The Club Members’ Tales

Tales from End to End
The Club Members’ Tales

Each year the Land’s End John o’Groats Club presents Awards to selected End-to-Enders who have achieved special distinction for their efforts in travelling from Land’s End to John o’Groats. Their stories make inspiring (and amusing) reading. There are five Award categories and here is a selection of some of the more unusual and challenging stories from entries for the 2009 Awards which were presented in June 2010. All the people named below were raising money for their chosen charities.

Cornish Cliffs
Cornish Cliffs

Category A is for those who complete the distance on foot. Peter Vice came from Perth in Australia to do the walk and, although hampered by injury, was managing 17-20 miles a day in the last week.

Malcolm Murray walked with his Yorkshire Terrier dog (‘Hoochie Coochie Man’) taking 109 days of extended walkies with his dog. Hoochie’s sleeping bag was blown in to Loch Ness and he had to share Malcolm’s for the rest of the trip. They encountered three solid days of rain which resulted in a very wet dog in the sleeping bag.

The Award winners were Nicholas Pope and Charlotte Rogers who called their route ‘an extended fell walk’ and used as many long distance paths as possible. They raised money for the A21 Campaign and Watoto Child Care Ministries which help to combat human trafficking.

Category B is for cyclists. Russell Archer and Alice Curtis rode from north to south. The only preparation they claim they had had was a one mile ride around the block on the Friday before they departed on the Saturday morning. They stopped at the 10 mile point from John o’Groats for a picture to mark the furthest distance they had ever ridden!

The Award Winner in this section was Glyn Marston who completed his ride in 10 days. He was previously a record-breaking Ultra Runner and had intended to run the distance before he had to have a complete knee replacement.

Category C is for motorised travellers on two or three wheels (i.e., motorcycles). A number of these bikers completed their journey in under 24 hours. However, the Award winners, Peter and Dennis Spowage, took longer because they rode their motorcycles around the coast. They are brothers who had ‘rediscovered’ each other after 25 years and preferred to go ’round the outside’ rather than hurtling from end to end.

Category D is for those completing a motorised journey on four or more wheels. John (‘Bish’) Bishop and Tony (‘Tones’) Swire, known as ‘The Tractor Guys’, used classic tractors (Nuffield 1960s) for their trip. They endured multiple mechanical failures and had to replace one Nuffield with a Ford 3000.

Jacki Dixon and Patricia Gorringe used their bus passes to travel from Land’s End to John o’Groats. But they missed their bus to Exeter on the first day! Undeterred, they carried on, catching 52 buses in ten days, free of charge, and covering a total of 1,400 miles. They did, however, still have to walk many miles to catch connecting buses.

Category E is for the most inventive method and the winner in this group was John Duckworth, accompanied by four friends. John travelled around the coast on a mobility Scooter with a top speed of 8 miles per hour. John said he often had to put up with cars hurtling past at speeds of up to 80 mph. His reason for completing the challenge? “Because we were told: ‘You can’t do that because you’re disabled’.”

Editor: I’d not realised that there were these five different groups of stalwarts doing the End-to-End challenge. Hopefully Nancy and I will enjoy our trek as much as they obviously have done. The fact that so many use the opportunity to raise funds for their chosen charities makes the whole concept doubly worthwhile.