Miss Baldwin's GREAT BIG Cycle Ride: Land's End to John O'Groats!

What a lovely added bonus! We travelled down to Inverness on a minibus and then a few of us cycled the short distance (16 miles) out to visit Loch Ness... No, we didn't see the monster but the sun was, once again, shining brightly! (Seems we've all got the cycling big... You'd think that 1053 miles would be enough!) A beautiful place. Last night before the long train ride home. Still on a high and feeling proud: every mile and every hill ridden and extra miles out to Dunnet Head, the Northern most point. Only two out of the twelve riders can say that and I'm one of them! :)
So that's it. Done. What a truly, truly amazing experience. I've made some incredible friends and feel on top of the world!!! I've raised money for two superb causes (time to pay up people if you haven't already! Ha ha!) and been through an emotional roller coaster. So many people have sent me messages and made me feel so loved and supported every day - thank you. In particular, I've found incredible support from two people who three weeks ago, I didn't know. Marian Riddock and Fiona Smith, it's been a pleasure.
My Uncle has been with me throughout in my thoughts and I'm certain he gave me wonderful sunshine and the tailwinds to finish. I so wish he could have been with me doing the ride himself as he would have loved it, but I feel I've done him proud... Time to have a little celebration drink... cheers Uncle Paul!
Now to begin the long journey back down South! Inverness tomorrow, then London and Brighton on Sunday... and Manor Field on Monday!!
Thank you for getting me through the miles Michelle Eades, Sue Bennett and Claire Stacey! Thank you to my fellow riders who gave me sponsorship today. Thank you also to my brother Andrew Baldwin for technical and product support and training and of course, the two people who have shown IMMENSE support for my incredible journey, my wonderful mum and dad, John and Jane Baldwin! x
Hello September!! Wow! The penultimate day... Done! A beautiful ride today with little climbing! The highlight was riding around the edge of Loch Naver... absolutely stunning scenery! Luckily, though forecast, the rain didn't set in but it was really quite cold! We arrived in Bettyhill just before 3pm, which is our earliest arrival time so far. I did some bike maintenance (replaced the tyre as it was bulging!) before taking a little look around and admiring the beautiful beach. I'm very excited about tomorrow, but it will be tinged with quite a lot of emotion... and sadness that this epic journey will be complete! I'll just need to get back home before school on Monday!!
Thank you for getting me through the miles Helen Bentley, Kit Messenger, Beverley Gilbert, Sam Bowles, Karen Ashworth, Faye Johnson and Clare Scott and the lovely lady at the Highland Hotel in Lairg!
Compared to the last two days, today was nice and easy! 56 miles from Inverness to Lairg, riding alongside the water's edge and through lovely countryside. The wind was very blustery so we had to be very focused as there were times when it was hitting from the side! Our picnic on top of a hill saw several of the lunches fly off the plate! We passed by a small waterfall and we're lucky enough to see salmon jumping. What a sight! Just two more riding days to go... on to Bettyhill today and apparently there's some wonderful scenery en route - let's hope the weather allows us to enjoy it!
Thank you for getting me through the miles Leisa Collins, Finley Wood, Emma Stenning, Andrew Baldwin, Lauren Gorringe-Santos, Skye Hanwell, Catrin Halliley, James Houldcroft, Karen Ashworth, Amy Miles, Charlotte Hoskins and Sam Bowles!
Getting back on the bike this or morning was, shall we say, TOUGH after yesterday's efforts! I was hoping for a nice easy ride... No. More 20% hills and a fiesty head/side wind was in store! Not as hard a ride as yesterday, but still tough when riding it 1 day later! Inverness! Wow! How did that happen?! After a few hours on the bike, I had hoped finding my room would be quite straight forwards but it would seem not... I'm faced with a sign that says 'rooms 23-29' with an arrow to the left, and 'rooms 16-24' with an arrow to the right. Which way would you go to find rooms 23 and 24?!? 
Thank you for getting me through the miles and up the 20% climb Claire Stacey, Neil Bentley, Anna Abbott, Andrew Baldwin, Leah Sharp, Finley Wood, Kelland MacAndrew, Katie Allen, Beverley Gilbert, Karen Ashworth and Sam Bowles!
And by contrast, what a really HARD cycling day today was!! But then, I guess it would be based on it being one of the '10 toughest cycle climbs in Britain' and that we were going from sea level to ski resort level! 20-25% hills that went on for AGES and yes, I am incredibly stubborn... and no, there was NO WAY I was walking! (You lot didn't give money to do a sponsored walk so yes, I cycled it all!) It was incredibly tough, both physically and emotionally but the sense of achievement I cannot put into words! What an amazing day for scenery, weather, challenges, friendship and finding out just how far I can push myself when I put my mind to it. Oh, and I got the first puncture of the trip... not bad that 13 riders have made it this far without any punctures... I knew it'd be me! Ha ha! Still, sitting by the roadside changing a tube in the middle of the Cairngorms in glorious sunshine... well, that's not so bad, is it?
Thank you for getting me through the toughest miles Leisa Collins, Sam Bowles, Andrew Baldwin, Jane Cole, Catrin Halliley, Karen Ashworth, Amber Smith, Stuart Campion, Amy Miles, Richard Barlow, Dave Webb and Skye Hanwell!
What a lovely relaxing day cycling! Just 39 miles of rolling hillside. We dodged the rain, getting to the hotel in good time to relax... before tomorrow's hard slog! We're now in a very small place called Bridge of Cally... quite literally, there's our hotel and a shop opposite! I'm still finding it incredible that little ol me has managed to get on my bike and ride so far!! 
Thank you for getting me through the miles Wendy Hoskins, Catrin Halliley, Andrew Baldwin, Claire Wilkinson, Marie Fry and Phil Lane!
After a lovely rest day yesterday (which included a lot of laundry and bike maintenance so not particularly restful!), we got back on the bikes this morning... I am pleased to say that it felt fine and indeed the ride through Edinburgh that followed was wonderful! A few rolling hills here and there but nothing too taxing! Lovely sights whilst travelling over the Forth road bridge and then through the countryside to our overnight stay in Kinross. Tomorrow should be quite straight forwards too... our shortest day at 39 miles and not many hills to climb... it's the day after that that I apparently need to be more worried about! But, I'm taking a day at a time and tomorrow looks good!
Thank you for getting me through the miles Andrew Baldwin, Leisa Collins, Karen Ashworth, Aidan Gibbons, Domonique Hill-Anderson, Skye Hanwell, Stuart Campion, Phil Lane, Michelle Eades and Catrin Halliley, Viv Ware and Sue Baldwin!
Oh. My. Goodness. Today was REALLY tough! Before lunch saw us ride 20 miles of steep up and then steep down until we made it into Scotland! I cannot believe that I have made it this far! Incredible! 65 miles into Scotland through the Scottish Borders in misty rain which left me feeling very cold. Long hard rides up did reward with good descents but all in all, it was a very tough day riding, especially as the mist prevented any decent views. A rest day tomorrow after my 85 miles means I'll be able to do some maintenance on my bike - time for new brake pads! and a visit to the launderette! I'll also need to go for a walk... If I rest up completely, I'll seize up and riding will be really hard after that! Still, I'm in Scotland and I'm very happy that I've raised them money I have so far... Jolly hard work but oh so worth it! 
Thank you for getting me through these very, very tough miles Sue Bennett, Debbie Hawkins, Amber Friend, Amy Miles, Carter Wright, Kelland MacAndrew, Matthew Baker, Trina Beckett, Viv Ware, Andrew Baldwin, Beverley Gilbert, Emily Rae, Charlie Smith and Neil Barton!
Another spectacular day full of sunshine and views!! Some really tough climbs but the views were REALLY worth it! Many sheep taking quick dashes across the road made the ride interesting but I managed to miss them all AND not fall off my bike! We chatted to some bikers at the top of a fantastic hill climb and when I explained why I was going through all this, one of them gave me some sponsorship... thank you to that random biker! Best get my dinner and an early night... 80 miles tomorrow... and Scotland! Wow! How have I made it so far?
Thank you for getting me through the miles Stacey Williams, Andrew Baldwin, Charley Maitland, Nick Hammond, Richard Barlow, Matthew Baker, Karen Munro and Karen Ashworth!
Was it sunny today? Yes. Yes it was! There was sunshine like the first few days of the trip and boy, were we lucky we weren't in Kirkby Lonsdale yesterday as the flooding here would have meant we wouldn't have got to our hotel! We also wouldn't have seen the most amazing views today! It truly was spectacular... it's such a shame that I can't upload any photos for you (signal is very sketchy!) - I will try and do so when I get the opportunity! We climbed to the highest point in England (during our trip) and had a picnic right in the middle of nowhere. It was delightful. I can't quite believe that we're half way and in two days, we'll be heading into Scotland! Such an incredible experience. My day started on an abdolute high too, as more sponsorship came in and I now have over £1000 banked and ready for charity! (More has been promised to me, and if you want to sponsor me, it's not too late!) Thank you to Peter Baker for taking me into four figures! When those hills get tough, and believe me they do, I remember why I'm doing this! 
Thank you for getting me through the miles Emma Cundall, Andrew Baldwin, Nick Hammond, Joe Coleman-Smith, Kate Stoner, Kit Messenger. Lauren Gorringe-Santos and Archie Tipple!
Did it rain today? Yes. Yes, it rained! Constantly... For 64 miles!! Luckily, the last miles saw the sun pop out and the day brightened massively. My legs were well up for today and coped well... thank goodness! Fortunately, we didn't miss out on too many wonderful views as there was a lot of time spent on urban riding. Due to the length of the ride, we were later in and due to the extreme rain (Garstang had flash floods and the river has broke its banks...) the bike needed cleaning and the chain re-oiling... there's lots of extra things to this ride that need to happen to keep those legs turning!! Two of my group have already had bike failures so I want to keep on top of my maintenance! 
Thank you for getting me through the miles Sharni Prentice, Germaine Walsh, Skye Hanwell, Andrew Baldwin, Will Irving, Lauren Gorringe-Santos, Nick Hammond, Michelle Eades, Karen Ashowrth and Emma Cundall!
After yesterday's struggle, I found my legs again today and enjoyed the ride far more! We took a lovely scenic route and found Ironbridge to be a wonderful place! I played 'tourist' for quite some time and marvelled at the engineering... especially considering how long ago it was made! No pictures tonight sadly, as the wifi isn't strong enough to upload any. Early night tonight needed... 71 miles tomorrow... I do hope the weather forecast is wrong as its a complete washout!!
Thank you for getting me through the miles Nick Hammond, Connor Tipple, Lesley Kirwan, Karen Ashworth, Andrew Baldwin and Ollie Gilbert!
Well, today was a real toughy for me. My legs really ached, it rained and we did a lot of hills... my mental will power got me to the end; I had to dig deep and remember the reason why I am doing this and that there is no way that I can stop!! Tomorrow is another new day and I hope that I will rest easy tonight so that I can attack the day with renewed vigour! Despite it being tough, I did still enjoy my day... especially arriving in Ironbridge and seeing the spectacular bridge! Another highlight was turning a corner in the road to be joining a queue of traffic following a steam engine... Pedal power was way faster, especially up hill! 
Thank you for getting me through the miles on my most challenging, mental grit day yet Sarah Hawkins, Andy Marsh, Andrew Baldwin, Karen Haworth, Skye Hanwell, Katherine Cole, Evelina Ndlovu, Steve Chappell and Karen Ashworth!
So, I guess you could say the feature of today has been RAIN! I guess it had to come some time... and boy did it come! The first 50 miles were wet, but the last 9 saw the sun come out again! Today was nowhere near as full on as yesterday with things to see but it was beautiful riding through the Forest of Dean. There were some really, really tough hills to conquer today with tired legs but conquer is what we did! Some extra sponsorship came in from a lady in a coffee shop amazed at how wet but happy we were! Thank you to the anonymous donor!! Only 46 miles to do tomorrow so we get a little lie in... before we head off towards the hills again!
Thank you for getting me through these particularly gruelling miles Ed Hoskins, Emily Winfield, Viv Ware, Trina Beckett, Skye Hanwell, Lisa Chinnock, Andrew Baldwin, Leisa Collins and Sarah Hawkins!
Wow. Just wow. How can one day offer SO much? I'm still in disbelief that I a) rode up Cheddar Gorge (STUNNING place!), b) rode over the Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, c) rode over the old Severn Bridge, d) made it to Wales and e) saw Tintern Abbey! Incredible journey! I received more sponsorship today from Christine Stokes and Ceri Hughes and my Aunt came to dinner with the group. Such a great day that I will NEVER forget. Can tomorrow top that?
Thank you for getting me through the miles Karen Bingham, Skye Hanwell, Andrew Baldwin, Lisa Chinnock, Amy Miles, Simone Clark, Jack Cundall, Gemma Pelling, Michelle Eades and Ed Hoskins!
Well, now I find myself at the end of day 4 and 63 miles later! Another beautiful day of sunshine, laughter and riding! Much flatter terrain today over the Somerset Plains... a rest from hills was most definitely in order!! We also saw two herons flying about but none of us could get a decent shot of them so you'll just have to believe me! Into Somerset today... Out of it tomorrow as we head into another country! Boreda Cymru!! (Hello Wales!) 
Thank you for getting me through the miles Nick Hammond, Dave Webb, Andrew Baldwin, Kit Messenger, Germaine Walsh, Skye Hanwell, Lisa Chinnock, Michelle Eades, Oli Crane, Chloe Cornwell, Andrea Tully and Karen Bingham!
We've reached Devon!! (And yes, I have the obligatory picture by the 'Welcome to Devon' sign but the wifi isn't good enough to upload anything here at the moment!) Long slow hills were the name of the game today... some pretty awesome 'downs' though! Beautiful scenery and glorious weather... again! We rode 53 miles today and battled the head wind yet again but the people I'm with are fab and I'm having an amazing experience! Tomorrow... 63 miles... Eek!
Thank you for getting me through the miles Bekki Noone, Amy Miles, Oli Crane, Ivor Elkin, Beth Edlin, Jess Graham, Nesta Perrine, Andrew Baldwin, Janet Hurl, Laura Dinsdale, Chloe Cornwell, Emma Stenning, Gemma Pelling, Will Irving, Lisa Chinnock and Nick Hammond!
Thank you also to the extra sponsorship not allocated to miles: Denise Tester, Jane Waugh, Fiona Smith and the pub waitress!
Sorry I couldn't update last night... I was busy having dinner with my first ever teaching assistant who I haven't seen for ages - so good to catch up and great that I was able to incorporate it into this epic journey! It was also fantastic to get some extra sponsorship from the waitress at The Blacksmiths Arms in Lamerton where we ate... it was good to be reminded once again why I am here doing this. The wind was full on so it was quite a battle... but we managed to conquer 55 miles with some really steep inclines! 
Thank you for getting me through the miles Annika Klein, Sue Baldwin, BB Hawkins, Andrew Baldwin, Karen Ashworth, Ollie Kendall, Ruby Tomsett and Bekki Noone!
What an ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE DAY! The weather has been stunning, the views just wonderful and the ride not too gruelling! I had a 'trip down memory lane' when passing through Marazion, as this was a place my family and I went on holiday to when I was a child - such fond memories and a delight to return. We found our different 'paces' as a group of cyclists and are beginning to bond! One day down, eighteen more to go!! I wonder what tomorrow will bring... apart from more cycling!
Thank you for starting me off and getting me through these first miles John and Jane Baldwin, Burgess Hill Marching Youth, BB Hawkins and Elaine Hammond!
I've arrived in Penzance! It was a long journey but my friend and colleague, Mrs Pelling, got me here safe and sound! I've an amazing room and the view out to sea is stunning! Meeting the rest of the group was a pleasure and I'm VERY excited as to what tomorrow's first day of riding will bring! I'm not sure how much sleep I'll get tonight due to excitement and nerves but it's time to try! Goodnight all... Let the riding commence! :)
11.08.16 The last full day before I leave! Lots of packing to be done! A bit of a panic was had on Sunday afternoon when the bike had a parts failure - luckily I was at the end of the 50 mile training ride! Straight to the mechanics at The Cycle Shack in Lewes on Monday - they were amazing and made the bike a priority when they found out about my short journey ahead! A few parts and a full service (planned!) later, and it's ready for the off! Thank you again to all the sponsorship that's still being given... It is really spurring me on to do this! :)
With a week or so to go, training is almost complete... the Great British weather is certainly putting me through my paces! I'm really pleased to say that I have now covered all my miles with sponsorship (which is amazing!) so I shall ride all those miles knowing someone is metaphorically sitting on my shoulder, willing me on! Thank you SO much! (You can still sponsor me if you haven't yet... every little makes a big difference...)

Dear Parents, Carers and Friends,

As some of you may be aware, earlier in the year I completed the Brighton Marathon, raising money for two charities close to my heart. This was ‘Step 1’ of a two-part challenge that I have set myself for 2016. ‘Step 2’ will see my ride me cycle from Land’s End to John O’Groats in August. (This step was inspired by the learning with my Year Three class last year when we studied the journey together!) Both sets of money raised will then be donated (in full – I have paid for all my own expenses) to the two charities who gave my family and me great support through my Uncle’s terminal illness -- from the day he was diagnosed, through to his passing and on to the present day. The money for Marie Curie will be going directly to the hospice in Penarth, Wales who cared for my Uncle at the end of his life.

My aim is to raise £1000, asking people to sponsor me a £1 a mile, for as many miles as you can! To make it more interesting, I have created a grid for people to be assigned a particular mile… which means I will know exactly who is helping me to get through those gruelling miles – this will certainly be a great motivation for me! I have already asked friends and family, so some numbers are already taken – my Mum and Dad have taken the start and finish!

If you would like to sponsor me, please send in your £1 (s) with your child, who can then see me during break times to choose the miles they would like to sponsor. I intend to keep a blog here on this page of the school website (technology permitting!) as I go and it would be lovely to be able to mention my sponsors too!   

I know that any donation you make will collectively make a huge difference to the fantastic work of these two charities, so thank you in advance from the very bottom of my heart.

With kind regards,

Miss Baldwin