Total distance: 1448km
Day 1: Land's End to Wadebridge: 102 km 1283 m
From Land's End, the route passes along the clifftops of the Cornish Coast, passing the beautiful St. Michael's Mount. After St Columb, you reach the highest point, at just over 150m, and then get a descent of 3km into Wadebridge.
Day 2: Wadebridge to Chulmleigh: 94 km 1174 m
For the most part, this is a bracing ride along the tops, among woods and green fields as you cross from Cornwall into Devon, and skirt round to the north of Dartmoor. The area is cut by several major rivers including the Camel, the Tamar and the Dart, which provide steep ascents.
Day 3 Chumleigh to Glastonbury 109 km 1296 m
The first part of the day is quite hilly, but the last part is relatively flat. The route climbs to almost 300m either side of Cove, which is located deep in the Exe valley. Then you pass into the flatter lands of Devon and Somerset.
Day 4 Glastonbury to Monmouth 108 km 1355 m
You pass the fine gothic cathedral of Wells, and then get very stiff climb of 200m out of the city as you go over the Mendips in Somerset. You cross Dundry Down to Bristol, and then the cycleway over the Severn Bridge into Wales. From Chepstow, you wind your way up the sinuous and beautiful River Wye, which forms the border of England and Wales.
Day 5 Monmouth to Oswestry 148 km 1206 m
This part of the route follows quite closely the course of Offa's Dyke: the massive earthwork built by the eighth century Mercian king to lay down the boundaries of his kingdom. The route undulates along the Welsh borderlands, reaching over 200m in a few places. The route also passes through the historic cathedral city of Hereford.
Day 6 Oswestry to Preston 128 km 698 m
This part of the tour goes from the Welsh Borders, Shropshire, and then through the plains of Cheshire. You go through Chester, and then on through the Wirral, and cross over the Mersey to Liverpool. From there, you span the coastal plain of Lancashire.
Day 7 Preston to Keswick 131 km 1375 m
This day takes you through the Fylde country of Lancashire, and then round Morecambe Bay and round into the Lake District via the Lyth valley and England's biggest lake, Windermere. After traversing the east shore of the lake, you pass Rydal and Grasmere, over the ancient boundary of Dunmail Raise and past the imposing reservoir of Thirlmere, in the shadow of Helvellyn. Further on, you skirt the beautiful Derwent Water in to Keswick.
Day 8 Keswick to Dumfries 116 km 748 m
From Keswick, you pass the peaceful Bassenthwaite Lake and the villages of the northern Lake District and plain of Carlisle. In order to avoid the M74 bridge, you take a detour through Longtown, the last one in England before crossing over the Sark and into Scotland. Then you pass along by the north coast of the beautiful Solway Firth through the Dumfries borderlands to Dumfries itself. Out of the Lake District, the way is quite low-lying, and even flat but quite beautiful all the same.
Day 9 Dumfries to Brodick 135 km 1077 m
The going gets a little hillier out of Dumfires as you pass through Nithsdale in the Queensbury Hills, and ascend up to nearly 300m at New Cumnock. You then pass down towards the coast north of Ayr to the historic post of Ardrossan for some island-hopping! A ferry will take you to the Isle of Arran.
Day 10 Brodick to Oban 127 km 1620 m
You cycle about 20 miles round the north coast of the beautiful Isle of Arran, before taking a ferry from the back side of it on to the long Campbeltown peninsula, and then up along the coast of the Western Highlands. No summits are higher than 200m, there are several sharp ascents on this leg.
Day 11 Oban to Fort Augustus 128 km 1340 m
A spectacular day of cycling as you take an almost straight course from Oban to the shores of Loch Ness, via Fort William, Loch Lochy and Invergarry. The mountains rise straight from the sea, including the UK's highest, Ben Nevis. You follow the shore of the inland lakes that strike right through northern Scotland to Inverness. The going however is relatively even and low-lying, and partly goes along a cycle path to the north of the lakes.
Day 12 Fort Augustus to Dornoch 123 km 1209 m
Don't spend too much time monster-watching as you ride most of the way up the northern shore of Loch Ness! You turn inland at Drumnadrochit, and then encounter one of the bigger hills on the route, taking you up from Loch Ness to over 300m before you pass down into Muir of Ord and Dingwall. This takes you along a beautiful coastal route on the north shore of the Cromarty Firth, past Tain to the Dornoch Firth.
Day 13 Dornoch to John O'Groats 141 km 1300 m
This route takes the East coast of the Caithness Peninsula along a quiet coastal road. Along the way you pass the ancient castles of Berriedale and Old Wick: stark reminders of the Norse invasions. There are two notorious hills in this section: coming out of Helmsdale and Berriedale. Otherwise, you'll have a wild and wonderful ride round the rip of Caithness and to the fabled sign at John o'Groats.