Tuesday 4th June
- From: Land's End
- To: St Austell
- LEJOG miles cycled: 65.72 (62 planned)
- Miles cycled: 67.72
- Map of the Journey
The first night we stayed in St Austell
A nice B&B, not a hostel
From Land's End through Hayle,
Then the Mineral Trail –
There's no other rhyme for St Austell*
*except Pentecostal, which didn't seem to make any sense, unlike the cogent reasoning displayed above.
No – I still don't get it, Curly Watts looks nothing like me.
Sorry day one's blog is late – the WIFI at the B&B at the end of the day let me down and I lost some typing as a result and eventually gave up.
After a few pints last night of Dartmoor bitter and meeting Angie and Granite, awoke (not having slept much) to beautiful weather and a large full English. Apprehension now replaced by some excitement!
Great weather, clear blue skies almost horizon to horizon, stunning views, beautiful hedgerows and flowers, bird song filling the air - what an absolute pleasure it is to do this ride and raise sponsorship at the same time. Still I have not cycled a mile of the actual ride yet so there is plenty of time to change my mind on that.
I perhaps ought to document all of the coincidences large and small that we encounter as we go – the world is a small place. First off we met a woman in the B&B also doing LEJOG. Her name is Helen Shaw and good luck to this young lady doing the ride on her own. She is a nurse from Manchester. Well I know someone with that name but, hey, that's a small coincidence you might say. However, Helen's bike is a Thorn Nomad from SJS hand build bikes in Taunton, the same bike, albeit it a later model, than the bike Robert is using for the ride! Not only that but Helen has the deluxe and expensive Rohloff gears on her bike which Robert has been coveting on and off for his potential replacement bike – possibly a Thorn Sherpa. We are visiting SJS on our first rest day for Robert to make final decisions about frames etc. I am beginning to sound all nerdy about bikes now – I can tell – best get back to LEJOG.
Later in the day, to get out of sequence, we met another nurse, originally working in the Southampton and Bournemouth areas but now living and working in Australia. She was so thrilled by what we were doing for charity and fully appreciated the place of a hospice that she went back to her car and brought back a donation. We have pennants on poles attached to the bike which do a great job of promoting what we are doing – together with cycle shirts for the evening doing a similar job – that people chat to us when we stop and donate! Well done Cathy at Tynedale Hospice for organising these.
Back to LEJOG! We hit both the North and South Coast of England today on a well planned and navigated ride heading mainly West to East and a bit to the North. You can see the full route by clicking on the 'Map of the Journey' link above. The views were just incredible, the skies blue and the sea almost turquoise. I doubt it will get much better than this during the ride.
We retraced last night's route to Penzance before heading round Mounts Bay where it could appear we had taken a turn for France and then headed North to Hayle. AT Hayle we stopped for the first refreshment break at Johnnies Café. This establishment is styled along the lines of a Parisian World War 2 era café. At first you think the place is still in need of renovation and there is work outstanding but then it dawns on you that the design is deliberate, carefully considered and accurately implemented. French background café music adds to the scene as does the slightly Mediterranean view from the windows. Even the toilets have pull chain cisterns – something I have not seen since I was a boy a long time ago. Well worth a visit.
We were now on the North coast and headed along there to Portreath where we then joined the North Cornwall Mineral Tramways network for a good track East towards the South Coast of Cornwall. The tramway system ended in its South West corner at a very pleasant bike establishment and café called Bissoe Bike Hire and Café – again worth visiting if in the area. They have 150 bikes for hire and last week, half term, they were all out! Today, however, there were 6 of us in the café – the quiet before the summer rush.
On the way, due to a minor navigating error (of which we only had a couple today) we passed below the Caron viaduct – a lovely bit of architecture.
One of our next stunning points was the crossing of the Fal on the King Harry ferry – a chain road bridge. What a majestic river and estuary, beautiful colours and steep oak wooded valley sides. This gave an enforced but welcome 20 minutes rest and was where we met the now Australian nurse.
Later we passed by the Heligan estate - of the Lost Gardens of Heligan. If you have not visited here it is a must do visit, one I made a few years ago and spent a very enjoyable day there.
We then arrived at day one's destination St Austell and a nice B&B. We had heard that the first three days of the ride in Cornwall and Devon would be hard but perhaps the preparation had paid off as we found it fine and had no hills we could not cycle up. I put this down to good planning and prior surveying on the part of Robert, but as we shall see tomorrow this would not last!
Off to the Hop and Vine for dinner. For some reason I thought this pub was called the Ivy, much to Robert's amusement when I asked a local for directions and he had no clue as to what I was talking about. This was a Google search and the B&B's proprietor's recommendation as it also did Vegetarian meals for Robert, who, sacrilege, had had to make do with Fish and Chips last night the poor Sole! Tonight's beer was a lovely 'Tribute' from the local St Austells Brewery.
We had on our cycle shirts advertising the ride and our collection tin and they did the trick again resulting in some very kind donations from total strangers including the barman who must see people like us every day surely.
Off for some well deserved sleep now having washed cycle kit and hung it up to dry for the morning. One down, many to go, over 6% completed and feeling fine.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite full at a time. How do you do LEJOG – yep, one mile and one day at a time!
Don't forget you can also see more including photos posted more promptly than the blog on my Facebook page.