King's Staff to Undertake Iconic John O'Groats to Land's End Cycle | King's College Taunton

King's Staff to Undertake Iconic John O'Groats to Land's End Cycle

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This summer, two members of staff will be cycling from John O’ Groats to Land’s End. Described as a “true test of stamina and will,” this iconic cycling challenge sees participants travel over 870 miles across the UK.

Later this month, Deputy Head Academic, Jonty Lawford, will be undertaking the challenge with his twelve-year-old daughter, Isabella.

For three years, King’s Hall pupil Isabella has been keen to cycle the entire length of the UK to raise money for cancer and animal welfare charities. This year, she will fulfil her mission, choosing to support the Teenage Cancer Trust and Ferne Animal Sanctuary, and all before her 13th birthday!

They hope to raise over £4000 for these worthy charities.

To prepare for the event, the pair have been regularly training by cycling across the South West. So far, they have completed a 33-mile cycle around the Somerset Levels, which included a scenic route to Burrow Mump, Langport and Curry Rivel. The latter saw the pair climb to over 250ft; a good initial test for the bigger challenges to come.

The realisation of what lay ahead kicked in on a ride up Gloucestershire’s Staple Hill. Despite a gruelling 2.5-mile uphill climb, Jonty, his wife Heidi, and Isabella were rewarded with an 8.5-mile downhill cycle. In total, the route took 1 hour 30 minutes, with the trio averaging 10.2 mph and covering an impressive 14.87 miles.

Jonty and Isabella are set to commence their journey on July 31. They will follow the Sustrans cycle network, avoiding busy A roads and averaging approximately 60 miles per day. This route will see them travel through locations including Fort William, Penrith, Bristol and Truro, before arriving at their final destination around August 19.

When asked why he wished to take part in the challenge, Jonty said: “This challenge is all about Isabella. It has been a long-standing dream for her, and as her father, I am there to support those dreams.”

The biggest trial he believes he will face is the mental challenge of getting back on the bike each morning. He is also apprehensive about the number of steep hills they will encounter, but believes that, once completed, it will be worth it.

Jonty has never taken part in any endurance-based challenges before, but as a fan of cycling and competitive bicycle races, he believes this to be his own “marathon.”

As well as Jonty and Isabella, Woodard Housemaster, Dave Snell, and his wife Caro will also be undertaking the challenge.

The pair will depart on July 15, aiming to cycle for ten consecutive days, averaging 80 to 120 miles per day. Following the Deloitte Ride Across Britain cycling route, Dave and Caro will navigate the breathtaking scenery of the UK in this true test of stamina.

Both Dave and Caro have competed in sporting competitions before, and decided to take on the challenge after finding a gap in their usually busy summer schedule.

Deciding not to venture abroad this year, the couple, who love to cycle recreationally and are known to enjoy a good cycling holiday, were determined to take the plunge and finally tick off one of their bucket list goals after years of deliberation.

When asked how they are preparing for the event, Dave said: “Caro is the organised one. She has been booking B&Bs for each of our stops, and has managed to map out the entire route.”

Much like Jonty and Isabella, Dave and Caro will be cycling from North to South, where they will be met by friends and family at the finish line.

We wish all of our challengers the very best of luck with their journeys and look forward to hearing about their experiences upon their return.

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