John O’ Groats to Lands End by Vespa | FEATURE
Over a few pints one evening, two friends and I decided to do something a little bit different. Ride end to end on our scooters. After a few more pints, the ball began rolling some more as we discussed potential stopover points and the best possible route to take from John O’ Groats to Lands End. The trip was soon planned for June 2016 and a worthwhile local charity chosen, we’d try and raise funds for the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital.
Monday 13th June 2016
Before we knew it, the morning of the epic adventure had dawned. The first port of call was getting the scooters and ourselves to John O’ Groats. We loaded the scooters into the van and set off for Scotland, arriving at around 11pm and thought after the long journey, a pint was very much needed. We quizzed when last orders were and the reply was “September”. Result!
Tuesday 14th June
With gorgeous weather our journey began. Unfortunately, this didn’t hold up as we rode towards Inverness. Between John O’ Groats and Inverness we stopped by a remote village for fish & chips, enjoyed with lovely scenery.
As time wore on, we rode on, passing Loch Ness. Paul began the chorus of wanting to see the mythical creature, so after finding the B&B we rode around the Loch in search of the monster.
Wednesday 15th June
Wednesday wasn’t exactly the most thrilling ride to Edinburgh, as the A9 is quite a long and boring road. Luckily, we could enjoy some beautiful scenery, with waterfalls on broken rocks around the Cairngorms. However, the weather continued to be relentless, leaving us soaked to the skin yet again. Once we had made it into Edinburgh, we checked off another Wetherspoons on Pete’s ‘Wetherspoons Tour’. Having some time for well earned relaxation, we took in the sights of the capital of Scotland, and admired the culture on offer.
Thursday 14th June
This was probably going to be most daunting ride of them all as our next stop was York. However, there were a few stop off points along the way. Our first stop was Berwick-On-Tweed and due to the weather continuing to be a thorn in our sides, a warm coffee and a chance to warm up was much appreciated.
We managed to sneak in a quick visit to the Angel of the North along the way, but due to time not being on our side, we didn’t stop for long. Once we arrived in York, we warmed up again and checked another Wetherspoons off Pete’s list. We bumped into the Lambretta Club of Great Britain and welcomed an evening of discussing scooters and enjoying each other’s company.
Friday 15th June
Four days of intense riding meant comfort during riding became an issue (especially on mine, as my seat wasn’t exactly the best for long-arduous journeys). Once we had reached our B&B, we had to count our blessings as the heavens opened yet again. We visited the birthplace of William Shakespeare in Stratford-Upon-Avon and enjoyed a few nice bars in the surrounding area and of course checked off another Wetherspoons.
Saturday 16th June
Exmouth was our next port of call, which turned out to be a rather enjoyable ride. The weather appeared to be on our side as the sun was beaming down and continued to do so as we enjoyed a few relaxing drinks. This was a short leg to the journey, but a rather enjoyable one as we had time to relax before making the final journey to Lands End.
Sunday 17th June
The day had finally come, the final leg. We had to soldier onwards to Lands End, however, our scooters had taken a battering after travelling nearly 900 miles at this point. Paul’s scooter was the first to begin with the issues. This began a stop-start journey with his side panel coming off numerous times.
Thankfully signs had started to point us in the direction of Lands End. The finish line was near. Bearing smiles as large as the Cheshire Cat, we reached Lands End. It was time for the photos with all three scooters on the finish line. Now it was time for the celebration drinks, which we thought were quite well deserved after a weeks hard riding.
Our stopover for the night was in Penzance at the YMCA, with the room being very basic we weren’t happy, so a few moans followed, a quick shower and off to Wetherspoons…
Monday 18th June
After reaching our goal, it was now time to focus on travelling back home to the Midlands. The next stage was to figure out where our stop over point was going to be. We all agreed on Weston-Super-Mare as it was the safest option considering Paul with problems with his scooter.
Travelling to Weston-Super-Mare everything went a little pear-shaped as we lost each other due to taking a wrong turning but we counted our blessings as we all managed to make it there. After watching the England match and being disappointed with the outcome, we needed some food. Surprisingly this time we didn’t go to a Wetherspoons, but instead enjoyed an excellent curry.
Tuesday 19th June
Tuesday was the day we finally returned back to normality. Unfortunately, the problems didn’t stop there. My front rack had broken, so a rearrange on the racks was needed. As we were arriving in Gloucester Paul’s scooter finally died and with the problems that had occurred, he finally gave up and called the RAC.
After a quick cuppa and a bacon sandwich, Pete and I soldiered onwards towards home. We had done it. John O’ Groats to Lands End and back home And I couldn’t be happier with the achievement. I would 100% do the trip again, as it was such a fantastic experience.
As this was all for a good cause, we managed to raise around £300 for the Derbyshire Children’s Hospital, which is fantastic. I would like to thank everyone who donated to this cause.
Riders: Rob Luke, Pete Robinson & Paul Husbands