John O’Groats To Lands’ End

The Ultimate Roller Ski Journey Of The UK:

New Luce man Harry Waugh has just taken his place in a Hall of Fame celebrating people who have travelled from Land's End to John O'Groats.

An exhibition at Lands End costing £350,000 has vehicles used in many of the journeys and a collection of photos, news stories and documents.

But, Mr Waugh (53), Mains of Larg, New Luce, has claimed a pride of place as he is the only one to have successfully completed the trip on roller skis.

To mark that occasion, Mr Waugh was invited down to the opening of the Hall of Fame at Land's End, Cornwall, to see for himself his place in the exhibition.

He told the “Free Press”, ‘They have a picture of myself and my wife Marlene, who is in the support vehicle, along with skis, a mannequin and a story of the journey’.

It took Mr Waugh 17 days and two hours to get from one end to the other, travelling an average of 60 miles each day. At the same time he managed to raise £4000 for the British Heart Foundation.

He said, 'I was wanting to do the trip somehow and I had thought about biking it. I coach athletics and I was looking at roller skiing as a way of cross training athletes. It was my intention to do the trip with someone else, but they pulled out so I did it by myself. We had some interesting weather conditions because it was snowing and hailing up north and we had heatwaves down the other end'.

Mr Waugh travelled up to John O’Groats for the journey three years ago from his home in South Yorkshire, where he was working at the time. He had already trained six months and was experienced in endurance events.

He said, ‘It went well and I got fitter as I went on and even managed to lose a stone or two. I am still the only one that has done it, but I am hoping someone else will have a go because then I can get into the Guinness Book of Records as being the first person to have done it this way’.

Free Press

This is a diary of the 17 day, two hour journey:

End to End on Roller Skis
SkierHarry A M Waugh
Escort Vehicle DriverMarlene Waugh (wife)
Route FindersHelen & Andrew Proctor
StartMonday 17th April 1995
John O’Groats
FinishThursday 4th May 1995
Land’s End

Day 1 On a cold wet snowy morning we made our start. but alas the Hotel was not open and we had no response to knocks. We then woke some individual in car park to sign form. The A9 was very quiet, slight snow with wind behind us. The A9 was a bit lumpy and had to use support vehicle to assist with braking at Berriedale and into Hemsdale. No falls on first day. Six layers of clothing and still wet and cold inside and out. Lost 2lbs in weight!

Day 2 Starts dry but windy. A little stiff in the legs and a pain in left shoulder. A nice view over the bay to snow capped hills. A good run to Loch Fleet then steady climb. First fall on way down to Firth Bridge. A9 getting busy now and have been advised to take B817 and other small roads to A862 across Cromarty and Moray Firth. By end of day have lost another 2lbs and have weather blisters on face and ears, also blisters on feet.

Day 3 We head for Nairn. Decided to take A939 over the top to Aviemore, having been promised free accommodation there! Steady climb through woods and use vehicle for braking downhill.

Eventually arrive in Aviemore only to find that our promised accommodation had gone on holiday!! Break one of the sticks down a manhole. Eventually find lovely old farmhouse for overnight stay.

Seem to have put 1lb back on!

Day 4 Decide on A9 to Glen Truim, a following wind, legs, face and arms sore. Meet a hill walker at the top of Glen Garry. Break ski at Moulin. Get a quick repair in Pitlochry. Take road out of Pitlochry to Logrerait then A827 west to Aberfeldy. Ski eventually repaired by King & Sons. Lose 2lbs today.

Day 5 A stiff climb followed by a good road to the Amulee Hotel where given coffee and had a chat about coach and horses that came through here for BHF a couple of years ago. On to Crieff and weather is showing signs of improving. Take paths most of the way to Braco. (Surprised at the amount of dead wildlife seen so far). On now to Dunblane where I fall in front of a bus - survive though!!

Quarter of the way there now, lose another 1lb today.

Day 6 Not much happened - except car would not start - put on 3 lbs!

Day 7 Into surprisingly quiet Kilmarnock, using mainly good paths. Facial blisters hurting on nose, mouth and ears. Plenty of police cars around! At Carronbridge we have an enforced stop for change of clothing and left ski. Down to two pairs so phoned ahead for replacements. Saw first dead hedgehog today - must be getting warmer. Lost 3lbs today.

Day 8 Feet a lot better but face still painful. Not so many clothes on today. Elbows hurting from double pole braking downhill. Head towards Dumfries and good run on old road through Mouswald, Cummertrees and Annan towards Gretna. Being slowed down by photocalls for papers. On to Carlisle with more photocalls. Have arranged to meet Ernie Palmer at Junction 40 M6 to pick up replacement skis. Spend night at Youth Hostel where Manager is not a very pleasant person! Lost no weight today!

Day 9 Make early start after bad night. Feet OK but lots of sweating and body aches. Take A6 to Penrith and have first run in with the police. Good climb to Shap village, enjoy climb to monument. Dodgy drop down to Kendal using double pole & telemark brakes. Kendal is a problem, thick traffic and then car broke down. Blisters on feet gone now, but lips and ears bleeding.

Day 10 RAC advised us to take A65/A683 to Lancaster. Fast skis once more. Meet some big lorries, but no real problems. Photocall at Lancaster Prison! Take footpaths to Catton and then into Lancaster for another photocall. Take A6 to Preston, radio call and press on the phone. Over the Leeds & Liverpool canal bridge and meet up with John Schofield to steer through Preston and over Anglezarke Moor, around Bolton to the Wendover Hotel at Monton. The last part was frightening with fast traffic on a fast surface, which would be best tackled in the morning. Wendover Hotel gave us a free night with evening meal and breakfast. Lost 2lbs today.

Day 11 Footpaths together with a quieter than expected road gave us a good start. Good run on good roads. Over canal towards Middlewich and early tea at Croxton nurseries. On towards Crewe - legs tired. Spent night in car as no B&Bs wanted to give us early breakfast!

Day 12 Good night's sleep parked between two 50ft lorries. Early breakfast and start caused by lorries. Legs sore. Into Preston Brockhurst, motorists sounding horns in good spirits. Caught up by Radio Shropshire for a chat, apparently the motorists had been informed as to our position for some time. Fast ringroad around Shrewsbury and another photocall then south to Leebotwood. Good roads or paths to Craven Arms. Bottom of feet sore. Pebble Mill arranged to see me in Ludlow but changed their minds. So onto Leominster for a Radio chat show. Lost 4lbs in 2 days.

Day 13 A good night's sleep in Hereford at Brother John’s with an early start back to Leominster. Good ski through Hereford. Had to use telemark braking into Monmouth. Good scenic road - not feeling so good, a bit depressed. Onto Llandogo - lots of walkers on Offa's Dyke. Climb up to Chepstow then A48 onto Severn Bridge - came across on cycle track. Onto BHF supporter at Patchway for a bath and my first taste of Black Bush Whisky! Lost 1lb today.

Day 14 Up early and through Bristol. Sunday morning rubbish everywhere. A good undulating road to Churchill past Save the Children walkers everywhere. They thought I was cheating going so fast. Slowed down a bit going to Tarnock as I was being pestered by a lad on a bike, he kept stopping in front of me to take photographs - seemed a bit simple! He came back with a video camera and was a pain all the way through Bridgewater where he lived. Onto the outskirts of Taunton on good paths. Feet very sore and very tired. Lost 1lb today.

Day 15 After a good night’s sleep with BHF supporters I was willing - if not ready - to face another day. A good lumpy road but slow progress because I did not feel too good. Decided to turn onto the old road to Exeter at Waterloo Cross. Felt better on an old road - some paths, not much traffic. Feet, elbows and legs sore. Uphill and into the outskirts of Exeter. Through Exeter with no problems - police escort for 3 roundabouts - I think they wanted to get rid of me! Finish at Whiddon Down for the night with BHF escort to Hatherleigh for photos with committee and Mayor. A very hot day. Lost 4lbs today.

Day 16 Decided to stay on A30 to end. Feet sore, legs below the knees aching, lips bleeding, tennis elbow getting worse. A warm morning. Probably the best three hours so far, quite surprised at the lack of traffic. But I spoke too soon - last few miles very slow, feeling drained and hurting. Traffic still light, weather very hot, motorist signed card. A slow 90 minutes - feeling weak - I expected this sometime pre-finish - must get head together. Very hot, feet hurting, but a better ride with little wind astern which helps. A little suicidal on the hills - must be more careful as I am nearly there. Motorist signed card. Managed to make it to end of carriageway which will give me a good start tomorrow. Accommodation with BHF in Bodmin. Lost 2lbs today.

Day 17 Started day determined to finish tonight. A little misty - no wind. Indian Queen mist lifting. The first few miles decided to have frequent stops. Weather getting very hot - Marlene has decided to pull me off the road - not thinking straight. After a couple of hours sitting in the car above the beach at Hayle, sense prevails - will finish tomorrow.

Day 18 Spent night in field near Sheffield. Up the hills out of Penzance onto B3315. Lots of children waiting for School Bus in village - gave them something to think about. Down the hill to Land's End. Finish in car park. Hotel was anti-climax staff not sure with information. I felt disappointed - it took 4 hours before we got signed up. Lost 1lb today. Time to go home.

Harry Waugh
Last updated 13-8-2009