A Travellerspoint blog

Day 6 - Market Drayton to Mellor

overcast 13 °C

Ah - the Cheshire plain. Fast miles again, but no hills for will. The towns passed quickly - Nantwich, Middlewich, Knutsford. The Stockbroker belt and footballers homes gradually gave way to canal towpaths and industrial towns like Wigan and Chorley. Somewhere in the great conurbation (near Leigh?) we stopped for lunch at a pub. We're getting used to asking the bar staff to fill up 8 water bottles. Its so tempting to get a pint of beer, but we all know that we'll never reach our destination if we start down that route. One good thing about burning several thousand calories a day is the licence to eat a great deal more than we normally do - including copious amounts of carbs. We ended up climbing the lancashire moors above Blackburn to our destination at Mellor. We made a rendezvous with the mother ship at the Boddington Arms near the BAe factory. We then drove to a drizzly campsite at Longridge - the nearest we could find to our route. This is the first time we used the chocks on the mother ship to stop her rolling down into the valley. The rain on the roof made it easy to drift into sleep. Tomorrow the delights of Lancashire and Cumbria.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 14:52 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 5 - Mordiford to Market Drayton

sunny 20 °C

We had a rest day on Wednesday and spent the day mainly eating and drinking in the pub, getting the bikes cleaned and burned out break blocks replaced. We also have to thank Mark Morrison from the Wye Valley Health facility who treated Chris's knee gratis helping keep him in the saddle.

We began anew this morning fresh and ready to push on into the Black Country. Herefordshire and Shropshire are very flat - hurray! We skirted the "blue remember'd hills" and one giant pimple that could have been a revegetated slag heap. The lack of hills made it boring for Will, who likes nothing better than a lung bursting climb. We found the longest stretch of road in England without a pub. So many villages without a shop a pub or a post office - or anything. They look picturesque enough but what do people do? For lunch we spent about 15 miles looking for a place to eat before happening on a pub. We passed through some interesting towns - places like Leominster and Ludlow. Places where it would be nice to spend some time - but we are on a mission, and we need to clock up the miles. The campsite that evening was by a canal (Shropshire Union) and across the road from a pub - idyllic. We met a fellow cyclist at the campsite who made a spontaneous donation to the cause, as did a passer by in Admaston. Many thanks to them. No animal incidents today - though plenty of roadkill - especially badgers. Its been a good year for them - but not the ones we saw.

Tomorrow we try to navigate a route north while avoiding Manchester and Liverpool - tricky.

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 14:25 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

More Blog entries to follow

sunny 18 °C

We have made it to Ettrick in the Scottish Borders now, but with Beautiful mountainous backdrops comes terrible signal. All is well and we will be uploading the blog entries as soon as we have a reliable signal.

Keep Watching

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 07:08 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged scotland way poor over half signal Comments (0)

Day 4 - Cheddar to Mordeford

sunny 19 °C

On a beautifully cool, but sunny morning the lejoggers set off from Cheddar in the direction of Bristol. The first climb on this, the last day of major climbs before our first rest day, was a long climb up the famous Cheddar Gorge. Watched only by a few goats an some tourists we wove our way up into the Mendips, stopping for the occasional route check. The sun was topping up the tan on the right hand side of all the riders (we will have to do the journey in reverse to even it up) and we finally came to a beautiful vista overlooking the Chew Valley Lake. A long downhill section followed during which Colin tested his bike skills to the limit narrowly avoiding a yapping dog with lemming ambitions and a young horse who was spooked by a bad driver.

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After a short 'course correction' we sailed across the Chew Valley Lake and on towards Bristol. After a few more hills we made our way across Bristol in search of the ZeroG bike store, to replace our worn brake pads and to have Will's lock ring tightened on his cassette, which had been rattling all morning.

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Unfortunately a bike shop is a distraction that all the team can't resist and so we spent about half an hour and more than £100 on various bits and pieces.

When we returned to our quest we were 'blessed' with some genuine Banksy artwork near Bristol City Football Club, before then climbing up a short hill that runs up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and on towards the old Severn Bridge.

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We took lunch at a delightful Harvester restaurant before then finding our way to the cyclists crossing of the Severn Bridge. It's a windy crossing even on a fair day, but the views are breathtaking and as we rolled across our spirits were lifted in perfect time for some tough but very picturesque climbs that welcomed us to Wales. Galloping past Chepstow Race Course, we then descended into a beautiful valley at Tintern, and stopped for photos by the ruined Tintern Abbey.

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From Tintern we then wound our way into the Wye Valley, via the Forest of Dean and some exciting downhill sections which saw us topping 40mph in places. The Wye Valley will be our host for our first rest day on day five and after an inauspicious welcome (we came across what looked like a scene from casualty, but turned out to be a major incident test for the local emergency services!) we found our way gradually to our campsite and glided to our pitch to the now familiar chant of Wiggo! Wiggo!

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 14:40 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 3 - South Molton to Cheddar

rain 12 °C

After burning out our brakes in the crazy descents through Devon and Cornwall straight out of the blocks on Day 3 we encountered the climbs of Exmoor. It seemed even when we had had enough and tried to by-pass at Chris's request we just found steeper and steeper hills.

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That said the views from Exmoor were spectacular and (almost) worth the climb.

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After a soggy first half of the day we freewheeled down from exmoor we found a very warm pub for lunch to gear ourselves up for the Quantock hills an area of outstanding natural beauty, it was just a shame that this happens to mean they haven't built any flat roads yet.

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With all the hills behind us for the day we set off in to the Somerset levels with the light fading and weary legs, landing in Cheddar ready for shower and bed.

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 13:49 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 2 - Wadebridge to South Molton

sunny 19 °C

Day 2 - feeling a lot better than I thought I would. We get underway by about 10 - still missing target of 9 - D'oh! Our route, courtesy of the nice people at the CTC (B and B route) seems programmed to take in the steepest hills around. So we detour off the fast but scary A39 to take in the North Cornwall and Devon coastal route via Tintagel and Camelot and other Arthurian haunts. They know how to make hills in this part of the world. We had to walk one or two steep bits, and actually had to walk down one. Beautiful views of the coast though. We stopped for lunch at Bude, where there was a place that did a £5.95 sunday roast next to a bike shop - paradise! Day 2 was sunny and hot - so from squelchy feet on day 1 to dehydration on day 2 - marvellous
Afternoon we turned inland into Devon where the hills seem worse than cornwall. The wind is still at our backs - thank you god, or the met office, or whoever orders these things. Totally cream crackered by the time we roll into South Molton at 7 pm. The campsite is good - much better than I remember them - usually a field with a tap in the corner when I were a lad.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 13:25 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 1 - Lands End to Wadebridge

all seasons in one day 17 °C

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Day 1 dawns wet and windy. Its blowing a gale down at Lands End, where we managed to sneak a photo without having to pay the "official" photographer. That's us, the four guys in lycra with the RNIB t shirts. Luckily the 25 mph wind is a south-westerly and right at our backs, which makes the rain tolerable. Just 2 or 3 miles out is a pig of a hill just to get us all warmed up. But that was the worst of the day. After Penzance and Marazion we turned inland, finally stopping at a place called Pen something or Tre something (this is Cornwall) for a pub lunch. They'd stopped serving food, but managed to find some leek soup and baguettes. We sat in a corner like drowned rats and ate. The rain stopped in the afternoon and we made good progress to Wadebridge with the wind at our backs. Mandy was waiting with hot tea and malt loaf and assorted treats. Just had enough energy left to eat, have a hot shower and fall asleep. We'd chosen an 'easy' 62 miles for the first day in order to acclimatise. Probably just as well!

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 12:31 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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