Land's End to John o' Groats

Land's End to John o' Groats is the traversal of the whole length of the island of Great Britain between two extremities, in the southwest and northeast. The traditional distance by road is 874 miles (1,407 km) and takes most cyclists 10 to 14 days; the record for running the route is nine days. Off-road walkers typically walk about 1,200 miles (1,900 km) and take two or three months for the expedition. Two much-photographed signposts indicate the traditional distance at each end.

  • Land's End is the traditionally acknowledged extreme southern point of mainland England. It is in western Cornwall at the end of the Penwith peninsula. The O.S. Grid Reference of the road end is SW342250, Post Code TR19 7AA. In fact it, or strictly speaking Dr Syntax's Head, SW341253, a few hundred yards NW of the road end, is mainland England's most westerly point.[1] The most southerly point is Lizard Point, about 9 miles (14 km) further south. Land's End is sometimes reckoned incorrectly as mainland England's most southwesterly point. This accolade belongs to Gwennap Head, SW365215, which is at least 2 miles (3.2 km) further south than Dr Syntax's Head but only about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) less west.[2]
  • John o' Groats is the traditionally acknowledged extreme northern point of mainland Scotland, in northeastern Caithness, O.S. Grid Reference ND380735, Post Code KW1 4YR. The actual northernmost point is Dunnet Head about 2 miles (3 km) further north. The point that is farthest by road from Land's End is Duncansby Head, about 2 miles (3 km) east of John o' Groats. Duncansby Head is also the most northeasterly point of the Scottish mainland.[3]

The straight-line distance from Land's End to John o' Groats is 603 miles (970 km) as determined from O.S. Grid References, but such a route passes over a series of stretches of water in the Irish Sea. Google Earth reports a distance of 602.70 miles between the two iconic marker points.

According to a 1964 road atlas, the shortest route using classified roads was 847 miles (1,363 km) but in a 2008 road atlas, the shortest route using classified roads was 838 miles (1,349 km). An online route planner in 2011 also calculated the quickest route by road as 838 miles (1,349 km), estimating a time of 15 hours 48 minutes for the journey (this uses the A30, M5, M6, A74(M), M74, M73, M80, M9, A9 & A99) but the overall shortest route by road, using minor roads in numerous places and utilising modern bridges, is only about 814 miles (1,310 km). This route is roughly as follows: Land's End, Bodmin, Okehampton, Tiverton, Taunton, Bridgwater, the M5 Avon Bridge, the M48 Severn Bridge, Monmouth, Hereford, Shrewsbury, Tarporley, St Helens, Preston, Carlisle, Beattock, Carstairs, Whitburn, Falkirk, Stirling, Crieff, Kenmore, Dalchalloch, A9, Inverness, Kessock Bridge, Cromarty Bridge, Dornoch Firth Bridge, Latheron, Wick, John o' Groats.

Google Maps, on 2 August 2017, calculated the fastest route by car, from the Land's End Visitor Centre to John o' Groats as being 837 miles and taking 14 hours 40 minutes. It also showed a walking route of 811 miles, which it suggested would take 268 hours, and involve an elevation gain of 30,148 ft and an elevation fall of 30,272 ft.

Landsendsignpost
Signpost at Land's End
John o' Groats
Signpost at John o' Groats
[Full screen]

Methods

There are many ways to go from Land's End to John o' Groats. Traditionally considered to be a walk, the route is now traversed in a number of ways, with cycling and multi-modal expeditions being particularly popular in recent years.

Most trips are done by individuals or small groups for personal fulfilment. Some expeditions are organised as charity fundraisers, sometimes involving celebrities: examples include cricketer Ian Botham's 1985 walk and athlete Jane Tomlinson in 2003. In recent history the route has been used as a rite of passage by cyclists taking on the most iconic cycling challenge in Britain.

Walking

The first recorded end-to-end walk (actually from John o' Groats to Land's End) was undertaken by the brothers John and Robert Naylor in 1871.[4] Since then the walk has been undertaken many times, more particularly since 1960, after a well-publicised road walk by Dr Barbara Moore. In 1960 the entrepreneur Billy Butlin organised a road walking race, which gave further impetus to the idea.

Since the 1960s, walkers have mostly chosen off-road routes, using the growing network of long-distance footpaths. A classic account is from 1966 by the travel writer John Hillaby.[5] Off-road walkers usually complete the journey in two to three months. There is a considerable choice of off-road routes, but all are much longer than the shortest road distance, usually 1,200 miles (1,900 km) or more. The walk is still undertaken by road walkers, often doing the walk, like Sir Ian Botham, for charity, or as a "challenge walk". They typically take a month or even less.

Some walkers aim to complete the route piecemeal, perhaps over several years, to achieve the walk within the time constraints of a working life and before the possible health problems of retirement.[6]

Routes

There is no continuous long-distance path from Land's End to John o' Groats. There are long-distance paths for substantial sections of the route, and where they do not exist walkers connect them by rights of way and minor roads. Most walkers broadly follow these routes:[7]

Cycling

The official Road Records Association record for a rider on a conventional bicycle is 43 hours, 25 minutes and 13 seconds, set by 40 year old Michael Broadwith on 17 June 2018.[8]

The official Road Records Association Women's record: Lynne Taylor (Lynne Biddulph), 2001, 52h 45m [9]

The official Road Records Association Mixed Tandem Record: A Wilkinson & L E A Taylor (Lynne Biddulph), 2000, 51h 19m 23s.[10]

Men's tandem bicycle. 5–7 May 2015 Riders: Dominic Irvine and Charlie Mitchell. Time: 1 day 21 hours 11 minutes.[11] The previous record held for 49 years.

The record for cycling from Land's End to John o' Groats is held by Andy Wilkinson, who completed the journey in 41 hours, 4 minutes and 22 seconds on a Windcheetah recumbent tricycle.[12] A typical cycling time when not attempting shortest time is 10 to 14 days. James MacDonald set a record in September 2017 for cycling from John o' Groats to Land's End and back again in five days, 18 hours and 3 minutes.[13] From 1 to 4 March 2010, David Walliams, Jimmy Carr, Fearne Cotton, Miranda Hart, Patrick Kielty, Davina McCall and Russell Howard cycled in a team relay from John o' Groats to Land's End to raise money for Sport Relief.[14]

The first tricyclist to complete the route was Alfred Nixon, champion of the London Tricycle Club, who in 1882 made "the first, and at present only, tricycle journey from John o' Groats to Land's End, a distance of 1007 miles, in a fortnight".[15]

Men's quadricycle. In the summer of 2012. Riders: Hugo Catchpole, George Unwin, Tom Bethell and Richard Nicholls. Time 10 days 15 hours. On a four-man recumbent bike weighing 114 kg.

Several cyclists completed the route on folding bicycles. The fastest reported completion of LEJOG on 16-inch wheel Brompton bicycles is currently that of Si Trickett and Stephen Brindle, between 22-29 April 2011.[16]

There have been several unicycle completions of the journey. The Guinness World Record for the fastest completion by unicycle is held by Roger Davies and Sam Wakeling, who rode 862 miles (1,387 km) (Land's End to John o' Groats) from 12 to 18 September 2009 in 6 days, 8 hours and 43 minutes.[17] They rode large 36-inch-wheeled (910 mm) unicycles equipped with two-speed Schlumpf geared hubs.[18]

The oldest person to cycle from Land's End to John o' Groats is Tony Rathbone (UK, b. 10 December 1932) who was aged 81 years and 162 days when he completed the journey on 21 May 2014. Roger Anthony "Tony" Rathbone started his journey from Land's End to John o' Groats on 7 May 2014 with his friend, William "Billy" Skipper. They cycled a total of 1,526.46 km (948.5 miles) and were riding for a total of 79 hours 34 minutes. Guinness World Record[19]

In 2017 Amelia Sampson aged 22 months completed John o' Groats to Land's End in 14 days in her trailer towed by her parents riding a tandem.[20]

At the age of 4 years and 4 months, Rhoda Jones is believed to have become the youngest to cycle Land's End – John o' Groats on 2 September 2018[21]. Cycling on a trailerbike with her parents Katie and Tom Jones[22] she completed the ride in 22 days, 3 hours, 26 minutes. Her sister Ruth Jones, aged 5, completed the journey before her and became the fastest on a trailerbike.

On 3 August 2018, Joshua Moisey, aged 7 years and 2 months, became the youngest Land's End – John o' Groats cyclist on a standard bicycle, riding his own bike alongside brother Reuben (10) and parents Alvin and Hiroko, and raising money for Alzheimer's Society.[23][24]

There are several annual mass participation cycle rides that go from Land's End to John o' Groats, the biggest of which is the Deloitte Ride Across Britain,[25] run by Threshold Sports. The Ride Across Britain takes over 800 riders the full length of Britain, taking nine days and covering 969 miles (1,559 km), with each rider covering an average of 107 miles (172 km) per day. Previous celebrity participants include GB rower and Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell and former England Rugby captain Lewis Moody.

Running

The record time for a runner to complete the route, as reported by the Land's End John o' Groats Club, is nine days and 2 hours, by Andi Rivett.[26] In July 2008, Dan Driver became the first to run the route solo, meaning he carried all his equipment with him whilst he ran it. He completed the run in just over 17 days.[27]

The current women's record of 12 days, 15 hours and 46 minutes was set by Marina (Mimi) Anderson from 16-28 July 2008[28].

Fred Hicks was an early record holder. He ran the journey between the 20 and 30 May 1977 in 10 days 3 hours and 30 minutes. He ran this for charity, not aiming to set any records, and it was only later, when he was approached by the Road Running association asking if they could pursue the record with Guinness, that he became aware he had set a new record.

On 12 July 2009 British ultramarathon runner Kevin Carr successfully completed the first ever attempt to run the route off-road, becoming the first athlete to run the length of the UK as a fell/trail run. Like Driver, Carr ran unsupported and solo—a format commonly known amongst fell runners as a mountain marathon. Carr ran the challenge as part of an event organised by Benumber1,[29] an event that saw several top-level British athletes (mainly Olympians) completing the challenge. The event was designed to encourage school students to participate in sport and to realise the benefits of a healthy lifestyle, whilst raising funds for the British Heart Foundation. The run covered 1,254 miles (2,018 km) over footpaths, bridleways, canal paths, river banks, national trails, fields, moorland and mountains. Over 80% of the route was off-road, the route resorting to tarmac only when necessary to link two trails, or where a trail passed through a village/town. The run took 6 weeks 3 days and 17 hours (including three rest days). Factoring in the rest days, this run called for an average effort of just under 30 miles (50 km) a day, every day, for more than six weeks.

In July 2011, a team of runners from Calday Grange Grammar School, Wirral completed a relay from Land's End to John o' Groats, becoming the first school to do so.[30] They raised £200,000[31] for Alder Hey Children's Hospital, Liverpool.

In mid summer of 2011 Anthony Band from Surrey ran 1000 miles barefoot, all in aid for Help for heroes. Band took 29 days, running on average 36 miles per day.

On 3 August 2014, Marie-Claire Oziem became the first female runner to complete the distance unsupported and solo.[32] She pushed all her provisions in a pram and camped along the way. Her route consisted of both on and off-road sections. Oziem ran for the charity Mind, based in Taunton for its project Go Wild, Stay Well, which aims to support those with mental illness through the use of various green therapy schemes. She started her run on 23 June and finished on 3 August 2014, regularly running distances of over 32 miles daily.

By horse

The journey with a horse is generally completed north to south, starting in April to avoid the midges in the Highlands but also to benefit from warmer weather.

Evelyn Burnaby was the younger brother of the famous English Long Rider Colonel Frederick Burnaby. Whereas the elder brother was famous for having ridden across Central Asia and the Ottoman Empire, Evelyn decided to keep his equestrian adventures closer to home. He set off in 1892 to ride from Land's End, Cornwall to John o' Groats, Scotland. Evelyn's journey was soon serialised in a popular publication, The Country Gentleman, and was published in book form the following year as A Ride from Land's End to John O' Groats.[33]

Communist John Richard Penistan rode his horse, Billy-a-Journey from Land's End to John o' Groats in 1948 (or 1930[34]) taking him 56 days. He was the first person to do the journey with just one horse.

Arthur Elliott, a veteran of the Great War, rode his horse, Goldflake, from Land's End to John o' Groats in 1955.[35]

In 2006 the mother-and-daughter team of Vyv and Elsie Wood-Gee rode from John o' Groats to Land's End. Elsie was 13 at the time.

Former army officer Grant Nicolle continued the tradition by travelling from John o' Groats to Land's End in 2007 with Marv (solo and unsupported), taking 11 and a half weeks. Grant has published a book called 'Long Trot' through Amazon, documenting the trip.[36]

Swimming

Sean Conway swam the complete route from 30 June 2013 to 11 November 2013 (135 days). On 31 August 2018 this time was bested by British endurance athlete Ross Edgely, who swam the complete route from Land's End to John o' Groats in just 62 days as part of his effort to swim around the entirety of mainland Britain[37].

Stand-up paddleboarding

The first person to stand-up paddleboard (SUP) Land's End to John o'Groats was Cal Major, between 4 May 2018 and 2 July 2018, a total of 59 days. Major completely the journey solo and without any boat support.[38] Her route took her along the Cornish and Devon coast into the Bristol Channel, up the River Severn and by canals to Blackpool, by sea around Cumbria and the Mull of Galloway, across the Firth of Clyde to Arran, along the whole of the Caledonian Canal, and up the coast of north east Scotland.[39]

Fiona Quinn became the first person to stand up paddleboard (SUP) Land's End to John o'Groats on an inflatable board, between 21st April and 10th July 2018.[40][41] Over the 81 day expedition, she spent just 35 of those paddling, waiting out bad weather in between. Her mainly sea-based route took her up the Cornish coast, crossing the Bristol Channel to Lundy Island and on to Pembrokeshire before she paddled over to Ireland. Continuing up the east coast of Ireland she cross back over the Irish Sea to the Mull of Kintyre, through the full length of the Caledonian Canal and up the north east coast of Scotland. She also became the first woman to SUP across the Irish Sea and the first woman to complete a LEJOG triathlon, having walked and cycled the route in 2017. [42]

Wheelchair

The fastest time in a wheelchair was achieved in August 2009 by US Navy Pilot Rick Ryan: eight days, 10 hours and 9 minutes.[43]

Skateboard

The record time to complete the 980-mile (1,580 km) journey on a skateboard is 21 days, achieved by Matt Elver, Charlie Mason and Lee Renshaw, who traveled around 50 miles (80 km) per day to raise money for charity.[44]

Triathlon

Sean Conway became the first person to complete a length of Britain triathlon in 2013. He traveled between Lands End and John o'Groats three times, cycling, running and swimming the route.[45] Fiona Quinn became the first woman to complete a length of Britain triathlon in 2018. She traveled between Lands End and John o'Groats three times, cycling, walking and stand up paddleboarding the route.[46]

Motoring

Anthony Frederick Wilding on a motorcycle
Tony Wilding at Land's End off to John o' Groats

Motoring events between the two extremities have been held since the first decade of the 20th century, when the Auto-Cycle Union organised a series of runs for motorcycles. In 1911, Ivan B. Hart-Davies became the holder of the final Land's End to John o' Groats record for solo motorcycles. Riding his 3.5 hp single-speed Triumph, he covered the 886 miles (1,426 km) in 29 hours, 12 minutes. As his average speed exceeded the then-maximum of 20 mph, further official record attempts were banned by the A. C. U.

The Motor Cycling Club (which had been running the London to Land's End Trial since 1908, still held today, at least in name) put on an annual Land's End to John o' Groats Run from 1923 to 1928 which included cars as well as motorcycles. These events were also known as the End to End. In 2006, BBC Television ran a series of three programmes called The Lost World of Friese-Greene covering Claude Friese-Greene's 1920s-era road trip from Land's End to John o' Groats. The trip had originally been filmed using the Biocolour process, developed by Claude's father William Friese-Greene and the film had degraded. The original print of Claude's film was subjected to computer enhancement by the British Film Institute to remove the flickering problem inherent in the Biocolour process.

In September 1983 rally and trials driver Dennis Greenslade from Cornwall created a new sole driver non-stop record drive from Land's End to John O'Groats and return using the newly released Audi 80 Quattro. The time taken was 24hours 32 minutes. Following this record achievement which also raised £10,000 for three charities he established The Land's End - John O'Groats Association formed to authenticate all journeys between these two iconic landmarks.

In 1984, Neal Champion covered 884 miles (1,423 km) from John o' Groats to Land's End in 11 hours, 14 minutes, on a Kawasaki GPZ750 Turbo.[47] In 1984, Christian Conzendorf-Mattner accompanied by Dennis Greenslade covered the route from Land's End to John O'Groats—there and back non-stop other than for fuel—in 31 hours 22 mins in a 1941 BMW 327/80. The record run was monitored by a team of journalists from a motoring magazine and is the current record for prewar classic cars end to end, non-stop, two drivers. The Land's End - John O'Groats Association awards this trophy to new record holders.

On 17 September 1988, Andrew Frankel and Mark Connaughton drove from Land's End to John o' Groats in a standard production Alfa Romeo 164 in 12 hours 30 minutes, including stops for refuelling.

In 1993, John Brown initiated the Land's End to John o' Groats Historic Reliability Trial, a race for vintage road vehicles.[48] The race is held each December and is a tough, three-day rally for old and classic cars, built between the 1920s and 1970s. The route takes a long 1,400-mile (2,300 km) route, using remote upland roads of the west of England, Wales (during the night), the Pennines and Scotland. Medals are awarded in gold, silver and bronze categories.[49]

On 15–16 April 1997, Hugh Edeleanu drove the route in a JCB excavator in a time of 22 hours, 10 minutes and 30 seconds.[50]

In June 2001, Wayne Booth became the first person to do the journey by motorcycle without stopping; the 37-year-old completed the historic trip in 14 hours and 52 minutes, averaging 57 mph, on a modified 1,000cc Honda Varedero, complete with additional 74-litre petrol tank. The meticulously researched route of 854 miles (1,374 km) passed through just two sets of traffic lights and was completed within all highway regulations, law and speed limits.[51][52] Booth and the dozen strong support team raised over £1,000 for The National Childbirth Trust and Macmillan Cancer Relief.

On 22 May 2011, Kevin Sharpe and David Peilow completed the first end-to-end run from John o' Groats to Land's End in an electric car over two days, using only charging stations available to the general public, in a Tesla Roadster sports car.[53]

Nissan Leaf at lands End.jpeg
Jonathan Porterfield and Chris Ramsey at Land's End in a Nissan leaf

On 7 August 2011, Darren Whitehead & Tony Dwight travelled 1,071 miles (1,724 km) from John o' Groats to Land's End (including crossing the Welsh border) in 5 days using two ride-on Wheel Horse lawn mowers.[54] They also raised money for charity during the trip which was named The Lawn Way Down.

On 30 November 2013, Lucy Grogan, travelling on a BMW GS R1200 motorbike, and her father Martin Grogan, travelling in a Mini Cooper Works, travelled from Land's End to John o' Groats in 19 hours, leaving Land's End at 4:30am and arriving at John o' Groats at 11:30pm same day. This was in aid of Safe Haven Children's Trust and raised £3,000 for the non-governmental organisation.[55]

In September 2015, Jonathan Porterfield and Chris Ramsey beat the record in a Nissan Leaf electric car, using the existing public rapid charger infrastructure to travel there and back. The route south took 28 hours and 38 minutes, and the return trip 27 hours and 46 minutes.[56] They submitted an application to Guinness World Records to have the quicker time recognised as a record.[57]

Dr Jeff Allan and Ben Cottam-Allan at John o'Groats
Dr Jeff Allan and his son Ben Cottam-Allan having completed their journey from Land's End to John o' Groats set off for the return journey.

On 7 October 2015, Jeff Allan and his son, Ben Cottam-Allan, beat the electric car record in a Tesla Model S completing the northbound route in 19 hours 45 minutes and the southbound route in 18 hours 53 minutes. Jeff prepared the route by cycling in May 2015. They hold the Guinness World Record for shortest charging time from John o' Groats to Land's End of 3 hours 44 minutes 33 seconds.[58][59][60]

On 21 August 2017, John Chivers completed the first journey by electric motorcycle (a Zero DSR) from Land's End to John o' Groats, then continued his journey to Orkney and finally to Skaw, on the island of Unst, Shetland.[61] The journey from Land's End to John o' Groats took him four days to complete, breaking the journey up into ten parts, each stop requiring a charge of at least three hours.[62]

On 30 July 2017 Andy Maxfield from Inskip near Preston completed the journey from John O'Groats to Land's End on an unmodified John Deere X750 ride on lawn tractor. The 874 mile journey was completed in a Guinness World Record time[63] of 5 days 8 hours 36 mins with an average speed of around 9mph. This journey was inspired by his father James Maxfield who suffered from Alzheimer's for 13 years with the challenge raising around £9,000 for The Alzheimer's Society. The journey was completed with a support team from John Deere and his two daughters Kathryn and Kaitlyn Maxfield.[64][65]

In September 2017, Tommy Davies and Tom Harvey completed the 841 mile journey in 9 hours and 36 minutes, the fastest time ever recorded between the two points on land, with an overall average of 86.7 mph. They used a specially adapted Audi S5 with an additional fuel tank and an array of equipment to avoid detection from the police and speed cameras. The trip was allegedly tracked via a GPS tracker and filmed, although the footage and data has not been publicly released, presumably in an effort to avoid possible prosecution due to the excessive speed involved.[66][67]

Public transport

The current fastest journey by bus and coach was set by John and Kirsty Boyd from Runcorn, Cheshire, who travelled from Land's End to John O' Groats in August 2017 using 20 buses/coaches, in three days, 2 hours and 47 minutes.[68]

The current fastest journey by local bus (defined as in section 3 of the Transport Act 1980 to be a stage carriage service with stops within 30 miles)[69] was set by Clive Burgess in September 2016. He travelled from Lands End to John O'Groats using 31 buses, in 3 days, 8 hours and 55 minutes.[70]

In June 2014, to celebrate completing his GCSE exams, 16-year-old Adam Mugliston travelled from Land's End to John o' Groats on 36 buses in four days, 10 hours and 44 minutes.[71]

In August 2011, James Aukett travelled from Land's End to John o' Groats on 31 buses in five days, 7 hours and 25 minutes. James undertook the trip to raise money for children's charity, The Children's Society.[72]

Lands-end-richard-elloway-bus-trip
Richard Elloway, having completed the return trip using a senior bus-pass "without paying a penny".

In 2008, Richard Elloway of Somerset claims to be the first person to complete the journey from Land's End to John o' Groats and back free of charge by local buses, using the English National Concessionary Pass (a free bus pass for people over 60, allowing free off-peak travel on local bus services throughout England) introduced on 1 April 2008, and the pre-existing equivalent concession for pensioners in Scotland. He completed the first leg of the trip in one week and six hours.[73] The entire journey was completed in two weeks, 8 hours and 30 minutes.[74]

In 1954, Gertrude Leather travelled by 17 local buses from Land's End to London, at a cost of £1 19s 6d (£1.97½), and the following year travelled from London to John o' Groats by 25 local buses at a cost of £4 5s 9½d (£4.29).[75]

The current fastest route on land public transport takes a timetabled exact 24 hours, departing Land's End car park at 13:34 on day 1 and arriving at John O'Groats ferry terminal car park at 13:34 on day 2. This involves a First Kernow route A1 bus to Penzance, trains to Penzance, Tamworth and Crewe to meet the London–Inverness sleeper train, then the following morning Stagecoach buses X98 and 77 via Wick to John O'Groats. On a Friday schooldays route 77 doesn't operate and instead there's a 177 which arrives John O'Groats nine minutes earlier at 1325 making it possible to do the overall trip in 23 hours 51 minutes. Archived 23 January 2008 at the Wayback Machine Sample journeys checked 16 June 2019</ref>

Hitchhiking

M. Clark and G. Beynon are the last hitchhikers recorded in the Guinness Book of Records for the Land's End to John o' Groats trip (17 hours 8 minutes).

Paramotor (motorised paraglider)

The first recorded journey by paramotor was by Andy Phillips, supported by a team of British Royal Marines in September 2000. The trip took a little over six days and was completed from south to north.[76]

The first recorded trip from north to south was by John Caston, Brian Pushman, Alex Heron and Henry Glasse in September 2009 and took five days.

In July 2016 a group of four pilots completed the trip from north to south in 6.5 days. This included double amputee Cayle Royce, who became the first person to fly the route in a ParaTrike.

Golf

In 2005 Surrey-based golfer and member of the Kent Golf Society David Sullivan walked from John o' Groats to Land's End hitting golf balls all the way. He travelled the 1,100 miles (1,800 km) in seven weeks to be eligible for the Guinness Book of Records as the longest golf hole. He raised money for the Variety Club, the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami Appeal, and the Orpheus Centre, a residential arts and learning facility for the young and disabled in Surrey.

Aeroplane

The fastest passage between the two points was made in 1988 by a McDonnell Douglas F-4K Phantom in a time of 46 minutes 44 seconds [77]

In a straight line

On 17 May 2014 a team of four set off to complete Beeline Britain – a journey from Land's End to John o' Groats in a straight line. This never before attempted route was completed in 28 days and required the two biggest sea kayak crossings ever completed in UK waters.

  • The first crossing went direct from Land's End to Pembrokeshire – a distance of over 200 km which took 34.5 hours to complete.
  • The second crossing went direct from Pembrokeshire to Anglesey – around 170 km and taking 24.5 hours to complete.

The team then kayaked, biked and hiked the remainder of the route which went via: Isle of Man – Dalmellington – Glasgow – Creiff – traversing Ben Macdui the second highest mountain in the UK – Lossiemouth – across the Moray Firth – Lybster – John o' Groats.

The project was devised and managed by Ian O'Grady. He recruited the Team GB Paralympian Nick Beighton, Adam Harmer, a professional kayak coach and University Lecturer, Tori James who was the first Welsh woman to stand on the summit of Mount Everest. Beeline Britain's aim was to raise funds and awareness for Blesma, the limbless veterans charity. The project gained full royal endorsement from the Royal Foundation of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry, and has to date raised over £20,000 for Blesma.

The whole journey was captured by filmmaker Ian Burton for the feature documentary As The Crow Flies [78]

Youngest and oldest

The Land's End–John o' Groats Association presents the Jack Adams/Richard Elloway Trophy annually to the youngest person to have completed the journey other than as a passenger in a motor vehicle. Henry Cole completed the journey in June 2006, at the age of four; he cycled over 31 days. He started school in the following September, and was presented with the Jack Adams/Richard Elloway Trophy in January 2007. Sophie George is currently the youngest recipient of the Jack Adams/Richard Elloway Trophy. She completed the journey by bus and train in August 2016 at the age of two years and 10 months and was awarded the trophy in January 2017.[79]

Reg Savill is the oldest person to complete the journey on foot (although in the reverse direction from John o' Groats to Land's End), at the age of 74.[80]

Organisations

There are three organisations supporting people undertaking the journey.

  • The Land's End–John o' Groats Association is a non-commercial organisation established in 1983 for "those who have completed the epic journey from Land’s End to John o' Groats, or vice versa, by any means in a single trip".[81]
  • The Land's End John o' Groats Club, which is sponsored by the company that operates facilities at Land's End and John o' Groats, the end points.[82] It holds an annual awards ceremony to select the most notable 'end-to-enders' each year.
  • Bike the UK for MS is a charity raising awareness for multiple sclerosis research and patients by running supported cycling trips including from Land's End to John o' Groats. They combine "an important cause with an incredible experience to help fund treatment and research for a cure whilst addressing the challenges for those affected by MS".[83]

Scottish equivalent

Until Union with England in 1707, Scotland's equivalent of the phrase was often "John o' Groats to Maidenkirk", as Maidenkirk (Kirkmaiden) was traditionally considered Scotland's southernmost point, a 388-mile (624 km) trip. This can be found in Robert Burns' poem On Captain Grose's Peregrinations thro' Scotland[84] and the song, The Lady of Kenmure:

From John o' Groats to Maidenkirk
You'll never find a truer
For loyal faith and dauntless deeds,
Than the Lady of Kenmure.

The southernmost village in Scotland is actually nearby Drummore, which has grown to a latitude several metres south of Kirkmaiden.

English equivalent

The length of the English mainland is delineated by the distance between Land's End and Marshall Meadows Bay in Northumberland. The distance is 556 miles (895 km) by road or 426 miles (686 km) as the crow flies. The traversal of the length of England is sometimes used to define charity events such as walks and cycle-rides.

See also

References

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Further reading

Road walking

  • Smailes, B. (2004) John o' Groats to Land's End: the Official Challenge Guide Challenge Publications ISBN 978-1-903568-18-7

Offroad walking

  • Robinson, A. (2007) The End to End Trail: Land's End to John o' Groats on Foot Cicerone ISBN 978-1-85284-512-4
  • McCloy, A. (2001) The Land's End to John o' Groats Walk Cordee ISBN 1-871890-59-4
  • Salter, M. (2006) Land's End to John o' Groats – a Thousand Mile Walking Route Folly Publications ISBN 978-1-871731-71-2

Cycling

  • Mitchell, N (2012) End to End Cycle Route: Land's End to John o' Groats (Cicerone Press) ISBN 978-1-85284-670-1
  • Smailes Brian (2009) Land's End to John o' Groats Cycle Guide – The Official Challenge Guide Challenge Publications ISBN 978-1-903568-59-0
  • Brown, Simon (1995) Land's End to John o' Groats Cycle Guide, Cicerone ISBN 978-1-85284-188-1
  • Salter, P. (2002) Bike Britain: Cycling from Land's End to John o' Groats Epic New Zealand ISBN 978-0-9582256-1-8
  • Lewis, D. (2005) "Land's End to John o' Groats", On a beer mat Publish and Print

External links

Chris Townsend (writer)

Chris Townsend is a passionate hillwalker and author of over 20 books. He is also currently Hillwalking Ambassador for the British Mountaineering CouncilAlthough Craig Caldwell was the first person to climb all of the Munros and Tops in one continuous journey, Townsend was the first to do so entirely on foot covering 1,700 miles (2,700 km) and 575,000 feet (170,000 m) of ascent over all 517 of the 3,000 ft (914 m) Scottish summits listed in Munro's Tables. He was also the first person to walk the length of the Canadian Rockies, a distance of 1,600 miles (2,500 km). Chris Townsend has also hiked the 2,600 mile (4200 km) Pacific Crest Trail, the 3,100 mile (5,000 km) Continental Divide Trail, from Land's End to John o' Groats in the UK (1,250 miles, 2,000 km), south–north through the Scandinavian mountains (1,300 miles, 2100 km), 1,000 miles (1,600 km) south–north through the Yukon Territory, the 800 mile (1,300 km) Arizona Trail, the 1,200 mile Pacific Northwest Trail and the 700 mile Scottish Watershed.

Townsend has been a long-term contributor to The Great Outdoors magazine, for whom he is currently the Gear Editor. His book The Backpacker's Handbook won the Outdoor Writer's Guild Award for Excellence in 1993. He is the co-author, with Annie Aggens, of the Encyclopedia of Outdoor & Wilderness Skills: The Ultimate A–Z Guide for The Adventurous.

Claude Friese-Greene

Claude Friese-Greene (3 May 1898 in Fulham, London – June 1943 in Islington, London) was a British-born cinema technician, filmmaker, and cinematographer, most famous for his 1926 collection of films entitled The Open Road.

Coastline of the United Kingdom

The coastline of the United Kingdom is formed by a variety of natural features including islands, bays, headlands and peninsulas. It consists of the coastline of the island of Great Britain and the north-east coast of the island of Ireland, as well as a large number of much smaller islands. Much of the coastline is accessible and quite varied in geography and habitats. Large stretches have been designated areas of natural beauty, notably the Jurassic Coast and various stretches referred to as heritage coast.

Edith Atkins

Edith Atkins (2 February 1920 – 28 August 1999) was a racing cyclist and a prolific breaker of long-distance records in the 1950s. She completed 12 different record-breaking journeys. The records included Land's End to John o' Groats; Land's End to London; Holyhead to London; London to York, London to Edinburgh; and London to Great Yarmouth. On 12 July 1953 she covered 422 miles (679 km) in 24 hours, breaking the London to York; 12-hour, and London to Edinburgh records along the way. Two weeks later she also broke Land's End to John o' Groats. She died aged 79 when she was hit by a car while pushing her bicycle across a pedestrian road crossing.

Eileen Sheridan (cyclist)

Eileen Sheridan, née Shaw (born 18 October 1923) is a retired English cyclist who specialised in time trialing and road record breaking. She broke all the records of the Women's Road Records Association during the late 1940s and 1950s. They included Land's End to John o' Groats, set by Lilian Dredge. Eileen has lived with her family in Isleworth, Middlesex since 1952.

End-to-end

End-to-end or End to End may refer to:

End-to-end auditable voting systems, a voting system

End-to-end delay, the time for a packet to be transmitted across a network from source to destination

End-to-end encryption, a cryptographic paradigm involving uninterrupted protection of data traveling between two communicating parties

End-to-end data integrity

End-to-end principle, a principal design element of the Internet

End-to-end reinforcement learning

End-to-end vector, points from one end of a polymer to the other end

Land's End to John o' Groats, the journey from "End to End" across Great Britain

George Pilkington Mills

George Pilkington Mills (8 January 1867 – 8 November 1945) was the dominant English racing cyclist of his generation, and winner of the inaugural Bordeaux–Paris cycle race. He frequently rode from Land's End to John o' Groats, holding the world record time on six occasions between 1886 and 1895. He was a member of the Anfield and North Road cycling clubs. He later won races and broke records as a car racer and motorcycle rider.

Ion Keith-Falconer

Ion Grant Neville Keith-Falconer (5 July 1856 – 11 May 1887) was a Scottish missionary and Arabic scholar, the third son of the 8th Earl of Kintore.

Keith-Falconer was born in Edinburgh. After passing through Harrow School and the University of Cambridge, he moved into evangelistic work in London. In 1886, he was appointed Arabic professor at Cambridge, but his career was cut short near Aden while in missionary work. He translated the Fables of Bidpaï. He was an athlete, a champion cyclist and is described as a world cycling champion in 1878.

John Hillaby

John Hillaby (24 July 1917 – 10 October 1996) was a British travel writer and explorer.

Hillaby was the son of a Yorkshire printer. He was educated at Woodhouse Grove School, Leeds. He embarked on a career in journalism, interrupted by service in the Second World War. After the war he worked for the Manchester Guardian, the New York Times and the New Scientist.

In 1949, he published his first book, Within the Streams. His real impact on the literary scene came in 1964, when he published Journey to the Jade Sea, an account of his 1,000-mile walk with a camel train through northern Kenya to Lake Turkana. The book set the pattern for his later books, Journey Through Britain (1968), an account of his walk from Land's End to John o' Groats, Journey Through Europe (1972), an account of his walk from Holland to the Italian Alps and back to France, and Journey Through Love (1976).

His earlier journeys were always alone, but after he married Kathleen Burton (also a great walker) in 1981 the two travelled together. She featured in his later books, Journey Home (1983), John Hillaby's Yorkshire (1986), John Hillaby's London (1987) and Journey to the Gods (1991).

John Woodburn (cyclist)

John Woodburn (1936 – 14 April 2017) was an English road and individual time trial cyclist. He was national 25-mile champion in 1961, RTTC British Best All-Rounder in 1978, and holder of several UK Road Records Association place-to-place cycling records.

John o' Groats

John o' Groats (Scottish Gaelic: Taigh Iain Ghròt) is a village 2.5 miles (4 km) NE of the village of Canisbay, Caithness, in the far north of Scotland. John o' Groats lies on Great Britain's northeastern tip, and is popular with tourists as one end of the longest distance between two inhabited British points on the mainland, with Land's End in Cornwall lying 876 miles (1,410 km) to the southwest. It is not the most northerly point on the island of Britain (nearby Dunnet Head is farther north).

John o' Groats is 690 miles (1,110 km) from London, 280 miles (450 km) from Edinburgh, 6 miles (9.7 km) from the Orkney Isles and 2,200 miles (3,500 km) from the North Pole. It is 4.25 miles (6.84 km) from the uninhabited island of Stroma.

A passenger ferry operates from John o' Groats to Burwick on South Ronaldsay in Orkney.

Land's End

Land's End (Cornish: Penn an Wlas or Pedn an Wlas) is a headland and holiday complex in western Cornwall, England, UK. It is the most westerly point of mainland Cornwall and England, situated within the Penwith peninsula about eight miles (13 km) west-south-west of Penzance at the western end of the A30 road.

List of extreme points of the United Kingdom

This is a list of the extreme points of the United Kingdom: the points that are farther north, south, east or west than any other location. Traditionally the extent of the island of Great Britain has stretched "from Land's End to John o' Groats" (that is, from the extreme southwest of England to the far northeast of Scotland).

This article does not include references to the Channel Islands because they are Crown dependencies, not constituent parts of the United Kingdom.

Northernmost point – Out Stack, Shetland at 60°51′N 0°52′W

Northernmost settlement – Skaw, Unst, Shetland Islands at 60°49′N 0°47′W

Southernmost point – Pednathise Head, Western Rocks, Isles of Scilly at 49°51′N 6°24′W

Southernmost settlement – St Agnes, Isles of Scilly at 49°53′N 6°20′W

Westernmost point – Rockall at 57°35′N 13°41′W, which was only incorporated into Scotland in the 20th century. If Rockall is ignored, Soay, St Kilda, at 57.830°N 8.638°W / 57.830; -8.638 is the westernmost point.

Westernmost settlement – Belleek, County Fermanagh at 54°28′N 8°9.8′W. Until 1930, the westernmost settlement was Hirta, on the island of St Kilda, but it is now abandoned; the island now has a military base, staffed during the summer months.

Easternmost point – Lowestoft Ness, Suffolk, at 52°29′N 1°46′E

Easternmost settlement – Lowestoft, Suffolk, at 52°28′N 1°45′E

Highest point – Ben Nevis, Scotland, at 1345 m 56.797°N 5.004°W / 56.797; -5.004

Lowest point – Holme Fen, Cambridgeshire, 3 m below sea level at 52°29′N 0°13′W

Maidenkirk

Maidenkirk (sometimes Kirkmaiden; Scottish Gaelic: Cill M' Eudan) is a small settlement in Galloway, Scotland, located approximately 17 miles (27 km) south of Stranraer.

Until Union with England, Scotland's equivalent of the phrase "Land's End to John o' Groats" was often "John o' Groats to Maidenkirk", as Maidenkirk was traditionally considered the southernmost part of that country. It can be found in the song, The Lady of Kenmure:

From John O' Groats to Maidenkirk

You'll never find a truer

For loyal faith and dauntless deeds,

Than the Lady of Kenmure.

Marguerite Wilson

Marguerite Wilson was a record-breaking cyclist from Bournemouth. In 1939 she broke the Land's End to John o' Groats and 1,000-mile (1,600 km) records. When World War II stopped her efforts in 1941 she held every Women's Road Records Association (R.R.A.) bicycle record. For her achievements she was celebrated in the Golden Book of Cycling and received the Bidlake Memorial Prize.

Naked hiking

Naked hiking, also known as naked walking or freehiking, is a sub-category of the modern form of social nudity, and involves the undertaking of walking activities while naked.

Paul Carbutt

Paul Anthony Carbutt (4 July 1950 – 1 May 2014) was an English professional racing cyclist. Carbutt has an exceptional range of achievements - from a silver medal in the short-distance national hill-climb championship in 1975 to breaking the near-1,000 miles of the Land's End to John o' Groats road record in 1979. He was an accomplished road rider and time triallist.

Road Records Association

The Road Records Association (RRA) is a British cycle racing organisation which supervises records on the road but not in conventional races. It is one of the oldest cycle sport organisations in the world, formed in 1888.

The Lost World of Friese-Greene

The Lost World of Friese-Greene is a BBC documentary series produced in conjunction with the British Film Institute. Three one-hour episodes were broadcast on BBC Two in spring 2006.

The series showcases film made by Claude Friese-Greene on a 1920s road trip from Land's End to John o' Groats, using the Biocolour process originally invented by his father William Friese-Greene, the moving picture pioneer, later developed further by Claude after his father's death.

This is one of a number of BFI television series featuring footage from the BFI National Archive and produced in partnership with the BBC:

The Lost World of Mitchell & Kenyon

The Lost World of Friese-Greene

The Lost World of Tibet

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