FJRPilot's UK 4 Corners & SS2000 (2012)


Brit Butt Rallymaster RBLR1000 routemaster
Premier Member
IBA Member
This is my first real ride report so I apologise if it goes on a bit and sorry for the lack of photos. :p

I'm not a great lover of riding miles for miles sake which is why I prefer events like the Brit Butt Rally rather than just blasting up and down the UK motorway network to get a certificate.

Back in 2012 I planned to do a 4 Corners ride as this seemed a bit different, and due to the very nature of the locations meant that I would see a great deal of the country and the different road types this ride would offer. To kill two birds with one stone I contemplated combining the ride with the annual Royal British Legion Riders Branch RBLR1000 sponsored ride in the middle of June. This would help with the mileage and their northern route almost goes as far as one of the corners; John O Groats.

Next I had to sit down, study the rules and see if I could make the timings fit. Living just outside Norwich meant my obvious starting point was Lowestoft which is only a 40 minute ride away. As I wanted to start the RBLR1000 ride with everyone else, I used 05.00 hours on the Saturday morning as my datum and worked backwards from there.

I could get a hotel room at the same Castleford Premier Inn we used for the Brit Butt Rally and it was only a 10 minute ride from the RBLR1000 start at Squires Cafe. The hotel also has a 24 hour fuel station around the corner so this was another bonus.

I wanted to break the ride up so planned to have a minimum 4 hour sleep break before starting the RBLR1000 part, so again I worked my timings backwards from arriving at the hotel around midnight on the Friday night. I calculated that if I started out from Lowestoft at 04.00 hours on the Friday morning I would avoid congestion around London, get down to Land's End around midday, then back up to St.David's for around 18.00 hours and so have time to get across to Castleford by midnight. This meant to finish the 4 Corners in 36 hours I would need to arrive at JOG by 16.00 hours on Saturday afternoon.

I checked with Phil while I was planning and so long as I only rode one distance ride and one named ride I could combine my 4 Corners, and if I rode back to Squires as part of the RBLR1000 route this would give me a Saddlesore 2000 :D So to clarify I would be riding the RBLR1000 route but only claiming a normal finishers certificate for it, not a SS1000.

To add to my fun I'd also agreed to lead a biking friend around the RBLR route too. He would make his own way from Norfolk to Squires and I'd meet him there at the start. We'd agreed in advance that if he didn't feel he could ride the distance I would continue alone and he would stop for a break or turn back.

In the week leading up to the Solstice weekend I made sure I got plenty of rest and took the Thursday off work to prep the bike and make sure everything was sorted. My wife and neighbours signed my witness forms and I was tucked up asleep in bed by 20.00 hours. Fast forward to 02.45 and my alarm went off and I was up, washed, dressed, and out the door in 30 minutes and on my way to Lowestoft for my official timed start receipt.

Daylight was beginning to break on my way to Lowestoft and I put my over suit on as the weather was set to be bad a few hours later. My watch said it had just turned 04.00 so I topped my main and auxiliary tank up at the 24 Hour pump checked the receipt and set off on the first leg of my adventure. The A12 can be a bit crap and slow in places so I headed across to Beccles then down to Bury St.Edmunds to pick up the A14 then M11 to London.

I hit the M25 just before 06.00 hours and had a relatively easy ride anti-clockwise to the M4. I had a very short breakfast stop and refuel at Membury Services (I think :rolleyes:). I was then worried I would run into rush hour traffic around Bristol but actually this was fine and I had a straight run down the M5 to the A30.

My next planned stop was at Blackwater Services on the A30 north east of Redruth. My timings were looking good and traffic had been light. This was now mid to late morning. I arrived at Land's End shortly after noon and had to convince the parking attendant at the kiosk that I wanted to pay 50p for a parking receipt. He was adamant that Enders weren't charged but I explained the reasons for a receipt as I didn't want the hassle of going round to the hotel or queuing at a shop. 15 minutes later and after I took a photo and a snack lunch I was off back the way I'd just came.

I ran into heavy traffic at Cardiff but kept moving. A few hours later I arrived at my third corner St Davids. I stopped at the Texaco station just on the outskirts and checked my fuel receipt had the St Davids address. I was there for 10 - 15 minutes and took on board more food and drink.

As my overnight stop was at Castleford I had planned to head back to the Severn Crossing then blast up the M5, around Birmingham on the M42 then north east to the M1 and A1. I stopped for a receipt before crossing the Severn, again on the east side of Birmingham and finally at Doncaster on the A1. This was so all my receipt locations would prove the way I'd ridden.

Before I reached Castleford I'd already completed my first 1000 miles in under 24 hours so was now a happy bunny. I arrived at the Premier Inn ahead of schedule and after giving the bike a quick check over I was zonked out in bed at around 23.30 hours.

No sooner had my head hit the pillow then my alarm went off again but it was mysteriously now 04.15 :eek:. I got washed and dressed and went to top the bike up before heading over to Squires. My mate Jamie arrived shortly after me and we hung around waiting for the big start at 05.00 hours.

The quickest way to my last corner was by the northern anti-clockwise route so it was off to Berwick-on-Tweed on the A1. The day went quickly and after my favourite bit along the A9 north of Inverness we sailed through Wick to the post office at John O Groats. With an hour and a half to spare my 4 Corners was finished. We both topped our bikes up at the lonely fuel pump and after checking my receipt the lady behind the counter kindly agreed to sign my witness form. We nipped along to the beach for the obligatory photo before turning south once again.

The heavens opened before we reached Inverness and the next hour or so was miserable. When we reached Fort William I made the decision to stop at McDonalds instead of the designated Esso station. We took the chance to dry out and warm up a bit, got our receipts for a rubber burger and got on the road again.

After crossing the Erskine Bridge we picked up the (then) new bit of M74 along the southern part of Glasgow. I knew it had recently been finished but chuckled to myself as my sat nav showed me sailing across no-mans land and busy suburbs before joining the original bit of motorway again the other side.

We stopped once more at some services on the M74 and this would be our last one before reaching Birch Services on the M62 near Manchester. The rain continued but we pushed on. The motorway became very empty and it was great riding along in lane 1 with Jamie in lane 2 with both bikes on high beam for what seemed like miles.

The M6 seemed to go on for hours and hours but we eventually turned off and headed for the M62. Apart from a minor navigational error near the finish we rode back into Squires at around 01.30 hours. Wet but happy. I think I had ridden around 2150 miles in total since leaving Lowestoft on Friday morning and had now secured my 2000 miles in under 48 hours.

We sorted our paperwork, got it all checked then rode the short distance back to our hotels. Jamie had cocked up and booked into the Premier Inn at the next junction along the M62 so we said our goodbyes at Squires. I had a good lie in on Sunday morning then returned to Squires for breakfast and to chew the fat before riding back home.

My ride paperwork was checked and sent off to be verified. Two certificates arrived a few weeks later and are now both proudly hanging up in our little study.

I'd had a fantastic three days on the bike and can highly recommend giving the 36 hour 4 Corners ride a go. If you don't want to ride like a lunatic (Gold in 24 hours) you can easily afford to have a short overnight stop in the middle.

When planning your route I'd just advise working out your timings so receipt points will be open and available. If anyone fancies starting from Lowestoft I'll happily ride over and sign your witness form :)
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