Cyclists complete ride from Cornwall to John o’Groats

The cyclists arrive at their final destination, John o'Groats in Scotland, on July 29.

This tour group traveled as far as their legs could take them.

Four Cayman-based cyclists – Guy Manning, Chris Smith, Jon Roney and Andy Childe – were among a group of seven who pulled into John o’Groats on Sunday, July 29, to complete a journey that saw them trace the western edge of Great Britain in just seven days.

The group traveled nearly 900 miles from Land’s End in Cornwall before coming to a close in northern Scotland. The riders woke early every morning and biked until around 7 p.m. throughout the week.

“Long days in the saddle,” said Mr. Manning. “Lots of hills to climb. But it was good.”

The week-long journey was the latest challenge for Mr. Manning, who has climbed Mount Everest and summitted the tallest peak on all seven continents. The endurance athlete has also ridden across the continental United States as part of a relay team competing in the Race Across America.

But this ride was more leisurely and sentimental. It took Mr. Manning through his parents’ hometown of Hutton Roof and allowed him to see the perimeter of his homeland with new eyes.

“All went very well,” said Mr. Manning, recounting the adventure on Thursday, a day after returning to Cayman. “All seven of us made it safely to the end. All went smoothly, but one of the guys had a spectacular crash on Day Seven that could’ve been very nasty. He got away with a few cuts and bruises.”

Mr. Manning and company raised US$8,624 for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and St. Baldrick’s Foundation from their ride through the British countryside.

The group benefited from good weather and progressively lighter traffic the further north they traveled. In the beginning, said Mr. Manning, the roads were thick with cars. But as they progressed through England and further into Scotland, it became just the riders and the road.

The riders had a tailwind for the first five days, lifting them up and over some early hills. And they did not really encounter rain until the last two days in Scotland. All in all, they averaged about 125 miles a day, and they topped out with a 146-mile, 13-hour ride from Gretna Green to Perth.

The group poses shortly before embarking on their epic ride along the western edge of Great Britain.

“The first day in Cornwall was surprisingly difficult. A lot of steep climbing,” said Mr. Manning. “The toughest day was probably the longest day. The 146-miler from Gretna Green to Perth. That was our first day in Scotland, and we got in just when it was getting dark at 9 o’clock at night. Hills all day.”

The group paused briefly in Hutton Roof to have a lunch with Mr. Manning’s parents, and they had friends join them for riding a few of the miles in between stops. They finally pulled into John o’Groats on July 29, thankful for the journey and for arriving without injury or inconvenience.

Mr. Manning and company raised US$8,624 for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and the St. Baldrick’s Foundation.

“It’s the best way to see a country. Much better than driving,” said Mr. Manning of the lasting impression. “It was beautiful. The first day in Cornwall, the second day through … Hereford. Once you got into the Lake District in England and northern Scotland, it was stunning countryside.”

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