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Thursday, 8 September 2016


Today I got to the target of £2,016 for the charities.  The lovely Julie and staff at Mere Motors have been selling wristbands and badges and collecting with 2 tins at the counter over the last couple of months and thanks to them today the amount raised of £118.09 shot us past the target !!! WOOHOOO !!!

Happy dance....

This is all thanks to the amazing and generous people of Ellesmere and the surrounding areas that kindly put their hands in their pockets for charity.

I cannot thank you all enough.

If you still want to donate please do at the virgin site  www.virginmoneygiving.com/Richardowen

Thank you once more and love and peace and for anyone who threw their money into this wishing well may your wishes all come true. XXXXXX

Until the next time ?

Wednesday, 17 August 2016


Almost there now, just £110 short of the target of £2,016.

If anyone still wants to donate please please do at...


I just want to say a massive thank you to the lovely Julie and all the staff at Mere Motors in Ellesmere for collecting and selling the Help For Heroes wristbands and metal badges. You are awesome and it means a great deal.

Please call in to buy one and donate there if you are passing...

Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Day Eight - Culbokie to John O Groats

I woke up on Day 8 at 5:30 AM feeling good.  This was the last day and I felt a wave of pure joy move over me. Tomorrow I would be home to Debby & Callum. I was 99 % sure I would be going home a success and not a failure.  Today was looking like a tough but manageable 109 miles.  I had a crosswind but this was not as bad as a headwind which would have been really bad.

My clothes were nice and dry and my breakfast was laid out ready by the lovely Anne.  This was my view sitting at the breakfast table at Annes's house.

My day started with a very steep drop down towards the Cromarty Bridge.  I stopped to take this pic and I am sorry fellow cyclist doing what looked like a tidy effort of a climb.  I would also have hated it if a cyclist was watching at 6:45 AM in the morning.  He panted past with the usual nod and smile.  I will have to check later on strava who he was, I bet he had a top 10 or even a KOM.  I was there to witness it.  Sorry by the way I just realised strava and KOM may not be known to anyone who is not a keen pedaller like me and a few reading this.

Strava is an app/website where you can record your activities in a social and competitive environment.  Whn you record a ride on a GPS computer you upload it into your profile and build a history. You can also make or compete in segments. There are millions around the world by now.  This little hill in Culbokie will no doubt be one of them.  If you get the fastest time you are King of the Mountain, a lady would be QOM.  My mate Paul Roberts has about 80 KOM's !!!  And this is someone I regularly ride with in a fantastic club called the Crapi Wheelers on a saturday morning.  They are the best bunch of lads you could wish to meet. Paul has helped me so much to prepare for this week.  Just keeping up with him is all the training anyone would need for a lejog.  I highly recommend it.

I think there is a link to the right of this blog page where my strava records are shown.  If you click on this it should show you my records.  If you are interested...

I think this bridge is my fourth.  I always wanted to cross over the Fourth Bridge  haha.

To say I was a bit excited to actually see this sign is the understatement of the decade.  John O Groats 109 miles. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I had to stop for a wee dram...

Mmmm  Nice red jacket there..  is that new....

Lovely place, shame it was closed.


I had looked at this route many many times so when I could see the sea to my right and not see any other land just past the town of Golspie I knew I was on the last stretch and heading towards my goal.

This is a beautiful part of Scotland.

Stopped at a sign that reminded me to top up with more EPO. No wonder I was feeling so tired.  More drugs is the answer !!!  haha  only joking.

Had a nasty shock just out of the town of Helmsdale.  A massive 800 feet climb.

Stunning views at the top. And then a brillaint descent down to Berriedale of 13% and then up again for 1 mile at 13% !!!!!!!  OUCH !!!

Berriedale.  Very very steep down and very very steep up.  Also very dangerous, I heard later of all the deaths of lorry drivers burning out their brakes on the downhill and taking the bend too fast !!  I am not surprised.  I touched 46 miles mph going down it.

North Sea oil...  if you zoom in you might just see them. Apparently they are unmanned pumping stations now.  The root of the wealth in this area, especially in Aberdeen.  Not so much now though.

I forgot to mention that not getting any mechanical problems all the way I was starting to become paranoid about my chain and tyres.  I pretty much nursed them all the way from Inverness that day.  What would it be like to have an issue on day 8 the last day.  I had some angels watching over me and they were still on duty that day too.  Best days weather for ages too.  It was sunny.

Says it all really,  I am in a great mood and love is emanating from every orifice !!

Is that an end to the land I can see before me !!!

The road down to John O Groats...  with my first ever view of the Orkneys.  The first island is Stroma and the larger one behind is Hoy.

I bloody well did it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Met some other people at the first sign going into JoG. A lovely couple from Kent on a 1 month tour of Scotland.  I think they were made up they met an actual end to ender on their day here.  I realised after it is the wish to see a lejog finisher for a lot of people coming here for a days visit...

I have never ever felt so elated and relieved in my life.

The money shot.  what every end to ender wants to have in their memory bank.  The young lad who took this picture I found out later was a member of the Royal Air Force.  He came over to me later with a fist full of cash to donate.  It was a lovely touch and made this moment and photograph even more special.  He noticed the Help For Heroes logo on my top.

When I arrived at the finish line which is this sign there were about 20 people around it sort of taking turns having pictures taken and a few turned around and spotted me patiently waiting for my turn.  They kind of all stepped back and gave me my turn at once.  I realised that if I was there on a days visit what better way to cap off a visit than to see an actual end to ender finish their ride.  What is better than seeing a grown man cry like a baby uncontrollably...  I held it back (well maybe not all of it)

I actually had a round of applause... then I did let it go and blubbed a bit.  Would not be me to do any different I guess after reading this blog I bet you had money on that.

I turned and kissed the sign and had my moment. And it was then that I realised I was so calm and so full of life that I think the rest of my life will be that little bit different. Putting myself through this was the hardest thing I have ever done. Solo, unaided and in just 8 days with no support and just what I brought along with me.  Most if not all the stuff I did bring was never used.  I could have packed just my contact lenses, phone charger, phone, toothbrush and toothpaste as this is all I used throughout the whole journey.  

My new iphone background picture for a few years I reckon....

The cafe.

A lovely couple from Richmond in Yorkshire took this.  They were about as excited for me as I was and they were so nice. Again, the people I met along the way were the best part of this trip.  Thank you so much Mr & Mrs Rodgers and also thank you so much for the kind donation too.

I rang Debby just after this picture was taken and said "Guess where I am"......  That phone call talking to her and Callum was very special and I did not want it to end.

So that was that, my journey was done and I just had to find the B&B and get rested and get the train home the next morning.

I found the Hamnavoe B&B easy and there was Gordon waiting for me.  I could not have picked a more perfect place to stay.  I think Gordon has seen more end to enders either at the start of their journey or like me at the end than anyone else.  He knew exactly what to do and what I needed at that point.

He showed me this picture of the strangest contraption anyone he ever had as a guest had attempted the end to end on. Apparently you stand up on it and use it like a cross trainer and it propels you forward at quite a speed.  The company's owner/designer was the one riding it. They are called Elliptigo.  Amazing contraption...   http://www.elliptigo.co.uk/

He drove me to the local hotel the Seaview and got me sorted with a table and recommended the haddock which was fantastic.  I instantly realised that Gordon is a legend around here. A very popular and great man. I was in the only clothes I had on, my cycling gear, so everyone chatted to me and I was asked all about what I had done and it was great.  The bar was full of visitors and locals and I have to say I have fallen in love with the Scottish people.  I already knew a few of them from the U2 fan club and they are some of the nicest people I had ever met.  Namely Barry Dickson and his family, Suzie and loads of others but I just thought maybe it was because we had a mutual love of the band.  Barry is one of the kindest people I know and the person who put me and my friends Paul & Jonny up for 3 nights in October and drove us to and from the gigs in Glasgow.  He fed us too each morning with the largest breakfast he could muster.  He lives in Edinburgh so he drove us the 40 miles in and out both days.  Our only mistake was trying to repay him in any way possible.  We did try but what we think of him as mates is repayment enough.  You my friend are a rock star !!

I sat next to the couple from Kent and in between shovelling food into my mouth we had a great chat. Next to us was a Scottish family and he put £10 in my pocket. I found out he was an ex soldier and really appreciated me raising money for H4H.  It was the perfect end to a fantastic day.  Gordon came back down to the hotel to pick me up and we went back to watch the football.  We both watched in amazement as Iceland knocked England out of the Euro cup. So we were out of Europe twice that week. He joked, "I hope you don't mind laddie but I am supporting Iceland as it is our local team. We are actually closer to there than Gretna from here"  I hadn't realised how far north I had travelled. I told him I am a very proud Welshman like my dad.

So that brings me to the reason for doing this whole thing.  My dad.  What can I say dad,  I love you, I always have and I always will. You have made me what I am and every day I look back on the greatest adventure of my life I will think of you.

What have I learned from this.  Too much to write down here but I now think I know the meaning of life.  If I get to my target of £2,016 I will post one more time on this blog.  It will change my life. A small change but for the better.  All I will say it involves everything in my life except a 2 wheeled contraption called a bicycle.

My pockets were full of donations from my day at John O Groats...

I think Gordon may have been stretching the truth a bit but Iceland were the better team by a country mile..  I now realise it was a joke..  Duh !!

My tickets home which I had brought with me the whole way were drenched through so I took pictures of them and put them on the radiator to dry.  Fingers crossed they are valid.

Sunset over JoG.   Weird fact, the sun comes up at 3:30 AM and sets at 10:30 PM at this highest point in the UK in mid summer !!  The dark never really gets chance to settle in so it is pretty much always light even at 1 o clock in the morning.  If you stood pointing direct North the sun doesn't rise in the east and set in the west like near home. It is more like up at North East and down at North West. There you go, you've learned something from reading this blog.

Proud Scottish man is Gordon.  I don't blame him...

Thankfully my parcel was there safe and sound and I had a very welcome surprise.  I had forgotten I packed an old fleece and woolly hat for the return journey to Crewe. Along with some extra food and my ipod !! Woohoo  I get to listen to music for the first time in 8 days. !!!


Stats:  Almost 110 miles ridden that day, 4826 feet climbed. 6288 calories burned. Just over 7 and a half hours in the saddle with average speed of 14.6 mph.

Final stats for the whole trip....


The height climbed is equivalent to one and a half times up Mount Everest ( gives me an idea for my next challenge )

The calories were as much as you would consume if you had a large Dominos pizza (2222 calories) for breakfast, dinner and tea every day for 8 days on the run or ate 8 Big Macs & medium fries a day (845).

Scary isn't it !!

Thank you for reading this blog and if you have donated already THANK YOU, I LOVE YOU.

If you haven't as Bob Geldof said at Live Aid in 1985. Get your ******* wallet out and give us your money.  It's for 3 amazing charities......

click on this link..     www.virginmoneygiving.com/richardowen

I now have a right hand book end in my minds library. My happy place. If I ever have cause to go looking for it to remind me and ease any pain it will always be there.  Somehow though with my newly refreshed and rebuilt soul I doubt I will.  It will be my everlasting memory of how much I love my wife Debby and children Jessie & Callum that is the one single thing I have taken from this. It's simple really, the most important things in life are right there around you all the time and the rest of my life will be dedicated to showing them how much they mean to me every day. 

Until the next time.......  ?  

Thank you XXXXXX