With thanks to my late aunt, Jean Abdee, whose legacy has helped make this possible.

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Day 3 - Bridestowe to Greenham

Starts: distance 60.07 m, osi 196.7m, max speed 33.5. Travel time 7:38:42, actual time 11 hours (I think the discrepancy is because when I'm walking it's so slow the bike computer doesn't register it as movement!). A day of two bike paths, 27 and 3. Left campsite at 8 am and took the bike route to Okehampton ( very nice place). Lovely route and flat but still slow going. Then B roads to Zeal - fine - and very minor white lanes on which I both walked (v steep) and got lost, and rather discouraged. Also ran out of energy ( cyclists refer to this as "bonking" but I don't want to give my friends the wrong impression of what I'm doing here!) Got some Lucozade which helped no end. Was glad to see Tiverton and even more so to find route 3 out of it, along by the canal and blessedly FLAT. This comes to just beyond Burlescombe ( pronounced BurraLESScombe apparently - lovely!). Got a camping pitch at Greenham nr Wellington. I'm in Somerset now - 3 counties in 3 days.

Bike route 27

As traffic free as it gets ( but I wouldn't like to be on a racing bike down here.)

Monday, 30 August 2010

Day 2: Indian Queens to Bridestowe

Indian Queens to Bridestowe. 65.03 miles, max speed 32.5 av 8.1 moving time 8 hours, total time about 11 hours. First 10 miles fine even with some steep climbs and descents. The lanes were lovely with sunlight filtering through as if through stained glass. Then got to Bodmin and struggled to get out. Same at St Breward. Took 1.5 hours to travel just five miles. Eventually made some progress but everything you hear about these lanes us true. Descents so steep I lost my nerve and crept down with brakes on. Ascents so steep I had to walk up - not sure I didn't walk more than cycle today! Got into Devon at 4:30 and the campsite at seven. Weather very good and set to hold.

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Stats for day 1

Mileage - 71.28, max speed 38 mph, cycling time 7:35:18, actual time about 9.5 hours, av speed 9.3 mph.

And I'm off

Day 1 - Land's End to Indian Queens. Lovely sunny morning and as soon as I started cycling, the nerves settled down. Through St Buryan to Mousehole ( lovely in the sun) and cycle path to Marazion. Had some hills after that, especially near St Erth. Stopped for lunch at a ruined tin mine at Cambourne - 34 miles by that point.

A bit of navigating trouble added some miles in the afternoon around Redruth and St Day. Truro was very quiet for which I was grateful, but not so grateful for the decorative cobbles in the town centre. It was getting much cooler as I got to the Gnome World campsite at Indian Queens just after six and got some shopping in at the Spar by the Esso garage nearby. One day down!

The start

The start

This is my third try at sending this - hopefully third time lucky! We had a very good journey down to Cornwall in glorious sunshine. Stopped at Jamaica Inn for lunch and arrived at Land's End by early afternoon. Got the signpost picture down and the first transit stamp ( the easy one). All set for starting - including a bad attack of nerves!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Can't rain all the time ... ?

In the film 'The Crow' (a kind of gothi post-apocolyptic film mostly in black and white with rubbish and violence filled streets where it's constantly raining) the main character, Eric Draven says to a little girl:

"Can't rain all the time."

This has been rather in my mind of late, since the weather (in this region at least) seems determined to prove that actually, yes it can rain all the time, and if it feels like it, then it will.... I recall looking out of the window yesterday afternoon when the rain started and I don't believe it has stopped yet, well over 32 hours later. I can only hope that my waterproofs will be up to it, but since I'm not absolutely sure that *I* will be, it's a moot point.

Seriously, I have never known such a wet August, and only hope that September will have nothing left to offer by way of wet weather and will be nice. Or if not nice, at least dry and a bit less like November (in August).

Meanwhile, the worst Radio 4 pun ever: a program where a builder chooses the tool that's been most useful to him during the last seven days. That's Pick of the Week... sorry....

Nearly there

A late night last night but the mapping is nearly complete. I am daunted by the sheer scale of this project! Also heard on the weather forecast this morning that Altnaharra - one of my last stopping places - had a degree of frost last night...
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Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Better late than never

A bit late, with only four days to go, but we are just getting to grips with the intricacies of Garmin gpc routing. That is, Andy is. . .
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Monday, 16 August 2010

My Training Partner

This is really by way of a test post to see how easy it is to blog from the phone. But also I do feel that Alfie (pictured) should get a mention as my training partner - he's been dragged on most of my runs, even the long ones, and been taken along as support on all my races. Thanks Alfie!
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Friday, 6 August 2010

Initial Route - 1,200 miles!

The initial route planning has taken ages (I've joked that it's taken as long to plan it as it will to cycle it) but finally the first draft is complete as set out below: -

Route: From - To and Estimated Daily Mileage
Land's End - Indian Queens - 55.03
Indian Queens - Lydford - 57.52
Lydford - nr Tiverton - 55.39
Tiverton - Wookey Hole - 56.54
Wookey Hole - Monmouth - 62.53
Monmouth - nr Bridgnorth - 66.45
Bridgnorth - Hixon - 56.17
Hixon - Hayfield (High Peak) - 58.03
Hayfield - Cowling (Yorks) - 62.60
Cowling - Keld - 52.96
Keld - Brampton (Cumbria) - 61.96
Brampton - Melrose - 59.63
Melrose - Inverkeithing (Forth Bridge) - 64.89
Inverkeithing - Pitlochry - 68.48
Pitlochry - Boat of Garten (Nr Aviemore) - 66.67
Boat of Garten - Evanton - 58.54
Evanton - Altnaharra - 64.76
Altnaharra - Cape Wrath - 59.20
Cape Wrath - Bettyhill - 56.08
Bettyhill - John O'Groats via Dunnet Head - 57.42

I strongly suspect that anyone that has done it will be scratching their head and saying 'Why that way?' ... to save time; I'm avoiding 'A' roads wherever possible, using cycle routes wherever possible and 'B' roads where not and also visting places of interest, such as Keld which I've passed through on both the Pennine Way and Coast to Coast path (so it seems appropriate to visit it again on the longest tour I've ever attempted. Plus it looks as if there's a nice bunkhouse there now, which wasn't there last time).

I do want to go to Cape Wrath but if it doesn't work out, then I won't - that will save a lot of mileage. Same for visiting Dunnet Head - by that stage I might well have had quite enough!

All that remains are the unanswerable questions of fitness, whether my tricky knee will hold up, what the weather will do, whether I have enough / too much / right / wrong gear and the question Can I really do this? will not be answered until about 20 September, or thereabouts...

Well, that's the first draft and it could all change. If I could just get rid of 60 miles of that, it would give me a day in hand for emergencies, sightseeing, or simply having a rest. Tomorrow then, back to the drawing board.