I'm a double cancer survivor, cyclist and walker who does various challenges for different charities, mainly cancer-related.

In 2016 I climbed every single 'Birkett' in the Lake District - all 542 fells over 1,000' within the National Park, including all 214 Wainwrights. I've also done a three-week cycle tour of Tasmania in February 2015 and amongst other things, I've cycled from Land's End to John o'Groats (2003), Rotterdam to Lemvig (Denmark) (2005), walked the Pennine Way (2008) completed (my first) ascent of all 214 'Wainwrights' in the Lake District in only 55 days (2009), cycled 4,500 miles around the coast of Great Britain (2011), cycled all 42 of the accessible Western Isles of Scotland in under a month (2012), twice abseiled 230 ft from the top of The Big One in Blackpool, cycled the WWI Western Front from London to Compiegne via Ypres and Arras (2014), cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014), done a bit of sky-diving and cycled Australia's Great Ocean Road - just before lockdown in 2020.

Altogether I've raised over £120,000 for my charities including The Christie, Cancer Research UK, the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and ABF (The Soldiers' Charity) and I was mightily chuffed to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

I'm a Rotarian and give illustrated talks about my adventures in exchange for a donation to charity, so if you're looking for a speaker leave me a message. I am also Event Organiser for the Ribble Valley Ride Cycle Sportive, to be held this year on Sunday 5 September 2021 - more details at www.ribblevalleyride.org

You can also follow me on Twitter - @CancerBikeMan and on Facebook - just search for Bill Honeywell

Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research, whilst The Rosemere does fantastic work for patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Day 19 – Durness (NW corner) to Dunnet Bay (NE corner)

79 miles, making a total of 1,326 so far.

I was absolutely freezing when I woke up, and tomorrow is the first of June! There was a big black cloud lurking to the south, but in other directions it was clear, so perhaps it boded well for a dry day.

After the usual 8.00 start we passed the Smoo Caves with its interesting stick-man sign and then wondered why Durness should have a John Lennon memorial.  We had to go several miles south along one side of Loch Erribol, then turn at the head and go back north along the other side, where there was a Great Northern Diver lurking off shore.  At this point we also encountered the only real shower of the day, which I have to say is a big improvement.  We’ve been hearing lots of Cuckoos, and on this stretch – unusually – we saw two.  They look a bit like a grey Kestrel.

After a quick stop on the moors between Loch Hope and Tongue (where a passing cyclist kindly gave us £10 after we told him what we were doing) we crossed the Tongue causeway but then by-passed the town by a more coastal route.

The road now became a long roller-coaster that lasted for much of the rest of the day – a never-ending series long ups and downs. At Bettyhill there’s the Strathnaver Museum, telling the tale of the area from Bronze Age to one of the most infamous episodes of the Highland Clearances.  A downhill section section in the 30 mph zone found us doing 35 mph and Mick (who is a driving instructor) feeling guilty!

Mark and Sandra have so far done well in finding parking spots with a view, but this afternoon they excelled by parking next to the cemetery in Reay. It wasn’t even quiet, as a council employee was cutting the grass.

On past the partly-decommissioned Dounreay nuclear power plant (no more jokes about me glowing, please!) with the wonderfully ironic juxtaposition of six nearby wind turbines (two of which aren’t working – even more ironic), and then to Thurso, easily the biggest town on the route today.

From there it was an easy few miles in the late afternoon sunshine (yes, sunshine) to the Caravan Club site at Dunnet Head, where I was admonished by the warden for cycling in the WRONG WAY, against the One-Way system (“Health & Safety you know”)

Actually, today has been a day of signs – here are just a few:

Smoo Caves, nr Durness – A Matchstick-Men sign saying “Danger – People Below”
Loch Resipoll – Home-made chevrons at a left-hand bend to stop drivers overshooting on to someone’s drive
Car stickers in Tongue saying “I LOVE TONGUE” (I’m a boiled ham man myself…)
On a loch side underneath overhead power lines – “Cast Carefully”

Bettyhill Stores “Open 8 Days a Week”
In Thurso – “ZEBRA CROSSING – Drivers MUST Give Way (Highway Code)”
At the caravan site – “SERVICES – No payphone”

Almost a rest day tomorrow – fewer than 30  miles, but including a visit to Dunnet Head (Britain’s most northerly point, despite what the Rotary Quizmaster said a few months ago!) and Duncansby Head, which is the most north-easterly point. We’ll be staying at John o’ Groats, which is neither. If anyone can explain why it should be Land’s End to John o’ Groats rather than Dunnet or Duncansby Head, please let me know!

1 comment:

  1. Well done Bill, you are doing great:)

    Ali Mills (physio)