E2E Gold


Well-Known Member
So it was Friday and I was sitting at home looking at the BBC weather pages and thinking that it might just be okay for an attempt at a E2E Gold….. there were high winds forecast up in the north, but the forecast said they would abate by early evening!
They didn’t.
I had nothing planned for the weekend and when the opportunity arises one simply has to grab it and run!

Well the first thing was the decision on which direction to make the run and this for me is not a hard choice, starting at Land’s End is always preferable for the one direction run when you live in Scotland.
Why? Well it’s better to have a shorter run home in my opinion, unless you have something else planned!
Leaving Cornwall in the early hours is in many ways safer than leaving John O Groats in the early hours…. Anyone who has encountered just one deer on a Highland road, in the dark, will know what I
mean. Having previously lived in Argyll for 15 years and experienced many close encounters of the Bambi kind in both day and night scenarios, I much prefer south to north, despite finishing in the dark at the northern end….
I rode down to Cornwall on Saturday, arriving late afternoon and had a room booked at Penzance youth hostel.
Why they still call them that when in my experience far more of the users of these hostels are at the other end of the age range, myself included….
Checked in got myself into the café and ordered up some food first, after eating that got my self up to bed early doors… this plan was slightly thwarted by a group of cyclists who had checked in at the same time who seemed to communicate by shouting between rooms for an annoyingly long time.
Then, later around 11pm they did the same thing whilst holding a discussion outside my room door, I opened the door and delivered my disapproving scowl without uttering a word and they got the message… too late to be of any benefit to me so I got ready and left the hostel around 11:35pm.

Headed for Land’s End and parked up to take some shots of the bike in the dark…. Then went to Tesco PZ to fill up and get the obligatory receipt and picture!
So off we go and the roads were suitably quiet, making really good time until I got to some road work signs, vaguely remember it being somewhere as you get towards the moors when the fog appeared, it was like flying into a cloud….. speed down to around 25mph at times and it went really cold.
Then there appeared some roadworks….
These were a convoy style setup and as there was only a couple of cars and a truck in front of me, I rode straight to the front….. only to have to wait some time until they decided there was enough of is waiting to make it worth escorting us through… nothing whatsoever came the other way….

Once through it was patchy fog for a few more miles then as the road dropped down a bit it warmed up a touch and the fog dissipated…
The next challenge was some torag in an Audi with WW2 searchlights for headlights coming up behind me on main beam….
Onwards ever onwards to the services at Gordano for a quick fill up on petrol at £1.60 a litre, or £7.27 a gallon… When I had my first car I used to fill the tank for less than a fiver…. Up to Scotland and back to Yeovilton cost less than £30, it’s a bit dearer now!!!
Mind you the M5 started north of the Severn back then!

So up and on to the M4 to be greeted by closure signs, off on to the old A4 for a few miles, then back on! My planned route was to go off and through Bracknell to the M3, this went very wrong when the SatNag took me down a side road and wanted me to turn down a road with a “no through road” sign.
Decided that was a non-starter and tried to get back on route…. Failed.
At this point I zoomed out the map on the satnag and aimed for the M25, ignoring the incessant pleading of the Garmin.
Once on the M25 next stop was Clacket Lane services and a little more cold fog and several apparently suicidal drivers later, this was my next fuel stop.
I also had a quick toilet break, a wash up and as McDonalds appeared to be the only reasonable choice, a breakfast whatever it’s called…… bun?

Back out, mount up and find the fuel station… which is a bit weird if you have never been here before as it’s on the slip road out… not off the car park…. A bit different if you ever go there.

Off again and through the Dartford tunnel for the first time in a long time, I lived in the south east for a couple of years back in the late ‘80’s when there wasn’t a bridge…. It was quieter now than then….

So the slog up to the Shell fuel stop at Haydock island on the M6…. This was supposed to be M6 all the way but my ZumoXT real time traffic reported delays due to an overturned car on the stretch to Birmingham resulting in a quick decision to go up to the East Midlands Airport turnoff and take the A50 towards Stoke on Trent and get back on the M6 there.
A brief rest stop at J23 M6 for a quick sandwich and a cold drink as well as fuel just before lunchtime on Sunday.

Setting off again it was quite busy until north of Preston but once up there it was much quieter and progress was good.

The bike was going well with no issues and this was my first serious ride since fitting the Russell Day Long and I can safely say, the best money ever spent on an upgrade to a bike.

Next stop was the Shell station at Old Inns of the M80, this section is much improved since the motorway was built, back when it was the A80 dual carriageway with ATS and RA’s it could be very slow and frustrating. Now it’s a 60-70 mph queue in busy periods…..
My next scheduled stop was Wick, within range and shouldn’t be a problem…. Except when at 20:30 hrs the Tesco filling station is shut due to a failure of the pay at pump…..

A chat with a couple of locals revealed that there were no other open stations on a Sunday night.

It was blowing an absolute hooligan and intermittent rain, so a gentle ride to finish and to the hotel was required… no more pictures due to the wind and rain as well as the darkness…..

On arrival at the hotel in Thurso I thought I would be able to get either a takeaway or worst case a sandwich… wrong.
The hotel did nothing other than a bag of crisps, there were no takeaways still open due to refurbishing or some other excuse.
Two bags of cheese and onion crisps, three shortbread biscuits and two cups of tea later, I went to bed and slept soundly until my alarm went off in the morning…..
Well, that was my E2E Gold, 21 hours and no major issues, finding Tesco closed at Wick was a relatively minor issue so long as I didn’t actually run out before getting finished and to the hotel.

As it transpired, when I filled up the next morning in Thurso, I still had nearly three litres in the tank, assuming it really does take 25 litres! This was the first time I rode well beyond my comfort zone on fuel!
The gauge went off the bottom of the scale, which was more than a little worrying.
It appeared, given there was no pay at pump in Thurso either, that this may have been a telecoms issue relating to those services. The filling station in Thurso did have their normal card services though.

So for anyone else running up this way out of normal working hours, I strongly advise filling up at Inverness regardless of how well you think you are doing and don’t rely on Tesco fuel pay at pump being open!
Obviously if the station is open during normal hours you should be okay.

Note : Just received my verification from Martin, a great relief after thinking I wasn’t going to get to the hotel afterwards!

Lands End @ midnight......

1B Lands End_noplate.jpg
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I m trying to order saddle sores stickers, it will not let me log in. Do you have a email address that can help me? I have been a member since 11/6/2021. Did saddlesores April 12th, 2023.
jhamelman this is my IBA logn in name

Mailing address
Jerry Hamelman
Avondale, AZ
Cell Phone: 623-810-4570
You are probably right I always get those two places mixed up one has petrol stations the a cracking fish and chip shop the trawler