Dover to Cape Wrath
Whilst most people have heard of the Lands End to John o’Groats route not many people have heard of the Dover to Cape Wrath route. So what about the opposite two corners? This sensational tour takes in some of the best cycling the British Isles has to offer, including the Kentish Downs; Rutland; the Peak District; The Yorkshire Dales and the unbelievably beautiful islands and coastline of the Western Highlands. Have we whet your appetite? Welcome to the Dover to Cape Wrath tour.
The Dover to Cape Wrath cycle tour starts in the South East of England and takes in the quiet country lanes of The Kentish Hills and Cambridgeshire. We then head through the Peak District and the Yorkshire Dales to Penrith and then on to the pretty village of Thornhill in Scotland before we take in the West coast of Scotland and also the islands of Arran, Mull and Skye before we reach the most north westerly point of mainland UK at Cape Wrath.
Covering a total of 997 miles this exciting, challenging tour provides another rewarding experience in a similar vein as the Lands’ End to John O’Groats tour. There is slightly more climbing on the “D2C” but you are rewarded grandly for your efforts as some of the days are unrivalled in the British Isles for their sheer grandeur and beauty.
You are provided with detailed route notes and maps. A tour leader cycles at the back of the group & there is a support vehicle on hand should you require assistance. We also carry a few spare bikes just in case you have a major mechanical problems. Lunches are provided at a pub or a café each day and all your luggage is moved for you.
Whilst emphasis is always on safety we aim to provide a relaxed approach to cycle touring and wish to facilitate a fun and enjoyable tour with many laughs and memorable moments along the way. Our training days in the Peak District are designed to build confidence and discuss some of the logistics of completing a successful Dover to Cape Wrath tour.
The distance we will travel is approximately 997 miles, with an average mileage of 72 miles per day. It should be borne in mind that a reasonably fit cyclist will average around 10-12 miles per hour (including hills) and therefore we will be in the saddle each day for around 6-8 hours.
We will be at the start to meet you at Dover, and at the end we will take you from Durness to Inverness for our final meal. If you are worried about getting your bike home at the end of the trip we can arrange for it to be packed, boxed and sent to your address for you so you can relax when you have completed the challenge.
- The English & Scottish countryside
- Fantastic local cuisine
- Yorkshire, Cumbria and the Lakes
|From 16 June 2017 to 1 July 2017
|From 11 August 2017 to 27 August 2017
The group will be a minimum of 8 and a maximum of 25 people. We feel that this size of group works best as there will always be enough in the group for some good company but there won’t be so many people that it becomes overcrowded.
We stay in a mixture of B&B's and hotels. The price quoted assumes that you will be sharing a twin or double room. If you are travelling alone you will share a twin room rotated with others that have chose the same accommodation option. If you choose the single room option (additional £350) then you will have your own room throughout.
Although the most direct route is much shorter, our route of 997 miles avoids main roads and takes in some of the UK’s most beautiful scenery. Wherever possible we cycle along quiet country lanes and cycleways and only join main roads when we absolutely have to. The terrain is varied but generally flat for the first few days with more hills further north.
All of your breakfasts and lunches are included in the price of the trip. You will have a choice of full English, toast, cereals, fruit juices, tea, coffee etc. Lunches will be provided each day and will generally be a buffet at a cafe or a country pub. Evening meals can be bought at your accommodation or in a nearby pub. The back up van also stops to brews and snacks in the morning and afternoon.
An experienced tour leader will cycle with you each day and be on hand to help with any bike problems that may occur. You will have detailed route notes so that you can go slower or faster than the leader if you prefer or you can cycle behind the tour leader so that you don’t have to navigate at all.
A back up van will leap frog the group a number of times each day so that help is never far away. We carry a range of spare parts so that repairs can be made en-route and we will have a spare bike available in the event that your bike has a serious breakdown.
We highly recommend that you use a bike that you are used to and feel comfortable riding. Your bike should be fully serviced and in good condition before you start, this will reduce the risk of mechanical problems and unnecessary stoppages along the way. Either a road bike or a hybrid bike is preferable however the ride can be done on a mountain bike if you prefer. We have a range of hybrid bikes available for hire (£100 - £150 per person) if you don’t have your own bike. At the end of your trip we can arrange for your bike to be sent to your address (£55) if you don't want the hassle of transporting it yourself.
This tour is suitable for someone with a good level of fitness and who wants a challenge. If you do plenty of training beforehand you should have no problem completing the ride. We will have a training day in the Peak District available if you would like to join the group before the main event.
It must be stressed that a good amount of training before the ride will make your tour much more enjoyable and ensure that you finish your ride. We are always happy to advise you about training plans in preparation for the ride.
Clothing and Equipment:
Clothing for all weathers is recommended so waterproofs are essential. A full recommended kit list is provided & we are always happy to answer any questions that you may have.
You can do washing at many of the B&B's so that you don't have to bring a mountain of clothes.
Dover to Brentwood: 83 miles
Brentwood to The Hemingfords: 76 miles
The Hemingfords to Castle Donington: 79 miles
Castle Donington to Thornsett: 64 miles
Thornsett to Gargrave: 58 miles
Gargrave to Penrith: 73 miles
Penrith to Thornhill: 79 miles
Thornhill - Brodick (Arran): 67 miles
Brodick (Arran) to Craignure (Mull): 78 miles
Craignure (Mull) to Mallaig: 73 miles
Mallaig - Kinlochewe: 75 miles
Kinlochewe - Ullapool: 75 miles
Ullapool to Durness: 68 miles
Durness to Cape Wrath (and back): 24 miles
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Frequently asked questions
1. How fit do I need to be for these holidays?
Our Bikecations are designed to attract people of all ages and levels of fitness. All the holidays can be enjoyed by anyone who is reasonably fit. Some holidays involve greater distances or frequency of cycling and some will cover hillier terrain than others. Our tour gradings and itinerary descriptions should help guide you towards the most suitable holiday options for you. If you are not sure, give us a call.
2. How many miles a day can I expect to cycle?
This depends on the Bikecation you choose. These have been graded so you know what to expect.
For a bikecation leisure cycling holiday a gentle pace is about 7-8 miles per hour, so, if you cycle for four hours, you can expect to cover 25-30 miles comfortably. This leaves plenty of time for sightseeing, picnics, visiting castles or churches, stopping for morning coffee or whatever you want to do. You have all day to get to your next stopover, so you can relax and enjoy the countryside. We can also include rest days when you can enjoy other activities if you require.
For our road cycling and bespoke tours for groups we will advise you what is best for the particular trip you wish to ride on. Usually we try to cover 60-100 miles at an average speed of 13.5 to 14.5 mph but this can be slower or faster depending on the group.
3. What do I wear for leisure cycling ?
It is important to be comfortable when cycling so we suggest wearing thin layers of clothing. Padded cycling shorts, a zipped top, windproof light jacket and trainers are standard fare. Fast drying and hardwearing synthetic fabrics are ideal as a base layer as these allow your skin to breathe and wick the moisture away from your skin to the next layer, avoiding the chill which cotton T-shirts can cause. In mid-summer you may just need shorts and a t-shirt. Safety helmets are strongly recommended on all Bikecation holidays and are a legal requirement in some countries so please bring your own helmet. We will send out a What to wear document to you well in advance of your Bikecation.
4. Are cycling holidays suitable for children?
Cycling can make an ideal family holiday, provided the right distances are chosen for the younger members of the party. We would suggest that you call us to discuss the most suitable tours for your children. In most places we are able to offer children’s bikes and child seats, if you have toddlers or babies.
5. How much luggage can I bring?
Your luggage is transported for you every day so bring what you need to make your holiday relaxing and comfortable. Please try and limit it to one item of luggage per person and that it is clearly labelled. On some tours there is a weight limit per item.
6. What happens to my luggage?
We want you to enjoy your Bikecation to the full so, for your comfort, we arrange the transportation of your luggage from one hotel to the next. The only thing we ask is that you leave your suitcases in reception on setting out each morning, and the hoteliers will ensure that it is waiting for you at your next hotel. We will provide luggage labels for you. All you need carry with you are drinks, a camera, waterproofs and sun cream.
7. Is my money safe if anything happens to Bikecation?
Your money is safe when you book your Bikecation. To protect your payments fully, all monies paid by you to us for your holiday are held in a separate Client’s Trust Account and are not released to Bikecation until your holiday has taken place. This practice fully satisfies the requirements of EC and UK law. Please call us if you would like to discuss this further.
Bikecation is also fully licensed by ATOL ( no. T7462) that is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). for full details how how your payments are protected, please read our Your Financial Security page.
8. Do I need to bring my own bike? What type of bike should I bring?
We arrange for hire bikes to be provided for your holiday or tour. However, if you would prefer to bring your own bike then by all means bring it with you, but it must be in good working order. We recommend either a hybrid or a mountain bike fitted with road tyres for our leisure cycling holidays.
For our road cycling trips we can advise on what is best for your situation but we regularly transport bikes to the start destination.
If you do bring your own bike, you should insure it separately. Most household insurance policies can be extended to cover your bike whilst on holiday.
9. What happens if I have a problem with the bike or any other problem en route ?
If you are provided with a bike it will be well-maintained and serviced before being rented out so there should be no problems however, there are emergency numbers provided in the Route Notes for more complex problems.
If you have brought your own bike and you are unable to fix it, we will find you a replacement for the rest of your holiday.
Our road cycling trips will also have back up support with a mechanic unless requested otherwise with a possible spare bike for any major problems.
10. What should I do about holiday insurance?
If you choose a holiday abroad, you should have adequate insurance to cover you for medical expenses and for cancellation or curtailment of your holiday. For holidays in the UK we recommend everyone should have holiday travel insurance. Not all insurance policies cover cycling daily so we recommend Campbell Irvine. For full information, please read our ‘Trip Preparation’ page
11. Where will I leave my car for the duration of the leisure cycling holiday?
In most cases you can leave your car for the duration of your holiday in the car park of the hotel used for the first night’s accommodation. Where parking is not available at the first hotel, you will be advised of the alternative arrangements made for you.
12. I’m on my own – Which holidays are best for me ?
Nearly all our holidays are open to single travellers, but our Group guided holidays may be of most interest. Group holidays give you the opportunity to meet others of like mind and to enjoy cycling together. The group ‘vibe’ continues into the evening if you decide to eat together. A guide will help you appreciate the history and culture of the area you’re visiting.
13. What type of accommodation can I expect?
There is a variety of accommodation ranging from Castles and Chateaux to small boutique hotels and good quality B&Bs, thereby offering a range of different priced holidays. If you have any questions regarding which accommodation is used in the trip you are interested in riding please contact the office.
14. What are the routes like?
The descriptions of our Leisure Bikecations indicate the main types of routes we use on each holiday, such as provincial roads, country lanes, dedicated cycle ways, some tracks and Casa Verdes (disused railway tracks). While we try to use quiet routes wherever possible, you should be comfortable riding occasionally in traffic. Traffic volumes can vary even on minor roads, especially in more popular tourist areas; we sometimes have to use short sections of busier roads to cross rivers or connect scenic routes, and traffic will inevitably be heavier in and near towns.
Some routes include occasional sections on unsurfaced tracks, but these don’t require any specific technical riding skills. If you are unsure of your level, or would like to know more about the cycling on specific holidays, then please do not hesitate to contact our knowledgeable reservations team.
15. Do I need to bring money for food?
All the holidays include a hearty breakfast each day. Some also include lunch and an evening meal. Where they are not included, you are free to choose where and when to eat. Some hotels will provide you with a packed lunch on request, but most people like the freedom of stopping at the place of their choice to experience the local cuisine. Some routes have been designed to incorporate gastronomic delights and will include an evening meal. Details are given with each individual tour.
16. Is it possible to extend one of the holidays from a few days to a full week?
We have the resources to design a tour to suit your requirements, incorporating rest days if desired, taking in places that are of interest to you. Give us a call and we will try to accommodate your wishes. The only constraint may be the availability of the accommodation.
17. Can you arrange flights for the overseas tours?
Flights are not included in the tour price, however we can book flights for you. Holding an ATOL licence means that if you book a tour and flight together with us you will have the added piece of mind of the financial protection offered by ATOL. If you prefer to book your own, we recommend that you wait until your tour booking is confirmed before you book any flights and booking separately means you will not be covered by ATOL. For full information on our flight services please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
18. When are the tours available?
Departure dates are shown for all tours. Please be aware that the holidays are very dependent on the availability of the selected accommodation. These have been chosen carefully, looking for a high standard to ensure you are comfortable at all times. During busy periods this is not always available, so we advise that you should book as early as possible to avoid disappointment.