The Action End2End route is designed by cyclists, for cyclists, combining the best that British cycling has to offer in terms of roads, scenery, and landmarks with unparalleled rider support.
The route planners have gone to great lengths to ensure your 1,000 mile, ten-day tour is the perfect balance between outright challenge and fun. Plotting an enjoyable route, on roads with good surfaces and visibility, identifying great rest-stops and marrying up daily distances with manageable ascents requires a lot of work, and we think we’ve got it just right!
Day 1: Land’s End – Tavistock
We gather at the start line and begin our challenge. Our journey starts on winding Cornish roads as we head east towards Penzance, cycling along the sea for a short stretch as we pass the famous monument of St Michael’s Mount. The terrain is mainly undulating but there are a few longer climbs and some shorter steep ones! Inland again, we take winding back roads before joining a quiet main road to Truro and St Austell, passing close to the Eden Project, before cycling on towards Liskeard. The final leg sees us cross the border into Devon and our stopping point at Tavistock. Night hotel (breakfast not included).
Cycle approx 90 miles | Map | Profile
Day 2: Tavistock – Bristol
Today we cross Dartmoor, which is generally recognised to be the most challenging section of the ride. We start with a steep climb onto Dartmoor itself.
The views are fabulous if it’s a clear day, though it can often be a little foggy in this wild part of southwest England, so we take it easy as we climb towards the village of Two Bridges. There is a great descent into Postbridge, site of the well known stone Clapper Bridge, and then we climb again. By the time we reach the small town of Moretonhampstead the harder climbs are over, though there are still a few short sharp hills as the road winds its way to the edge of Dartmoor, where it’s downhill all the way to Exeter. Crossing the centre of Exeter we follow quieter roads north through Cullumpton and Taunton towards our night’s stop near Bristol. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 105 miles | Map | Profile
Day 3: Bristol – Shrewsbury
After crossing the second Severn Bridge we enter the Wye valley. A wonderful downhill section takes us to the beautiful ruin of Tintern Abbey and its pretty riverside village. This is one of the most scenic parts of the entire ride as we follow the Wye River to Monmouth and then on into Herefordshire, leaving Wales behind. The long fairly gentle gradients are still with us as we ride north towards the town of Hereford, with its striking cathedral and red sandstone buildings. We re-join the main road just south of Shrewsbury, where we have a short run-in to our hotel. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 120 miles | Map | Profile
Day 4: Shrewsbury – Preston
Our morning starts with a gentle cycle through the medieval town of Shrewsbury, with its historic black and white timbered buildings, and we cross the River Severn – much smaller than when we crossed it two days ago! We head north, turning onto a quiet country road and passing through the small market towns of Wem and Whitchurch. Our route is mainly flat and the miles pass quickly. We head through a quiet corner of Cheshire on main roads into the most built-up area of our journey, bypassing busy Warrington and Wigan as we cycle on fast flat roads into Lancashire and on to our hotel just below Preston. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 92 miles | Map | Profile
Day 5: Preston – Carlisle
Today is long, but our last full day on English soil! We cross Preston early, avoiding the morning traffic, and head north on quiet roads once more through Garstang and along the edge of the impressive Bowland Forest. The roads are primarily flat as we follow our route through the attractive town of Lancaster, cross into Cumbria, and pedal on through Kendal, renowned for its energy-boosting mint cake! The hills of the Lake District rise to our left as we head towards Shap Fell; at over 1,000ft it’s the most notable climb since Dartmoor. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 90 miles | Map | Profile
Day 6: Carlisle – Kilmarnock
We head north from Carlisle through the small village of Longtown, just before the border with Scotland. Crossing over into Scotland, we pass the famous blacksmith’s forge at Gretna Green, elopement capital of the world, and head through the village. Our first day on Scottish roads takes us on mainly rolling, quiet back-roads west, bypassing the pretty town of Dumfries. The morning’s ride is very picturesque with the lush green rolling hills of the Southern Uplands to either side as we cycle northeast through small towns and villages. There are some long but fairly gentle climbs and descents as we cycle through this beautiful countryside. We pass through the small town of Sanquar, home to Britain’s oldest post office, and a great old toll booth. Nearing Kilmarnock, the roads grow busier but our hotel lies just the other side of town. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 100 miles | Map | Profile
Day 7: Kilmarnock – Inverary
We turn onto quieter roads as we head west to the Firth of Clyde via Irvine and Kilwinning. Following the coast road via the pretty waterside town of Largs, we enjoy fabulous views across the water to the Isles of Arran and Bute. The road continues to climb and descend as we cycle along the coast to Gourock, where we take the ferry across the short strait to Dunoon. We cycle north through beautiful forest and along the shores of Loch Eck; sometimes hidden from view by the trees, at other times we cycle right beside the water. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 80 miles | Map | Profile
Day 8: Inveraray – Invergarry
Our day starts with a long climb out of Inverary, and we start to feel as though we are really in the Highlands! After a few miles we reach the shores of Loch Awe and cycle around the top of it, admiring the ruins of Castle Kilchurn at its head. Heading west to the coast again, we cross over the iron bridge at Connell, with great views of Loch Etive to our right and the Isle of Mull across the sea on our left. Our route now is beautiful, as we follow the coast road with views of stunning desolate beaches, and hilly islands and peninsulas across the water. Inland, the higher peaks are visible in good weather. Skirting the forests of Appin, we head north again, still following the coast, to Ballachulish – where the road splits off to the famous Glencoe. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 85 miles | Map | Profile
Day 9: Spean Bridge – Bonar Bridge
Another day of beautiful Highland scenery awaits us as we head further north. We are nearing our destination now, taking the hills in our stride and our legs feel great! We pass the impressive Commando Memorial soon after we start out, and cycle an undulating route alongside Loch Lochy. We follow the Caledonian Canal to Fort Augustus, with its impressive ladder of canal locks, and come to the foot of Loch Ness, which will be our companion for many miles. We pass Invermoriston and then the ancient Urquhart Castle, very picturesque against the backdrop of the loch. At Drumnadrochit we leave Loch Ness and head north again, uphill to Beauly, skirting the end of the Moray Firth, and on to Dingwall. Look out for seals as we pass alongside Cromarty Firth. Night hotel.
Cycle approx 99 miles | Map | Profile
Day 10: Bonar Bridge – John o’Groats
Today’s terrain is not easy but this is our last day of cycling so the adrenaline will get us there! Leaving Bonar Bridge, we head due north once more, passing through Lairg at the foot of Loch Shin, we’re now truly in the Highlands where the landscape is much bleaker, with rich peaty moorlands and clear rivers. We will encounter very few vehicles on this road. Look out for herds of red deer and birds of prey such as osprey or even the elusive golden eagle, as this area is very untouched. We continue east, cycling parallel to the Coast and after passing the villages of Melvich and Bighouse the roads become flatter and we soon pass the power station at Dounreay. A few miles from Thurso we pass through the high sand-dunes of Dunnet Bay, with its beautiful white sand beach and renowned birdlife, then continue to the finish point at John o’Groats. After time to celebrate and sign the official End to End book, we load up the bikes and head south to Inverness, where we celebrate our achievements! Night hotel.
Cycle approx 105 miles | Map | Profile
Day 11: Depart Inverness
After breakfast we go our separate ways; there are good onward transport links from Inverness.