Bob Bending

Work: Freelance Graphic Designer/Artworker. Rest: Reading – Ian Rankin and non-fiction. Painting – watercolours and pen & ink. Play: Keen cyclist – on road, off-road and track.

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Welcome

Welcome to the LEJOG blog of Karon and Bob Bending. We updated the blog daily (most days) as we rode through the wettest summer on record, from Land’s End to John O’ Groats over five and a half weeks. In that time we managed to raise over a thousand pounds for our chosen charity, Arthritis …

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Thank you

After arriving at JOG, we took the following day – a Sunday – off. It felt a bit strange having breakfast then wondering what to do, rather than load up, mount up and push off. We walked the half mile down to the harbour area and took another look inside the ‘First and Last’ kiosk, …

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Thurso to John O Groats

Our last day ‘in the saddle’ and there are blue skies above! Not too far today so we take our time over breakfast and then I rescue The Beast from the meeting room in the hotel – the only place other than outside. We left on the A836 towards Dunnet Head, a gentle climb out …

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Bettyhill to Thurso

Well there was blue sky when we got up but by the time we’d got the bike out the shed and loaded up, it had gone. The climb away from Farr Cottage was a hard start to the day but it was a small price to pay for the hospitality we had enjoyed and the …

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Altnaharra to Bettyhill

Started the day with a photograph of the two of us and The Beast to send to Arthritis Research UK. Zoe there has been sending out press releases to some of the local newspapers and needed a photo with the both of us in and hopefully, a nice Scottish backdrop too. It’s a problem with …

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Lairg to Altnaharra

A dry start today, though the grey cloud covering looked ready to off-load at any moment. Today’s ride would take us out into the wilderness, or as close to it as we have come on our journey from south to north. At only 37 miles away, it would have been nice to have ridden all …

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Tain to Lairg

Woke up and peered out of the window in the vain hope that it wouldn’t be raining. No such luck. Chatted over breakfast with other guests and was given another £5 to add to the collection of en-route donations. Not far after leaving Tain we saw the signs for the Glenmorangie Distillery and decided to …

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Inverness to Tain

We rescued the Beast from the hotel lobby and loaded the bags outside, watched by a couple of bemused Americans. Getting out of Inverness was relatively straight forward as we just headed for the water, a couple of streets away. A cycle path ran alongside it to the Kessock Bridge to cross to the Black …

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Carrbridge to Inverness

Breakfast at Fairwinds hotel and we watched a red squirrel scampering over the bark of a huge redwood tree near the conservatory where we sat. That and the rain. By the time it came to pull the Beast from its overnight stable in the disused church, it had turned to a fine drizzle. Leaving Carrbridge …

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Newtonmore to Carrbridge

Very low, grey skies and a much colder day greeted us as we loaded up the Beast for the day’s ride. We left Newtonmore along the main road – many smaller Scottish towns have little more. The road ran reasonably level up the North side of the Spey. The national cycle route actually switched to …

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Blair Atholl to Newtonmore

As I looked out of the window at the little station of Blair Atholl it started to rain. This was the last thing we needed for our ride over the Drumochter Pass. Fortunately, by the time we’d had breakfast and loaded up, it had stopped. This helped cool the air but it was still quite …

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Bankfoot to Blair Atholl

This morning it was humid and dry. So, for the first time I think, we started off in short sleeves. The cloud was low and grey but at least there was no rain. As we left the village of Bankfoot, we passed a parked car with a bike on the back. A little while later …

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Kinross to Bankfoot

A pretty gloomy start but at least it wasn’t actually raining. It was humid too, so at least I was determined to leave off the waterproof. Karon seems to tolerate working under waterproofs a lot better than me and can ride with one on most of the time, just putting the hood up under her …

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Edinburgh to Kinross

For once the sun was pushing through the weak cloud cover as we sat and ate our porridge. It was so nice not to be cocooned in full waterproofs as we said our goodbye’s to April and headed off to find the cycle route that would take us out to the Forth Bridge. It was …

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Penicuik to Edinburgh

What’s the first line of that Supertramp song? “Oh it’s raining again”. I find myself singing it to myself again as I peer out the window after getting out of bed. We breakfast and get ready to battle the rain again. Today is a short ride into Edinburgh to stay with Karon’s cousin April in …

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The Tushielaw Inn to Penicuik

The bar come restaurant at the Tushielaw overlooks Ettrick Water at the back and as we sat eating breakfast were were entertained by a family of wagtails on the far bank. Later, as we chatted with the landlord (we were the only overnighters) an otter trotted along the bank too. Good start to the day! …

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Langholm to The Tushielaw Inn

Woke up this morning to bright sunlight streaming through the windows. No, not really. It was raining again. Oh well, maybe by the time breakfast is over it’ll have stopped. One of the problems we’ve encountered on this epic is the temptation to go full English or Scottish every morning. But what one really needs …

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Sleetbeck to Langholm

With a short ride today at least we had the luxury of waiting for a while to see if the rain would relent. It did and we loaded up the bike, donned waterproofs for the umpteenth time, hugged and said our goodbyes to my sister and brother-in-law then pushed off. Sleetbeck is way out in …

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Brampton to Sleetbeck

Another wet start. We togged up and wheeled The Beast out into the rain, mounted up and headed out of Brampton, North towards Lanercost where Hadrian’s Wall passes close to Brampton. We then ran parallel with the wall, or remnants of, Eastwards towards Walton, for a while the rain eased, prompting me to lose the …

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Appleby to Brampton

Another wet start. We don’t have a choice really, we just have to get togged up and get out in it. Map reading is difficult in the wet as I can’t have my iPhone mounted on the bars for quick reference. It’s tucked away in a waterproof pocket in the bike seat. When we need …

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