Moffat Toffee and some chewing!

A sunny welcome into Scotland became wet, very wet, dry and wet by turns!

Irish Broth (not Scots) apparantly from the Ecclefechan Hotel revived me for the hilly bit to Moffat.

last night I enjoyed Dinner at the excellent Buccluech Arms Hotel and a sound sleep too.

Tony Couch joined me for Dinner and also brought me some Moffat Toffees, how come I’d never heard of these gems!

Anyway, after chewing on one I’ve decided to head East and not West. Weather and what may be coming along with sunset times drawing in will see me today head out towards Edinburgh and in a day or so catch the A9 at Perth. Doing this will save several hours cycling, maybe adding some hillier bits, we’ll see.

I’ll look at it in more detail tonight.

Neil

ps Some photos next time.

 

Made it to Penrith – just!

Preston My skylightBIg day for me today after having friends riding with me for the past two days and not having the weight of my panniers on the bike. I was concerned how I would cope with the hills again and the aforementioned pannier bags.

After 500+ miles it was inevitable I would struggle at some point and today I did, the legs feeling heavy the minute I hit steep slopes. The 8 mile Shap Climb was a long slow crawl – but I made it.

Highlights were getting to the top and earlier the view across Morcambe Bay towards the Lake District.

Earlier I was very impressed with Preston, a fine looking place with a mighty river and lots of character. Navigation away from it went without a hitch. The only added miles were intentional when two ladies cycling on my route mentioned a high level pass of Kendal which I took and discovered the Station Inn – super food!

By the time I was approaching Penrith it was raining heavily and getting dark fast, so fortunate that it didn’t begin before or on top of Shap.

I’m feeling human again after 2 mugs of coffee and a piping hot shower – however the rain is beating down on the skylight in my room and the wind is howling and I havent eaten yet, leaving my room is not appealing but must be done . Tomorrow’s forecast is poor with rain most of the day. Luckily it’s 60 miles to Moffat and Dinner with a friend in the evening. One day at a time.

I need to revisit my route as given the weather and available daylight 60-70 miles is the maximum I can realistically hit assuming no mechanical issues/ health issues. I have doubts on a daily basis but manage to still achieve my goals – today I almost dozed off on the A6, but didn’t and the miles just disappeared. I don’t want to have people thinking me bonkers, but I prayed about today and felt I was being supported. Faith works when the body is weak, well that’s what I believe.

I still hope to make John O Groats next Wednesday or Thursday next week and like a mountaineer on a summit bid, plan to travel very light leaving some kit at a base for the final push.

Neil

 

 

 

Raindrops keep falling on my head

Sampling gels! Morale booster Jon and Linda Barging along Warm! Bit of a blurI love the song of the same name by BJ Thomas. Cheerful song which I enjoyed listening too tonight.

Given the amount of water on the road Stu and Clare must have felt quite at home when they met Jon and I on the A49! Great to see you:). The A49 was in use today as navigation amongst the urban sprawl was tricky. Earlier in the Cheshire dairy fields we were routed across one, thwarted by a stile that unless you had a machete was too overgrown to thread a bike over! So a 3 mile detour! It’s not always possible to spot these in advance.

MacDonalds provided today’s haven from the elements and a chance to warm up.

Jon Boor was a real trooper today, like Paul yesterday he gritted his teeth and made the day much ,more enjoyable. The canal stretch near Nanteich was very pleasant.

just looked at tomorrow’s route which takes in the summit of Shap Fell, a bleak place at the best of times, so a tad nervous as heavy rain is forecast there mid to late afternoon. All I can do is keep pedalling. Oh and remember why I’m doing this ride in the first place – at least I’m able to get out and ride my bike and many people have so much more to worry about than a bit of weather. Having said that Gales are forecast in Scotland next week and the prospect is a worry. Time for bedtime prayers.

A late post as I nodded off earlier!

Neil

Sunshine after the rain

Shrewsbury Friends The A Team image Ready for the off! image Super CafêIt’s amazing how quickly one can travel up this wonderful country of ours. Already at Whitchurch and all being well Preston by the end of day 6.

This morning began with another great breakfast at the excellent Southbank B&B in Hereford. Later on Jane Stubley handed over a cheque that Robert and Hilary added to the cause. Looks like the total is now over £6500.

Outside the rain was lashing down and Paul (Stubley) and I set off up a steep hill before a lovely ride North. Actually after a couple of hours, the rain abated and Sun broke through – happy days.

Overall we made good progress over the undulating roads, great views and lovely buildings at every glance.

Lunch was at the excellent Berry’s cafe in Church Stretton, they had a real fire too, which helped to dry and warm us. The cottage pie and cake helped too.

the villain of the day was the A49 and some of the rudest drivers I’ve encountered. Yes we were causing some hold ups but it now tops London for being cycling unfriendly. In fact other than a 7 mile stretch we shouldn’t have been on it other than for an unfortunate navigational error at Wem. The result being an extra 5 miles and another 7 on the A49.

The day ended with us meeting Jon and Linda Boor. Jon is cycling with me tomorrow. Paul Jon and Jane then worked like Trojans to get my spare bike fitted with panniers ready for tomorrow.

Tommorow im also hoping to see Stu and Clare who’ve been on a boating break nearby and another friend in the Haydock area.

Im very keen to finish in daylight from now on as after dark the temperature is dropping fast.

Fitness wise I’m doing well, having been shown some stretching exercises by Paul that really helped.

Anyway, time for Bed, packed and ready to get an earlier start tomorrow.

Neil

 update

bodmin to crediton 78 miles 5000ft – tired but glad

crediton to Yatton (next to Clevedon) 83 miles 3000ft! Suprised me,

finished in the dark both days – Lezyne macro a life saver lit up the road/tracks

Adrian left after Crediton – great company.

today into Hereford and over the Severn Bridge – then North.

Bad weather all week it seems from tomorrow- will do my best.

Seeing some friends during the week and my spare Bike arrives,with one of them, Paul tonight.

bfn

Neil

 

 

Waterloo, Navigation and lights

Napoleon got his come uppance at Waterloo and so did I – almost yesterday. Wellington was not involved however as Today D3 I pass through a place of that name.

D2 started from the Bodmin Premier inn and a 1mile bit on the A30 as joined by Banksy again (his last day) we set off to visit Jim an old work colleague who lives in the tiny hamlet of Waterloo. It involved some extra descent and also some brutal 14% climbs too. Coming early in the day, it was too soon for another breakfast, but Jim had offered, it was very good and we accepted!

i thought I’d found a way of getting there with only one double black arrow climb, but sadly didn’t see where my GPS marker was and ended up at the valley bottom and had to do another extra climb to get back up again. This got worse when I left a water bottle at Jims and had to ride back up the hill to get it.Extra brekkie at Jims

Update from Bodmin and £5923.00 is the new total raised.

I’m off and away! Here is an update for the first 2 days. I can also report that my Brooks saddle is pure bliss, the Barker Butt is pain free – so far!

After a dicey 3.5 mile ride across a wet London from KingX to Paddington I arrived in Penzance and bright sunshine.

Following the ‘official’ photo and a look across to the Longships Lighthouse I set off for Hayle and the wonderful Bostrase B&B.

The ride was eventful given that my bike was making some strange noises and I was baffled as to where they were coming from. After 10 miles I found out. The pannier, which is attached to the carbon frame with a small screw which had snapped and slipped between the wheel and the disc brake, luckily it didn’t slip into the wheel. It could’ve been far worse given the downhill bits. Was it knocked on the train or the weight of my panniers?Longships Lighthouse Off Lands End image Bodmin Premier Inn  end of day Latest collage Hayle Cycle Hero Tin mine remnants image Lunch

Halfords were no help at all – why buy bikes from them when there are many excellent bike shops out there! Ashley McDuffie of Hayle Cycles was a star and innovated a fix to my broken pannier mount. Great service, shame they are so far from P’boro.

After a shower at the B&B, Boo from ‘Bostrase’ sorted me a lift into Hayle where I enjoyed a lovely meal and great service at Antonino’s. Now that is ‘going the extra mile’.

Today began with a ride downhill into Hayle and straight to the bike shop at 9 to get the bike repaired – took 3 hours, but worth it. Then off to Bodmin and enjoying seeing the remains of the once famous Tin mining industry  In the afternoon. Was joined by Adrian Banks for most of the day, only seen him once in 20 years, will be good to catch up. Looking forward to riding some of the Camel trail tomorrow  – a first got me! Also bacon butties and hot tea with Jim Alington.

A steep 75 mile ride ahead to Crediton with a lot more of the brutal, incessant climbs this area is noted for. Not walked up a hill yet, hope I ca  say the same tomorrow.

On Sunday evening  I’m meeting Paul and Jane Stubley who are bringing up my spare bike and taking back my new one. Whilst my Roubaix is a thoroughbred designed for long day rides and light touring, it is like ‘war horse’ trying to plough. Unsuited to the task. My trusty secateur will do better! ( might get a bespoke tourer one day, don’t tell Maggie. 4 bikes + n might be pushing it!)

My new total is £5923.00! I’m in awe of the 160+ generous sponsors.

Wednesday stats:

Ride Time: 1:45:32
Stopped Time: 56:45
Distance: 18.93 miles (+ 3.5 in London)
Average: 10.76 mph
Fastest Speed: 36.28 mph
Ascent: 1177 feet
Descent: 1210 feet
Calories: 1141

Thursday stats

Ride Time: 4:55:14
Stopped Time: 4:42:49
Distance: 49.95 miles
Average: 10.15 mph
Fastest Speed: 36.56 mph
Ascent: 3949 feet
Descent: 3493 feet
Calories: 3811

Off for Dinner now. Night all!

Neil


 

Tomorrow fast approaches!

143 and 5293.75 reasons to be thankful
Well the hour is almost upon me. At 08:12 tomorrow I depart Peterborough bound for Penzance (with a short pedal from Kings X to Paddington in between). Then straight to LandEnd and Go! I have 143 donations, giving me 5293.75 reasons to be cheerful and peddle my socks off every day until I reach John O Groats. £6000 and 200% of target is now achievable. Thank You all, I am more grateful than you know. Neil