And finally after another later ride the same day, here I am at John o’ Greats after a total of 1744 kilometers and 27 days… and an amazing amount of 1 000€ raised to help to restore a forest in Mexico, thanks to 14 contributors. As I wrote in a previous post, I’m both happy and a bit sad to have successfully reached the end of this challenge.
I would like to say a special thank you to all of you that provided moral support and encouragement, family and friends. It really meant a lot to me and was a great help during the journey.
I will write a specific « After journey thoughts » post later on, meanwhile here are some interesting facts about John o’ Groats along with the usual postcard 😉
John o’ Groats is at the northernmost tip of the Scottish mainland. Dunnet Head is further north, of course, but there’s not much there except for a rather essential lighthouse. With Land’s End 876 miles (by highway) to the southwest, together they form the two most extreme inhabited towns on the British mainland.
John o’ Groats might sound like a fine Scotsman, but he was actually a Dutch settler – Jan de Groot – who came to the area in around 1489, and ran the ferry from the mainland to Orkney at the end of the 15th century, after the island had been returned to Scotland from Norwegian control in 1472.
Modern day John o’ Groats is, of course, something of a draw – in 2005, Lonely Planet described it as a ‘seedy tourist trap’, and you even needed to pay to have your photograph taken at the famous ‘Journey’s End’ signpost, which has its counterpart in Land’s End. Since 2013, the town has undergone considerable refurbishment, the hotel has re-opened, and photographs are now free.