John O’Groats to Lands End by Pedal Power – The Epilogue

As you have hopefully read in my previous posts, Gerard Magill, our timber buyer here at W L West & Sons Ltd, undertook to cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End with a group of friends. The trip was very successful. I wrote the previous blogs by gaining information from a closed Facebook page written by the support team using mobile apps. Gerard returned this Monday – Larger Legs – Hungry – and enjoying all of the rest he can get. I asked him to summarise his journey in his own words, the elements that I could not possibly write myself, so here is his summary of his 8 days of cycling.

There were some very hard times during the trip and some very good times.

Waking up each morning I often lay there wondering how on earth I was going to ride 120 miles that day.

Over nine days riding we averaged 16 mph over the day. Previously at home I’d been riding 50 miles at 14 mph so we were on a pretty rich pace, led by Mark and Neil, two very keen, fit (and younger) cyclists.

I hadn’t realised how important nutrition was. Eating late the night before meant we were pretty full in the morning but still managed to down a full English (Scottish / Welsh) Breakfast. Each hour we had to consume 90g of carbohydrate to maintain our calorie input, so our breaks were spent scoffing fruit, chocolate and energy drinks. Generally we had a late lunch after 70 miles and then had a three course meal in the evening. I still managed to lose a bit of weight and have been ravenous ever since completing the journey!!  Each day we were supported by Clare who was driving the Minibus with the bags, spares and food. She was magic and had a great gift for identifying what we needed before we did. It was like having our own personal Guardian Angel!

They were members of the group that I’d met just before leaving and spending such a lot of time together meant I get to know them pretty well in a short space of time. Luckily we had British humour to keep us going and the smiles took the stress out of the miles. After sharing a room with Mark one night he moaned that it had taken him over an hour to get to sleep. I mentioned that he was snoring after ten minutes and he replied that he did that because he didn’t want to talk to me!

Being 53 I feel that I have achieved something doing the ride, but I wasn’t sure what it was. I’d seen some beautiful countryside, met some wonderful people and been part of a great team. Then I discovered that I’ve raised nearly £1000 for the MS Society so a big THANK YOU to everyone for all of the sponsorship and donations. After that everything seemed to make sense, including sleeping on my tummy for a week!

Would I do it again? Well Dave West asked me that question when I returned to work and………. Yes, I would, I learnt a lot as it was the first JoG2LE trip that I have done, so I would make some changes in how I did it …. No good getting older if you don’t get wiser!!

Thank you Gerard and a very big congratulations to you and the rest of the team. I know that they all had their own charities and it is likely that the whole team have raise between £3000 and £4000, I think that deserves applause and a well earned rest, although I know it won’t be long before Gerard is back in the saddle.

If you would like to support Gerard’s charity, his Just Giving page is still open at:

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or


John O’Groats to Lands End by Pedal power … Days 7 to 9 The final chapter!!

After breakfasting with Gerard’s sister, Ani, who had come over to Monmouth to wish the team well, Day 7 (Thursday 12/07/12) saw the team leave Monmouthshire cycling alongside the River Wye, the day started off reasonably dry. After getting to Chepstow, they crossed the River Severn via the Old Severn bridge. Down to Bristol and under one of Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s great creations – The Clifton Suspension bridge. At this point the rain started and stayed for the remainder of the day. They then headed down over the Mendips. One of the team managed to have a double puncture which delayed him for a time. The rain continued and increased in severity with most of the team meeting in Bridgewater. Gerard had managed to get down to Taunton and was found shivering at the side of the road. All of the team had arrived at their destination in Tiverton by 6 o’clock in the evening, absolutely drenched. The forecast for the  Friday starts with rain and finishes dry, lets hope the dry weather arrives earlier!

The penultimate day sees the a push across Devon and into Cornwall. They left Tiverton at 8.45 for a bit shorter day – 100 miles, but a 7000ft climb. The early start was, as predicted WET, with Truro as the end of day target. Today was probably the worst weather and the most demanding terrain of the whole trip, with headwinds being the most strength sapping conditions they have experienced all week.. The team arrived in Truro 100 miles and a few sore limbs later, for food and few beers and rest before the final day of the challenge.

Saturday and the final thrust to Land End. The team started out at 8.15 and headed towards the Lizard peninsular, this is the most southerly point in the UK, and will mean that the will have visited both the most Northerly and the most Southerly as well as the two furthest points of the UK. The team all reached Lands End by 13.45 in good spirits, to welcomes from their family. All exhausted and looking forward to a good meal, rest and quality time with their families.The whole journey covered 923 miles with 67 hours and 45 minutes in the saddle. The average speed was 13.62mph and the fastest recorded speed was 50.5mph!!! on a bike ? Must have been Mick Bleach downhill ….. with the wind behind him!!

I hope to post more photo’s from the trip shortly together with a personal account of the adventure from Gerard.

This trip has been a personal challenge for all of the riders and they all have their chosen charities to support. Gerard’s is the Multiple Sclerosis Society and he can be supported by clicking on:

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or

John O’Groats to Lands End by Pedal Power … Days 5 & 6!

The team cycled in the England on the evening of day 4. So the start of Day 5 began near Penrith, the day, as we have all been experiencing to date, was a mixed weather one with bright sunshine and very heavy showers. Road and traffic conditions were extremely poor and the van and cyclists were keeping up the same poor speed, slow enough for Gerard to find and pickup a £5 note!!  One of the most energetic points was Shap Fell, must have been a great ride down the other side though? They eventually arrived near Northwich 112 miles later.

Blue Sky for most of Wednesday

Wednesday saw a start around 8.30am, aiming in the right direction is always a good thing, unfortunately this didn’t happen this morning. 6 miles in the wrong direction added to the days total mileage – School Boy Error!! Correction made, they headed down the A49 for muich of the journey.

The weather was better than previous days with mostly sunshine. Ludlow was the stop for mid trip and unlike a lot of the rest of the UK, they managed to bathe in sunshine with an al fresco lunch.

The afternoon presented good average speeds. About 10 miles from their destination for the night, a series of challenging hills slowed them down a little, finally arriving in Monmouth at around 5pm.

Thursday will see them hitting the West Country with vengeance!!

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or

John O’Groats to Lands End by Pedal Power!!

I can think of easier challenges, but our timber buyer, Gerard Magill decided to join a group off fellow cyclists for the challenge to cycle from John O’Groats to Lands End. The event has been


arranged by members of our hauliers Bleaches of Lavant, based near Chichester. The MD of Bleaches, Mick Bleach drove up to Scotland earlier this week, he was followed by the remainder of the group who flew up from Gatwick, ready for their start on the morning of Friday 6 July.

Their first day was cycled in glorious sunshine. They covered 107 miles, with 1400ft climb in 7 hours. That’s not a bad first day.

This morning they started off from Tain at 8.00am, and had covered 45 miles in the first 3 hours! But the weather hasn’t been quite so good. They have now arrived at Ballachulish having covered 114 miles.

Well, hopefully the storms will be kind to them in the coming days. Good luck for tomorrow boys.

Updates to follow.

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or

New Wheels on the Road for Timber Delivery

This week sees a new vehicle in our livery. When you think about it what a great place to advertise! You can cover many many counties in a week’s worth of deliveries, with your message getting to 1000’s of people on a display as large as a roadside billboard.

Bleach of Lavant have been delivering for us for decades, and in the past couple, Mick Bleach has offered for one of his vehicles to carry our livery. This complements our own in house lorry admirably. So this week after careful planning with us the latest lorry hit the road.

Bleach’s plan their vehicles carefully to ensure that they can be used on a variety of different jobs on the few days in the year that we do not require them.

Brian, who drives our liveried vehicle for Bleach’s has been delivering for us for many years and has a great rapport with our customers and a great guy to work with.

So, for the vehicle spotters out there in the South of England, if you see a bright blue lorry with W L West & Sons Ltd blazoned on the side, that’s one of our vehicles.

Don’t forget, for all of your hardwood and joinery softwood requirements…………………

Call our Sales team on 01798 861611 or