Monday, 27 January 2014

Friends mean the world.

Today I had a wonderful surprise. Both by way of some incredibly generous donations, but also hearing from an old Fleet Air Arm buddy, who also happened to spend a couple of days with me on my LEJOG trip.

There are few things like training courses to cement friendships. The shared adversity binds people together in a way that is never lost.

I have included here a post from that trip by way of recognition for a kindness shown supporting me on this one. Thank you Rich.


Knowing that we had a very long day ahead, we awoke to the sound of a cuckoo calling from the moor outside. I was up before 6 and we hit the road by 06:10. The hills were quiet, muffled by the thin shroud of light mist. There were two groups of Roe Deer off to the left as we climbed away from the youth hostel. They looked at us nonchalantly, but nothing more.

The descent from Dartmoor is one minute hard grind, the next an exhilarating surf down long swerving hills. Few of them had enough visible length for you to let the bike go and so the brakes again took a hammering. Much to Laura's dismay, however, I can report that I managed to clock 39 mph down one of them!

We reached Exeter within 2 hours and parked ourselves in the cathedral ground, where we cooked our breakfast of porridge, accompanied by patisserie, bought doughnuts and tea. There just wasn't time to stop and take a look in the cathedral or anywhere else in town, which is a shame, so instead we headed north out of town toward Cullompton, Taunton and Richard's eventual dismount at Bridgewater.

There was a lot of riding to be had before then, however. The terrain had been pacified and the rolling hills that we followed to the east of the M5 allowed us to average between 12 and 15 mph. Not that we were in a hurry, but it was refreshing to feel a steady breeze.

From Cullompton, we picked up the the National Cycle Network route 3. If you get a chance to do any cycling in this part of the world then I cannot recommend this highly enough. Passing along tiny narrow country lanes and through villages that you would otherwise never see, it is mile after mile of relaxing and rewarding travel. The scenery is ever changing too as you will see from the photos when I can download them.

(Simon has just arrived from Bristol, so I must break here and come back to this tonight, but having completed 100 miles in total yesterday, there's still a little to tell.)

Having dropped Richard off in Bridgewater I managed to pick up a good tail wind that pushed me to Cheddar in a couple of hours. The managers of the campsite were just about to go out but still took the time to make sure that I had everything that I needed, even allowing me to lock myself and the bike in the pool room so that I didn't have to put the tent up. Thank you.

Ron and Helen took me for a huge pasta supper that I can now tell them fuelled my 85 miles today, but more of that in a bit. There is so much more that I could tell, but time is short at the end of these very long days. At the moment I seem to be averaging about 12 hours for my 80-100 miles a day so not surprisingly, I don't take any rocking.

Believe it or not I slept well on this floor.

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