Journey to ‘the grimmest place in the world’

Suffering from post-traumatic stress and the effects of government austerity measures, Paul Jones resigned as the head of an inner-city secondary school and, ‘an idiot without a job’, decided to cycle from Land’s End to John o’Groats in four stages spread over ten months. He had raced occasionally with professional cyclists but had never ridden more than 127 miles in a day. His aim was to ‘dissect a brain slice of the country’, to find some relief from the ‘formless terror’ of his mental landscape, and to subject himself to the torture of a long-haul literary endeavour. It took him three years to produce this companionable and energetic book about