When planning Lands End to John O' Groats we decided upon a scenic route, and one that would challenge us. We also wanted to avoid as many A roads as possible as it's not the sort of cycling we enjoy. I have a Garmin Edge 705 GPS unit, so we were able to plan and draw out our routes using Google Maps. Street View was essential for checking the quality of country lanes to ensure they were suitable for our road bikes. There were a few we missed, but on the whole the routes worked out very well.
Our route deviated from typical LEJOG's. We went through Exmoor, and also cut across into the Peak District. From their we went up to the Yorkshire Dales and then cut across to the Lake District. Not a very direct route but certainly very scenic and challenging. We then went up the west side of Scotland before cutting across to Loch Ness.
I've put up all the photos on Flickr.
All routes were drawn out using www.mapmyride.com (the beta version). Once created I just download the GPX file and put it onto my GPS device. The routes below are the originals. On some days we deviated, only slightly though.
- Penzance Station > Lands End > Penzance (42km)
- Penzance > Boscastle (112km)
- Boscastle > Exford (in Exmoor) (111km)
- Exford > St Briavels (160km)
- St Briavels > All Stretton (111km)
- All Stretton > Hartington (in the Peak District) (111km)
- Hartington > Earby (116km)
- Earby > Keswick (120km)
- Keswick > New Lanark (168km)
- New Lanark > Loch Lomond (100km)
- Loch Lomond > Glen Coe (105km)
- Glen Coe > Loch Ness (95km)
- Loch Ness > Carbisdale Castle (102km)
- Carbisdale > John O' Groats (160km)
The mapping software didn't work out to be totally accurate. I found the total distance was around 1650km. Each route we'd typically add around 2-5km, either through finding shops etc... or having to do slight work arounds. Also Google Maps isn't 100% accurate, especially when compared to Garmin Maps. Often Google Maps would take a more direct route.
The elevation graphs weren't quite correct either. We found we were typically doing around 1200m of climbing a day. On the hardest days we'd do over 2000m. The most we did in one day was around 2800m of climbing (which is comparable to a hill stage in Le Tour).