Cornwall has been a hard ride. Five days from London via Newbury, Bath, Wellington, Holsworthy and finally Newquay. A total of 553km in poor weather as its rained everyday except one with the Mendip Hills after Bath being a particular brutal time. Here we had to push the bikes up the steep hills on roads that had turned into torrents of rushing water to arrive at the top in a developing gale with horizontal rain and low cloud cover making any view or sense of direction impossible. Our map had failed to mark many of the small lanes through which we had to navigate down to Cheddar which added to the general affect of feeling lost in our own Bermuda Triangle.
This was contrasted by the more recent day cycling along the northern edge of Bodmin Moor. We could see the torrs from afar as we climbed to approach them and as we came parallel to their staggered dark masses the land opened up, expanding into the wide space surrounding them, the landscape tree and fence-less, barren and endless disappearing away from the gentle meandering lane we were following. The rain stopped and the sky lightened as we turned along the small lane that hugged the contour line between the moor and farmland below. We dipped up and down across small streams running off the hills which sparkled in the warming sunshine before heading down ourselves to pickup the Camel Trail and the route onward towards Bodmin. The trail was on a disused railway line following the River Camel as it cascaded through beech wood forests along the valley’s sides above the sounds of the river’s waters.
We feel fitter now and have learned more about our bicycles, equipment and packing which we have time to sort before Australia. We managed to duplicate things thinking that we might need spares but actually don’t as they can be replaced – penknives, trousers, charger plugs, cables, t-shirts, gloves, tooth paste, sun cream and bike tools. Alarmingly, as I went to fix a puncture the new bike pump failed and we were only saved because we’d packed an old spare one. However, the good news is we know we can now travel lighter but there’ll always be another hill to climb.