Gen Nugee At Lands End

Land’s End to John O’Groats for The Scar Free Foundation

To mark my retirement from the Army, I decided to cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats. This 14-day, 992-mile epic takes in some of the most stunning countryside in Britain but also features over 56,000 metres of climbing, 19% of which are defined as severe. What can I say? I like a challenge! To add a little more jeopardy, the ride was in aid of The Scar Free Foundation and the amazing research I hear so much about.

Despite those somewhat intimidating statistics, I am pleased to report that I and my cycling group, composed of my brother, son, and two cousins made it up to John O’Groats unscathed and had a great time on the way. Fortunately, nobody was injured which I put down to three important daily rituals. The first was 30 minutes of intensive stretching led by my son at the end of each day. The second was eating as much as we liked. Cake and milkshakes featured prominently in our diet. I can confirm that the nation’s best coffee and walnut cake is available in Penrith! The third was our daily stop for afternoon tea. We found that if we didn’t take time out for this break, we suffered more. Our tea-stop certainly set us up for the final push each day.


In this ‘staycation’ year, we also made a point of visiting some of the most beautiful places of historical and natural significance this island has to offer. This included scaling Glastonbury Tor (it is possible to carry your bike up halfway), visiting architectural gems such as Wells Cathedral with its famous 13th-century scissor arch, Tintern Abbey, Ruskin's View of England at Kirkby Lonsdale and a plethora of border castles on our way to Scotland. At Gretna Green we discovered to our horror that the distance from Gretna to London is shorter than that distance from Gretna to John O’Groats – we still had a lot of 80 mile, 8-hour days to go!


Regardless, we peddled on, past Loch Lomond and through wild, deserted valleys. Unfortunately, the weather turned against us at the end of our trip, but we made it to our final destination on the 25th of June. It was a wonderful, challenging, exhausting experience which would not have been possible without the wonderful support of my wife Fra, and Pippa who drove our support vehicle, while having their own Great British road trip.

The Foundation set me a tough target to raise, but thanks to an amazing response, and astonishing support along the way the sum raised was nearly double the original target and will enable more important research into scar free healing. The opportunity to donate is still available to Scar Free supporters, and I’m grateful, amazed, and delighted by the breadth and depth of generosity and support so far. Thank you!