Northern Route – Day 1

My Northern Route got off to a flying start start today. 

I wasn’t able to leave until 11.30am for various reasons but the weather was amazing plus the wind gods were with me giving a gentle Easterly tailwind to my first destination, Lichfield.  

The route took me north of Leicester through Bradgate Park and past Cropston Water which was shimmering in the autumn sunshine. Also, met a friendly young cyclist called James who joined me for a few miles…

I took a short rest in a lovely village near Tamworth called Harlaston which had an interesting church called St Matthew’s that caught my eye. 

I rolled into Lichfield at around 2.30pm. I’d never been before and I though it was a beautiful town. It had a quaint pedestrianised centre with winding lanes which led past a lake up to the cathedral. 
I loved the cathedral and its setting with spacious lawned areas which had commissioned sculptures dotted around (sorry didn’t get the name of the artist!). The cathedral building itself dates from around the 12th century and is stunning. Go and visit!

I refuelled at a garage – food not petrol! – and then set off towards Cheshire via the A51. This was a fast main road but still quite picturesque. Power stations aren’t traditionally thought of as pretty, but I thought these water towers looked cool near Rugeley…


The last 15 miles were really hilly and I was tired but finally rolled into Sandbach at about 6.30pm where some friends are kindly putting me up. Popped into town where the ‘super moon’ was hanging over the church, and then went to the Old Hall for some food and a well earned pint of ‘Headless’ from the local Redwillow Brewery. 

Chester, Liverpool and Manchester tomorrow!

The Final Trip

I have now completed plans for my final trip to the remaining 14 cathedrals in my challenge.

I will set off on my 675 mile Northern Route on Sunday 27th of September and will arrive at my final cathedral, Peterborough on Saturday 3rd of October.

The cathedrals I will visit and approximate schedule is….

Lichfield Cathedral – 27/09/15

Chester Cathedral – 28/09/15

Liverpool Cathedral – 28/09/15

Manchester Cathedral – 28/09/15

Blackburn Cathedral – 29/09/15

Carlisle Cathedral – 30/09/15

Newcastle Cathedral – 30/09/15

Durham Cathedral – 30/09/15

Ripon Cathedral – 01/10/15

York Minster – 01/10/15

Bradford Cathedral – 01/10/15

Wakefield Cathedral – 02/10/15

Sheffield Cathedral – 02/10/15

Peterborough Cathedral – 03/10/15

Here is map of the rough route….

Northern Route

As usual I will be staying over in either B & Bs or with friends who have kindly offered to put me up. I intend to keep up my tradition of sampling local ales on my way round (it’s a hard life!), so please feel free to suggest any beers you think I should be drinking!

Join me for the Final Cathedral

All being well, I will reach the final cathedral, Peterborough at around 1.30pm on Saturday 3rd of October.

Peterborough Cathedral

As this is the conclusion of my challenge I would like to invite as many fellow cyclists as possible to join me on the ride into Peterborough for a final group photo outside the cathedral. This could make a great photo and will really help on a final push to reach my fundraising target of £4200. Total at time of writing is £3186.23.

For those that don’t know, I have undertaken this challenge in memory of my brother Allister who died in 2008 aged just 32 owing to mental health problems. So, all I ask is that anyone joining makes a minimum donation of £5 (but can be more!) to my chosen charity ‘Rethink Mental Illness’.

Or even better, why not create your own individual or club fundraising page and join my Just Giving Team? I will do my best to arrange for a FREE Rethink cycling jerseys for any that join my fundraising team.

Please note that I do not expect any further donations from those who have already donated or helped with fundraising but would love you to join me….

I will be starting out somewhere near Newark on this date, so people can either….

  • Meet me at Rasell’s Nurseries & Cafe in Little Bytham between 11.30am and 12.00pm. I will set off from here at noon.
  • Join me en route. I will still be publishing a tracker link.
  • Meet me at the cathedral.

So, whether you fancy coming on your own, with some friends, or with your local cycling club, please feel free to start organising your route to join me on Sat 3rd of October.

I will depart from Peterborough around 2.30pm on my final leg home to Oakham, followed by some well deserved ales in the evening.

Thanks for reading and please do spread the word!