John O’Groats To Land’s End: The Traffic-Free Way

Every year, hundreds of cyclists set out to bike the distance between the northern tip of the United Kingdom – John O’Groats – and the southern point of Land’s End.

The trip – often referred to as LEJOG or JOGLE, depending on direction – is about 1,500km long. It’s a great distance for a bike tour of anywhere up to a month (depending on your appetite for mileage) but not everyone makes this trip on the most quiet of roads.

There are alternatives, however, including one route that British cyclist David Piper created. It goes from end-to-end across Britain, on quiet country roads and bike paths. He took a few minutes to tell us about it. You can also view the GPS track, which we created from David’s map.


Why did you create this route?

I live close enough to Land’s End to see streams of ‘End to Enders’ trudging up the A30 dual carriageway in the summer. While they’re fighting traffic and slashing their tyres on the broken glass littering the scant shoulder, I’m slashing my wrists in despair at their lack of imagination and planning.

I assume they have plotted the rest of the route in much the same manner when (with a little time invested) they could have taken the road less travelled along the blissful B-roads and scenic cycle tracks that criss-cross our green and pleasant land.

I’d been asked by the anti human-trafficking charity Bringing Freedom to plot such a route and I was so pleased with the results I thought I’d share it with you!

John O'Groats to Land's End (traffic free)
A rough outline of the route. Click for a bigger version on Flickr.

How did you map out this particular route? 

I wanted to use as many of the Sustrans National Cycle Network (NCN) routes as possible, and traffic-free roads wherever possible.

Scotland really stood out in this respect. It was a cyclist’s dream of empty roads, fabulous mountain-scapes and enough bird and wildlife to keep any budding David Attenborough happy. We saw lapwings and ospreys.

In the far north, we could even use some main roads. It’s wilderness up there, and we saw more wild deer than wild drivers!

Can you give us a quick summary?


We started in John O’Groats. From there, we climbed over rolling moorland south of Beauly and dropped down to Loch Ness. We braved the A82 to the quaint town of Fort Augustus but on reflection it would have been far better to pick up the tiny road (NCN 78) that follows the southern bank of the lake.

Land's End To John O'Groats

We then went off-road, beside the Caledonian Canal. We rode past snow-capped Ben Nevis to Fort William, then south of Loch Leven on  parts of the old railway (NCN 78). Next we detoured around Loch Awe past the Falls of Cruachan and the underground hydro-electric plant pumping out millions of watts of clean, renewable energy. Hidden, silent valleys beside Loch Eck took us through the Argyll Forest to the Dunoon Ferry.

Next it was on to B743 and a handful of unclassified lanes. These took us east over the bleak and desolate Southern Uplands to Abingdon – Scotland’s highest village. From here, the NCN 74 uses a deserted road all the way to Gretna Green – where eloping lovers could once be wed.

Land's End To John O'Groats

We climbed into the Lake District on the B5299 (NCN 7) to Caldbeck, then south on Pasture Lane to the utterly beautiful Ullswater before tackling the only real mountain in the whole trip – the Kirkstone Pass, descending to the touristy waters of Windermere.

Land's End To John O'Groats

NCN 55 & NCN 5 took us most of the way from Preston to Worcester through the heart of England’s Industrial Revolution on miles of canal paths. Then it was on to the old railtrack NCN42. We were disappointed that only a little of this was complete but soon it will be a grand route from Cheltenham to Welsh Chepstow.

Bristol is the home of Sustrans so a traffic free route into the city wasn’t hard to find. It took us out again over Brunel’s iconic Clifton Suspension Bridge and later on the Strawberry Line (NCN26), heading south to the gorgeous gorge of Cheddar.

Land's End To John O'Groats

In Somerset, we traced a canal from Bridgewater to Taunton, followed by the B3227 for the 50 miles between Taunton and Barnstaple. Next it was the NCN27 Devon Coast to Coast route, making sure we stopped at the legendary Yarde Café for a pint of homemade cider.

Now in Plymouth, we crossed into Cornwall and rode the magnificent coastal road along Whitsand Bay, hugging the coast until Looe before following the river valley to Liskeard. A short blast along the A38 was unavoidable but we soon got on unclassified roads that trace the new A30 as far as Fraddon.

From there, the B3275 follows the Ladock Valley toward Truro. Cornwall’s tin mining heritage was evident along the coast-to-coast cycleway from Devoran to Portreath. From there, we were treated to a fabulous run along the North Cliffs on B3301. Finally, it was NCN 3 all the way to Land’s End.

What were some of your favourite parts of the trip?

In Scotland, we briefly followed NCN 78. It’s part of an old railway line and in a few years it should connect Oban with Loch Ness. It hugs the stunning coastline and is quite possibly the best cycle track I’ve ever ridden!

I also loved the area around Preston and Worcester. You ride through the heart of England’s Industrial Revolution on flat, pretty and traffic free canal paths. And don’t forget the added benefit of a smattering of lock-side pubs! Willows wept and otters leapt, whilst happy holiday-makers waved cheerily from their converted barges. Fantastic.

Land's End To John O'Groats

Did you ever need off-road tires?

Not really. We first went off-road beside the Caledonian Canal but the surface was fine grit so our standard road tyres could cope with it. This was also the case with the other unpaved sections nationwide.

Isn’t your version of JOGLE a little long?

Our total route was about 2,000km but so what if it took a little longer? That’s the whole point, isn’t it? If you want to sprint up the highway, the record is under two days, so knock yourself out! Or maybe the traffic will first…

More info:


  1. Tom Allen
    20th June 2012 at 10:10 am #

    This is great. Why people expect 10 days of dodging hurtling metal boxes on the country’s A-roads to be enjoyable has always been a mystery to me!

    There is a fairly established off-road LEJOG/JOGLE route as well, which has been at the back of my mind for a few years now.


    • Nick
      26th June 2012 at 8:26 pm #

      Tom do you have a link to the off road route. kind regards Nick

    • Chris Hunt
      18th January 2014 at 8:40 pm #

      I’d be quite interested in that route too especially if a GPX is available. Trying to plan something for this summer.

    • Janet Hughes
      27th December 2015 at 7:31 am #

      I was reading through David Piper’s comments regarding a JOGLE ride from 2012. You have a sentence about a comment about a fairly established off road JOGLE route. Do you have any information on the details of these routes? We are a couple from Australia interested in doing this ride off the road as much as possible using NCN tracks.

  2. David Piper
    20th June 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Thanks Tom – about 30% of this route is ‘off road’ i.e. traffic free and unpaved, but still rideable on a standard tourer

    • Mark
      21st February 2014 at 4:13 pm #

      Hi David, just looking at your route for mid April 2014. You mention 30% off road. Is the route likely to get muddy? I have a Dawes Galaxy, but don’t want to spend much time in the mud. Or were you referring to the other off road route in the comment above?

    • Tricia Frank
      13th November 2016 at 8:11 am #

      If it is off road or traffic free and I plan to have a support car, is it far for them to reach us?

  3. Hattie Parke
    20th June 2012 at 11:44 am #

    This looks like a great route for LEJOG/JOGLE – great to make the most of the NCN. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Abd Rahman bin Abd Ghani
    21st June 2012 at 5:26 am #

    Enjoy reading your articles……a good job

  5. andrew coe
    26th June 2012 at 11:23 am #

    Have also just completed JOGLE. Can really recommend Sustrans route 7 down from Inverness through Central Scotland. We even went through Glasgow on cycle paths by the Clyde.

    • John Clark
      8th April 2015 at 12:23 am #

      great guys. Ive been well jell for ages. Now im doing jogle
      On tuesday 14th April 2015. There seems to be so many routes to choose from. it seems to me just stay on the cycle network and i cant go wrong. route seven looks good to me . routes 1 7 and 74 for Scotland. any coments please for a first timer?

  6. Liz
    26th June 2012 at 5:39 pm #

    Great information. I’ve been wondering if there was an alternative to the A30 in Cornwall/Devon.
    My father cycled LEJOG on his retirement at 65 and again when he was 72. I feel I need to keep up the family tradition and complete it myself. I must set a date!
    Have you any information regarding B/B’s or hostels en route to keep the cost of accommodation down?

    • richard ash
      30th June 2012 at 10:56 am #

      I agree with Martin join the youth hostel association and also take a tent both are ways to cheapen your journey. B and Bs are expensive, they have raised their standards but also their prices over the years. By the way youth, as in YHA, is a relative term, I joined the Scottish YHA and got my old age bus pass in the same week!

      • Liz
        1st July 2012 at 8:13 pm #


  7. Martin James
    26th June 2012 at 7:23 pm #

    I’d agree Andrew – Glasgow cycle path all the way from Loch Lomond was one of the many highlights for me. You can then get on route 74 from Glasgow on minor roads through Carmunnock to East Kilbride, Limekilnburn, Quarter and you’ll barely see another car. Can I recommend your next mission? West to East, that’s Ardnamurchan to Lowestoft. .

    Liz, this might be a bit obvious,but the YHA is a really good starting point. It’s under £20 per night and you’ll meet other LEJOGers to help keep your spirits up. Take earplugs though – usually a lot of snorers! I tried David’s Cornwall route a couple of years ago (he was kind enough to let me sit in his slipstream for a day) and you’re right, it’s a belter.

    • Liz
      1st July 2012 at 8:14 pm #

      Thanks again!

  8. Graeme Willgress
    26th June 2012 at 10:07 pm #

    As I’d expect from you David, a brilliant looking route. Sorry I missed you in Barnstaple, Trevor (trailer) was misbehaving and I had to sort it. I’ll be finishing at Orchard cafe again. Be great to see you and catch up

  9. Mario Preston,Canada
    27th June 2012 at 5:22 am #

    Thanks for sharing…that route in on my favorite list…

  10. Toni Mostyn
    30th June 2012 at 10:15 am #

    Great reading your E2E journey. It bought back memories of my tour with my partner last year. It was interesting to read of the similarities (strawberry line, the wonderful Yarde cafe,Bristol) So many ways to choose, but like you we spent most of our time off main roads and chose canal paths, trails(Tarka, Camel) and followed the great network of sustrans routes. I have included our blog address for your interest.
    Toni Mostyn(Australia)

  11. Kieran Whelan
    15th April 2013 at 8:13 pm #

    Hi, just started the route planning for my solo JOGLE. I’d like to know if there is some software program I can insert some locations in I want to visit along the way and then for the program to provide route map linking those points on a traffic light route end to end? I’ll be taking my Blackberry 9900 but if I’d be better buying some Garmin + software then I’ll do that. I’ll be taking a map too! Any pointer to best on;line route planner would be fantastic. Thanks

  12. Dawn Turner
    3rd May 2013 at 9:35 am #

    This looks great. We did a similar thing through France last year (890 miles) from Calais to Coullioure on the Med and had a great time. We are in our 50s and cycled an average of 55 miles a day over 18 days – took in the scenery and met some lovely people on the way. I would recommend this to anyone and having always dismissed JOGLE in the past this route might change my mind!

  13. steve
    14th May 2013 at 12:51 am #

    hi seen your page.i am looking to do the ride some time in june or july next year 2014 and would like to do your route. will you be doing the ride in any of those months so i could tag along. im doing it for a local kids football team so want to keep costs down. many thanks steve in barnsley

    • trevor dolan
      25th August 2014 at 5:51 pm #

      Hi Steve

      A group of us are planning to do lands end to john o groats either last two weeks in july next year or las in july first in august. Raising money for Laurie Foundation to provide practica;support for women with advanced breast cancer.


  14. Stephen
    31st May 2013 at 2:45 pm #

    This looks great. I was just wondering how long it took to complete the whole route? And are there any alternative routes also following the NCN route that pass through Edinburgh? Possible an East coast version?

  15. Craig Sherrington
    1st October 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    This route looks great, I am hoping to get a team together from my pub in Cumbria to do the JOGLE for a local charity in Seprtember 2014,and we have been looking at less busy traffic routes, most of our teams have Road bikes and will have a support vehicle, are there long sections or ‘off road’ that are not suitable for road bikes and not accessible by vehicle?

    Thanks Craig

  16. Kiran
    30th December 2013 at 8:47 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this wonderful route David. My partner and I followed most of the route this summer and it was great to be off the beaten path that the usual JOGLE route follows. We really felt like we got to see the country properly this way. I definitely would not have done JOGLE if I hadn’t seen this route. Great route and a great holiday!

    • Phil Coates
      15th January 2014 at 11:06 am #

      Hi Kiran.
      I hope to cycle the JOGLA in May and was wondering how you managed to get a more detailed map of the route David Piper planned. I have attempted to open the GPS page, but unfortunately, without any success. The route described on the web site looks ideal for me as i would prefer to ride on a quieter (off road) type of trip rather than the more direct route normally recommended.


      • Kevin Thorpe
        31st January 2016 at 6:53 pm #

        Hello Phil,
        How did the trip go?
        I would like to attempt it this summer.
        Cycling is new to me, I’d like to be doing 100 miles a day.
        P/S I walked it last year.
        Kevin Thorpe.

  17. ian jackson
    2nd March 2014 at 9:27 am #

    hi david thinking of doing john`o groats lands end your route looks great to make it a little different i`am going to canoe inverness to fort william and also do the three peaks on the way what do you think

  18. ian jackson
    3rd March 2014 at 6:50 pm #

    hi your route is just what iam looking for planning to do ride in september also thinking of doing three peaks and canoeing loch ness as part of it what do you think

  19. Ewen Smith
    16th September 2014 at 1:18 pm #

    Hi , I am planning to run this route for charity in the next few years. I will do this self sustained with a small running trailer for my tent etc. I think this is a brilliant route and although a bit more challenging and longer a much safer and more scenic route. I will suffer so would like to enjoy the scenery and not be dodging cars and lorries . THANKS.

  20. Cliff Henderson
    29th December 2014 at 4:14 pm #

    I am planning to do JOGLE durin July 2015, do you have a map that I could use or any further info 1.e places you stayed overnight the miles travelled each day etc,,would be appreciated, as I am very interested in taking this of road route.
    Many Thanks

  21. Paul
    20th September 2015 at 7:40 pm #

    Hiya, probably being dim but i wonder how long it took you and where you stopped each day??

    Three of us are looking to do JOGLE next summer and as much off busy roads as poss sounds ace!!

  22. Christof
    25th October 2015 at 12:43 am #

    Are there a lot of cycle barriers on this track?
    I will drive the e2e route with a triplet.
    Is this possible?

  23. James
    5th January 2016 at 6:28 pm #

    Hi, me and a couple of friends are looking to do JOGLE this summer on our longboards (skateboards) and we figured that the best and most enjoyable way to do this would be by using cycle routes the whole way. However, the road surface for our route would have to be smooth/tarmac as skateboards do not cope very well off-road. Does anybody know if the road surface in the route above is entirely smooth or if not, if there is such a route? Any feedback or ideas would be hugely appreciated!!


  24. Jon
    14th January 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    Great article, & full of passion!

    As a budding (read ‘new’, or ‘green’) tourer – I’m most interested in HOW the route was created.

    I just checked the GPS link above, and started on the south [Plymouth] end of the trek. The route travels the western edge of Dartmoor National Park roughly paralleling the A386.

    At two points you’re crossing a river. One of these is shown as off track…did you swim?

    When I’m out exploring detours can be great, and backtracking…not so awful. What I want to know is was this route (or other routes any other reader has made) done through trial and error, satellite imagery to confirm paths/bridges presence in these ‘off-track’ proposed segments, scouting &/or local knowledge…or what??

  25. Leon
    19th July 2016 at 10:37 pm #


    I’m interested in a lot of this route but ride on a hybrid with 25mm tyres on at the moment. Do you think I’d need something wider than 25s on a lot of the cycle paths? Thanks.

  26. Beau
    25th August 2016 at 10:21 pm #

    A fantastic route – thanks for sharing. I’ll be on a carbon road bike – is the 30% ‘off road’ unsuitable or ok?

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