrow.

Andy Mac – Daft #10

D(aft) Day +6 – April 7th Inverness to John O Groats

The last day. It’s hard to believe we’re almost there. Most people are up early, quietly checking their bikes and packing. Those who are going to drive the vans home are off by 7.30am sharp so they can ride to Wick ahead of the main party in time to pick up the vans before the hire company closes.

By 8am everyone is sat on their bikes with their engines running, all except one. Keith had been up at the crack of dawn but had thought we weren’t going until 8.30 so was relaxing in his room. Kate swiftly locates him and then we’re off.

Chris leads the way out of town and we’re quickly on to roads that get better and better. It’s easy to see why these roads are used as the start of the famous North Coast 500. We cross low bridges over lochs, lined with bright yellow gorse. Reaching Cromarty Firth someone has conveniently placed roadworks and traffic lights, giving us a few moments to pause and take in the beautiful views.

The road then starts to follow the coast, so close that at times you can smell the seaweed and hear the curlews. We’re definitely going to have to return to enjoy these roads again.

We make it to Wick without a hitch to meet up with the others and have a quick pit stop at the local Tesco’s when the sun comes out to join us for our final stretch. Salina presents Manny with a thermal cup to mount on his bike, replacing the one he had lost in Glossop after a valiant juggling attempt to save it going over all the pot holes.

Reunited and ready for the last run we mount up. Just to give us one last scare, Salina’s faithful C90 refuses to start! She has several attempts to get it going but it’s not until riders start to dismount that it coughs (or was that a chuckle?!) back into life. It was just testing us one last time.

Finally we’re riding on to John O’Groats and there’s just 15 miles left to go. A few of us are having mixed feelings; excited to be nearly there but sad that it’s nearly over. It’s such a shame that Medwyn, Joss and Oliver aren’t here with us to enjoy it.

We crest the hill into John O’Groats and see the little village laid out in front of us. Wow, we’re actually going to do it! We take an impromptu short cut over the paths, meaning that John misses us for the final entry film shot he had so carefully set up, and all pull up at the official Signpost for the final official JOG photo’s with us all wearing our DWU hats.

We’re all a little subdued at first then someone whoops and we’re all suddenly laughing and hugging. We did it; all that way in all weathers on very inappropriate bikes. We hardly believed we could do it until we were actually here.

We spend ages taking photos, particularly of mascots on the signpost and put plenty of DWU stickers on it for good measure. Paul finally puts one on his helmet – he hadn’t wanted to jinx the trip by doing it any sooner.

Bob – Daft #8

D(aft Day +7 – April 8th Heading home

Plenty of glum faces this morning as for the first time in a week we’re not saddling up and hitting the road on our inappropriate steeds.

Everything is loaded into the vans – most of us don’t have the time off work to allow us to ride home at an average speed of 23 mph!

On the  journey back we have a pit stop at the fantastic Dalwhinnie Café for full Scottish breakfasts all round and we all agree that it feels a bit weird after a week of virtually living in each other’s pockets we’ve gone from barely knowing one another to building lasting friendships. It’s been a life affirming trip, that’s for sure.

Ride safe

Manny – Daft #1