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Abbotskerswell Primary School

Slade Lane,  Abbotskerswell, Newton Abbot,  Devon,  TQ12 5NS


(01626) 353605


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Hare & The Tortoise

Two of our Dads are currently cycling from John O'Groats to Land's End to raise money for our school!

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Hare & The Tortoise Blog

Day 0 - Sunday 25th February 2018 | Updates from our Endeavouring Duo!

Yesterday The Hare and the Tortoise (Tim Mitchell and Lee Muscott) set off from Abbotskerswell to get to John O'Groats in Scotland to start their breath taking journey!

Here’s a small update from our endeavouring duo!...


"The drive took exactly 12 hours door to door. The weather is very cold but dry all the way. Beautiful scenery throughout the Highlands especially from Stirling to Inverness. Then we followed the A9 all along the coast to Thurso. Tonight we have a substantial meal and an early night as we leave for John O’Groats at 6:15 am so we can start the ride promptly at 7.00 am. Only mental preparation we discuss is the thought of possible failure due to weather or injury. The hare and tortoise are as prepared as possible and neither want to let the school or the children down. We start , we finish we don’t quit!"


That’s all for now from our amazing determined and fierce riders!

Stay tuned till our next blog!


Lucy and Sam (bloggers)


Day 1 - Monday 26th February 2018 | Endeavour all the way!!!    

Today, our two cyclists, Tim and Lee, encountered dropping temperatures and maybe even a bit of sleet. They travelled 97.7 miles from John O’ Groats. Tim has the latest update:


“Very cold start to the day but the progress was good and we managed to ride 60 miles in 5 hours. Wind chill was our enemy today and with the snow predicted with dropping temperatures for the rest of the week, it is going to be slow. Some amazing sites and the scenery is truly Scotland.”


After 70 miles they had burnt 3816 calories and travelled at 10.6 mph average speed. These two still have a long way to go, but we know they can do it. Come on Tim! Come on Lee!


The children in school took turns on the static bike today and managed to cycle 35.19 miles! The children went to the Velo park/MUGA to start a race for themselves. Cadence who cycled at the Velo park said “It was harder than I had expected” The children who went to both the MUGA and the Velo park found the cycling quite hard. There was snow at both events making it colder.


Tim also has a damaged tendon, COME ON TIM!!!


George and Holly (bloggers)


Day 2 - Tuesday 27th February 2018 | Tim and Lee’s snow day

Today our brave cyclists challenged the beast from the east on a dangerous journey through the deadly snow along the Icey roads. On their travels they have found an unusual egg vending machine. The temperatures there with the wind chill factor was -10c.


Tim reported, ‘Weather played a major factor today. Right from the start we had to change our route and stick to the main roads that had been gritted. We found an egg vending shop, which was very unusual. We also saw many birds of prey on the quieter roads. Eventually, we made it to Nigg but the ferry didn’t run until March! So we made a lengthy U-turn. The sculpture is in front of the Scottish crafts centre where we called the school from. Calories used around 5,000 and fastest speed reached 35mph… going downhill!! Inverness bridge had a cycle and walking path and just as well as gusts of 50mph being recorded today which would have easily blown us into the traffic. Now planning for new route tomorrow due to heavy snow. Wind chill the hardest element to deal with but far worse tomorrow.’


Today in school we have done about 104 miles on the static bike to feel what it’s like for Tim and Lee and to support them.


By Cadence & Bobby (Bloggers)


Day 3 - Wednesday 28th February | Aviemore to Perth - COLD COLD COLD!!!!!!!!

Cycling in Siberian conditions, direct from Siberia. Not a pleasant day for the dynamic duo with temperatures at -8 plus the wind chill factor as they cycled through the Cairgorns National Park.


Tim comments:

“The start of the day was hard as all the Sustrans routes were impossible to ride. We used local contacts to identify if any roads were open to continue on the planned route but even the snow ploughs didn’t attempt to run from Aberfoyle to Callander across Dukes Pass! The A9 was our only option from Aviemore to Perth so we chose to use this. The Scottish drivers are SO understanding and for about 45 miles of the A9 ALL trucks gave us a wide birth. Fantastic help! The temperature was as low as -8 but that was warm compared to the wind chill effect. Even water falls are frozen. The Tortoise had to stop at Pitlochry as his damaged foot was slowing up the Hare. Even racing adversaries help each other when the end game is so important. All being well we aim to ride tomorrow and will make our final route when we know which roads are open and SAFE.”


Tim and Lee cycled almost 100 miles in just under 8 hours today (11 miles of hard toil for each hour), which is an achievement in itself. Back at school, we completed our daily mile round the school. Being outside for just 25 minutes to do this was hard enough with our very own Devonshire winter gale and unusual snow shower. Fingers, ears and noses were frozen. Compare this to doing 8 hours and 100 miles and we really start to get a sense of the endeavour that Tim and Lee are completing on our behalf.


We wish Tim and Lee all the very SAFE best, especially with Met Office red weather warnings. Take care and consider a rest day until the weather easies.


Day 4 - Thursday 1st March | Killin to Abington – Extreme Conditions

As snow, blizzards and icy winds forced road closures across their route, Tim and Lee had a challenging day to say the least. They tried hard today to find alternative ride routes but each time, it was either blocked or impossible to reach. Tim comments, “The 2 hour drive to Penrith took over 7 hours and we had to dig the truck out of the snow just north of Edinburgh.”


Tim is also battling with his tendon injury in these tough conditions which is making a high average speed difficult to maintain when they can get on the bikes.


They are hardy duo though. Resilience is their middle name. Tim and Lee are recording any cycling gaps and they intend returning to conquer the missing miles. As Tim says, “…the bottom line is the Hare and the Tortoise won’t quit.” I’m sure however, we would all join together in saying that there’s no need to return as their endeavour can not be questioned. What they are accomplishing in these conditions is easily equivalent to 100 miles in normal weather.


With our very own arctic conditions in Devon with a day of heavy snow and blizzards, we can at least empathise somewhat with Tim and Lee…even though we may sit in our warm homes as school lies closed and quietly blanketed in snow.


Well done Tim and Lee.


Day 5 - Friday 2nd March | Abington to Penrith – Blown Away! 

Crossing the Scottish border, Tim and Lee are back in England on a day that saw the army mobilised to support emergency services in clearing roads and rescuing stranded motorists. Although incredible considering what they’ve already been through, it’s still not surprising that Tim and Lee have found this one of the hardest days so far. With winds between 40 to 50mph taking temperatures down to -10, danger stalked their endeavour. Tim comments, “The Tortoise was the first to be blown off the bike and shortly afterwards the Hare was blown across the road! After 20 miles or so it became clear that the danger was not going away so we returned to our hotel to plan the routes for the next few days. All the roads are affected which means we have to ride along the busiest with much traffic.”


The duo are recovering from their foray into the beautiful yet brutal Lake District. Stay warm, stay safe and don’t take any unnecessary risks.


Day 6 - Saturday 3rd March | Penrith to Whalley – Mills, Moors and Witches

Another cold start for another tough day as our intrepid pair cycled southwards down the backbone of England, the Pennines, passing through the Yorkshire Dales and the Forest of Bowland as they headed into the West Pennine Moors. Luckily they managed to avoid the Pendle Witches in Lancashire as they were forced to take the direct route. Tim comments, “The Sustrans routes were impossible to ride with snow and ice making them far too dangerous to use. Sadly we had to endure the main roads with heavy traffic. With the salt spray on the bikes we gave them a well deserved shower and made them comfortable for the night.”


The day yet again provided stunning scenery. This time the landscape showed off a traditional view of a mill and chimney sat against the back drop of the wintery moors around Settle.


With the temperate slowly rising, Tim and Lee hope to get back on the quiet routes tomorrow which should help them enjoy the scenery a bit more as they cycle towards spring.


Day 7 - Sunday 4th March | Whalley to Nantwich – WET, WET, WET

The day started VERY wet and as they slowly climbed up the first leg, the snow once again fell down on them. On arrival in Bury, the snow was replaced by more heavy rain which fell all the way to Manchester. Tim comments, “Even the waterproof footwear and gloves failed today. Averaging nearly 12mph meant rain found a way to soak us no matter what we did to protect ourselves.”


At Old Trafford, the hare shot off on a diversion to take some more amazing photos.

The rain also fell in Devon and started to wash away our snow today as temperatures started to rise since the big freeze. Empty shelves in supermarkets started to be re-filled in Newton Abbot as the roads started to clear and deliveries started to get through.


Sadly, the tortoise’s injured foot continues to be nuisance, enforcing necessary rest breaks while the hare keeps up the pace for the team.

Hopefully, Tim’s injury will heal soon.


By Isla and Mia!


Day 8 - Monday 5th March | Nantwich to Worcester – Chilly Rain                                            


The day started very chilly, as the hare headed towards Telford. The Ironbridge south of Telford is being refurbished as the metal work has fallen into despair. The hare has become quite mucky as the rain fell strongly while they cycled south through the middle of England, alongside Wales.


The snow is clearing but sadly it is being replaced by rain. The roads are rather slippy but it is getting better, so it is safe to ride. We think the hare and tortoise must be happy the snow is finally going but sad it’s replaced by rain.  


Tim’s foot is healing, but sadly he is still having breaks. Let’s hope he gets better but happily they are getting nearer and nearer to Devon.


School reopened today after the snow days and weekend. The path between the main building and Puffin Class was still blocked with snow. We all did a wet daily mile at school and managed to speak to Tim and Lee on Facetime when they stopped at 12.15.


By Jess and Evie


Day 9 - Tuesday 6th March 2018 | A Dry Day!


Today was dry for a change. Our cycling duo cycled 98.5 miles in just 7 hours and 43 minutes from Worcester to Bristol! The hare and the tortoise gang climbed 3350 feet, going 12.7 mph average. The racing hare started from Droitwich whilst our endeavouring tortoise drove the van down to Thornbury-just north of Bristol. Bristol was a tough ride for both our hare and our tortoise but another leg completed and yet just 3 days to go.


In school, the children have been keeping the static bike going forwards. They have cycled 21.13 miles in total just today, so far. HURRAY!!!


By Daisy M and Dexter (bloggers)


Day 10 Wednesday 7th March 2018 | Bristol to Dulverton via Glastonbury  - Wildlife and Wizards


They began Wednesday with a high carb breakfast then a sunny trek from Bristol heading to Glastonbury and road over the Mendip hills. There was still a sight of snow but the bright sun made the cycle worthwhile for them. They road from Bridgwater towards Taunton at an average of 11.6mph. They climbed a colossal 4500 feet and burnt just over 4000 calories.

On their travels, they spotted buzzards, foxes, water vole and a hungry barn owl hunting for food. From Taunton they followed the route 33 towards Bampton. Although most of the snow was cleared the road was still blocked by a very deep bank of snow. They quickly checked the satellite and headed south through the heavy rain then finally into Tiverton.    


Lee was in Glastonbury when he noticed a rather unusual shop that sold clothes for witches and wizards. They road 92.12 miles and it only took them 7 hours and 55 minutes cycling. At school we did our mile and kept the bike spinning round.


Their bikes are holding up through the harsh weather even though they are covered in mud and salt from the road. At 12:15 we face timed Lee whilst Tim was in Glastonbury. Good luck for tomorrow and keep up the good work!


By Tilly and Louis, today’s bloggers.


Day 11 Thursday 8th March 2018- Dulverton to Bodmin via Crediton-NEW FRIENDS AND HILLY BREEZE!

Today two dads- Tom Sercombe and Paul King -joined the Hare and the Tortoise (Tim and Lee) on their journey from Dulverton to Bodmin. The weather this morning was wet and they soon found out that the weather plays a major part in the cycle ride. It took 14.9 miles to get from Dulverton and Bodmin and took them 9 hours and 44 minutes to complete the task. Their average speed was about 10.8 mph.

After they left the hotel the endeavouring group managed to find a cycle path towards Tiverton and then they started on the incredibly hilly route to their half way destination that was Crediton. They cycled up a whopping 7500 feet in total today whilst being hit by a strong cold wind and sadly the Tortoise had to stop after 42 miles due to his continuing foot injury. Thankfully faithful Tom stayed alongside the sore Tortoise all the way to make sure that he was not left alone.

TIM: “The cold winds made every hill a challenge.”

These incredible, epic, supermen on bikes are great role models for all of us. We are very grateful that these men have taken on this amazingly difficult task to help raise money for our school. Along today’s journey our fab riders have burnt a ginormous 5000 calories.

Apart from the sound of traffic the group heard the bleating of new born lambs almost all of the way.

Tomorrow promises to be an exciting and sad day as it’s the end of the hard yet despicable journey.

We did our daily mile at school and kept the static bike moving.

By Iona and Gracie!!! (todays bloggers)

Instagram Photos


Day 12 Friday 9th March 2018- Bodmin to Land’s End - MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!


Today our super cyclists- including Mr Sercombe and Mr King- reached their goal at Land’s End. They travelled for 5 hours and 11 minutes of cycling at 12.6 mph at average. They conjured 5000 feet of climbing burning 3400 calories. They pedalled 65.7 miles.

Friday began in Bodmin and all of the riders were keen to get pedalling, but unfortunately at 8:30am (approximately) the rain began! It was very soft at first, but by 9:30 it was pouring down heavily! This didn’t stop our inspirational cyclists though. They were determined to achieve their goal. The Route 3 on the Sustrans trail took in some delightful, beautiful sights from Truro from Camborne and the Hare and the Tortoise followed many mining tracks used when Cornwall exported tin throughout Europe. Images were impossible to take due to the rain and the heavy, low-lying mist. Especially NOT what the Hare, Tortoise and their friends wished for on their last day.

When the heroic cyclists noticed an extraordinary café close to their final destination at Land’s End, they swiftly took advantage of the dreamy wood burning stove and excellent hospitality before completing the JOGLE at 2:10pm. Relatives of the cyclists joined together to greet the Hare, the Tortoise and their two cyclist friends- Paul and Tom- after a quick photo shoot in the pouring rain. The face time call was made back to Abbotskerswell Primary School at 2.40pm. All the children waved, clapped and cheered supportively and after a quick check, the total sponsorship the school received so far was £10,000.00, which is a significant step towards the cash required to purchase the IT equipment for the school. We experienced Tim and Lee eating fish and chips; looking as if they had never slept.  

The Hare and the Tortoise completed their journey in the same manner as the start; sharing the finish line as a team. Endeavour, endeavour, endeavour!!

Whilst we were face-timing, some important questions were asked. Millie Mc Naught questioned: ‘Why did you do this for us when you didn’t have to?’

Tim Mitchell (our very special tortoise) replied: ‘Actually… I don’t know how to answer that!’

All the daughters and sons of the epic cyclists waved to the pupils and Bobby, Mr Sercombe’s son, kept on messing up his hair.



By Isabella & Lily-Rose (Today’s bloggers)