We knew today was going to be one of the toughest because of the distance and the hills.
77 miles with 6,500 feet of climbing with a strong headwind…hmmmm!
We left the magnificently situated Tintagel Youth Hostel at 07:45 and pushed the bikes up the rough track to the church on the cliff top. After a pleasant ride through the village we began the 3 mile ascent towards Davidstow. The view behind us as we left the coastal landscape was beautiful. As we gained height the vegetation changed to moorland as we were now on the north side of Bodmin moor.We took a little used lane from Hallworthy to Egloskerry which undulated giving long views over the rural Cornish landscape. Although the place names told us we were still in Cornwall (lots of things beginning with TRE, POL and PEN), as we came closer to Launceston the terrain became more rolling and lush. The GPS led us on an easy quiet route which bypassed most of Launceston leaving it to the South. We emerged to cross the border into Devon at Polson Bridge.
We were pretty hungry as it was a couple of hours since our porridge so we stopped off at the 3* Arundell Arms in Lifton for a second breakfast and very nice it was too. They were very obliging with requests for more toast!
From Lifton the route undulates along the old A30 to Okehampton. This road is very quiet and scenic as it runs along the edge of Dartmoor. The GPS led us on a quiet route into the middle of Okehampton. Steve was hungry (again!) so we stopped off for sandwiches and cake. Inevitably there is a great big hill out of Okehampton and the hills just rolled on and on. We were distracted by the wonderful scenery all around and now that we had left the sea and the moors behind the terrain changed once again to rolling Devon hills with characteristic red soil. We left the main road after climbing out of Bow and stopped on a grassy bank in the warm sunshine so Steve could eat – again. There was a notable flat half mile or so on this pretty lane before we plunged down to the picturesque village of Coleford
with its thatched cottages.
Another huge climb before we plunged down again just North of Crediton. The northerly wind had strengthened just as we began the hilliest part of the day, heading North East. There were 2 very long hills which gave magnificent views for miles and miles before we plunged down to the Exe valley at Bickleigh.
It was then a simple matter of following the River Exe to Tiverton, flat compared to what we had been doing and then following the canal to Tiverton Parkway and our overnight stop at the Travel Lodge there.
We are feeling quite pleased with ourselves as we have completed two tough days on our journey to John O’ Groats without too many aches and pains resulting. Tomorrow is a few miles shorter with significantly less ascent. Instead of the hills being continual they are distinguishable. We are only expecting 4 proper hills! We are also expecting company from Taunton onwards which will make the day more interesting and enjoyable.
The weather forecast is promising less wind and it might even be more behind than in front.
Bring it on!!