Myself and pal (both mid forties now) have been doing touring for 4 to 5 years now, across much of the Midlands, North and Scotland. We tend to do one 9 day tour (inc days off and travel at the end, so typically 5-6 days over around 60-70 miles) per year and then 6 or 7 long weekenders (3-4 days) per year. We started this one at Christmas 2017 (Hull to Lincoln), and all being well, by the end of May/early June 2022 we will complete the last stretch of Edinburgh to Inverness via Dundee, Aberdeen and Moray.
We've generally done legs north to south, but sometimes south-north where it works better. As the years have gone on we have refined what we carry and how we carry it. Panniers are long gone and everything is inline. It does mean we use smallish backsacks, but only to carry light things, with heavier stuff loaded onto the frame. Sttetchy hook straps really are the biz to secure things down! We've never been pure tourers carrying a tent, too much faff and weight, but fair play if you do that. On longer tours we always incorporate a day off every 3 days, and stop in a flat or apartment with washing machine (or on North Coast 500 ensure the Airbnb host has a washer and dryer!). This also allows us to spend some time and explore a city and sample various pubs, make it more of a holday then always being on the bike. Sometimes we manage to stop somewhere several nights if we are roughly following a train line. This means we can have load free days which is nice. The apartment/3 days routine means we only ever carry 3 days worth of cycling clothing, making a big difference to how much you have to carry.
As part of this journey we did what we've called the North Coast 370 (plus Orkney to do some sight seeing), rather than the last 130 miles down the A9 (no thanks). So that covered Inverness to JOG. Luckily we have family and friends along parts of Route 1 so that's always been a bonus. Norwich and Newcastle are definitely two of the best places for a night out with great vistas, old pubs, modern beers. We are always going back there to do other shorter tours. I can't recommend them highly enough.
After about a week of cycling I've had enough, hence we've broken this route down into about 7 rides/tours all told. So much more enjoyable then the A road crow fly Lands End-JOG. Again fair play to people who have done this but no thanks, there is more to cycling and touring than 100 mile plus days, day after day.
Days off in new cities, apartments, open top red bus tours, Belgian/German beers etc. Early morning swimming clubs and the castle in Dover; orchards; Thames cycleway; Essex Mcmansions; mini owls; Constable country; church on every corner in Norwich; Lincolnshire 'steppe'; Lincoln castle and cathedral; Humber Bridge; brutal slopes north of Whitby; Newcastle; Tynemouth Abbey and beach; coast and castles, including the amazing Bamburgh Castle and Holy Island; Borders chain bridges; Edinburgh and the brilliant entry to the city via a tunnel; Forth river crossings; Fife and St Andrews; Aberdeen; Moray coast; then detour off Route 1 to the incredible North Coast 500 (370 plus Orkney for us); Dunnet Head; JOG and the very special Duncansby Head; then down to Wick and a long windy train journey back to an overnight stop in Glasgow and another long train jounrey south. You won;t be disappointed by some of the best scenery that England and Scotland can offer.
Another aim after this is to do Lands End to Dover along the south coast, probably over two long weekend tours. So ultimately Lands End to JOG a long way around.