Day 12: Moffat to East Kilbride

Miles travelled: 57

Metres climbed: 760

exploding tyres: one!

I was sad to leave Moffat – it was the quirkiest place we’ve visited, with lots of cute shops and yummy looking bakeries…

I was even more sad when I realised that the road we were following all day was so bumpy we felt like we were cycling uphill on a power plate!!! The scenery was awesome, but we were concentrating so hard on staying on our bikes that we hardly had a chance to see it…

We eventually made it to Lesmahagow and found the most amazing tea place… Abbeys on the Green felt like an oasis in a desert!! Spotless, yummy and friendly…

While we were recharging our batteries we met another trio of girls cycling end to end the other way! They raved about Scotland and re-assured us that the roads improved ๐Ÿ™‚ yay! They did mention something about having to tighten their bikes all the time… Can’t say I knewย what they were talking about!! Hope it’s not too important!ย image

We are, however, getting quicker at replacing inner tubes… Luckily! Mummy had a blow out shortly after lunch ๐Ÿ˜ฆ it was a bit scary – sounded like a gunshot, but fortunately she was fine and the bike was repaired pretty quickly!!

We pushed quickly in to East Kilbride and after a minor detour to avoid a closed road we made it to the farm where we were staying, which had a very cool swing, so Alice was happy! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Day 11: Ullswater to Moffat

Miles travelled: 70

Metres climbed: about 600

Bikes repaired: one (twice!)

Feeling all refreshed after our rest day and stuffed full of porridge we got our bikes from the garage where they had been locked only to find that Alice’s had a flat tyre ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

After replacing the inner tube and inflating with a mini canister of compressed air it almost immediately deflated again… Possibly for the first time this trip, Alice wasn’t very happy! Luckily Philip, the kind gardener, came to our rescue and helped us replace the inner tube again… And fortunately this time it worked!! Not only did Philip fix our bikes, but yesterday he drove us to a nearby town for some emergency supplies (so that we didn’t have to cycle on our rest day) and on too of that he generously donated to support our challenge!! Philip we can’t thank you enough!!!

Alice was still a bit worried though, especially as her bike was also squeaking so we stopped at Halfords in Carlisle and the guys there kindly gave her bike a “once over” for free ๐Ÿ™‚ it is so amazing and humbling how much kindness and generosity we are encountering every day!!

We were sad to leave the lakes, but consoled ourselves in the knowledge that hopefully we’ll be back before too long for the Windermere swim!

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We pushed on along a great road which followed the motorway, and pretty soon crossed into Scotland!! ๐Ÿ™‚ it seems hard to believe we’ve made it this far…

We had a yummy coffee in the Old Toll Bar (literally next to the border!) to celebrate! It is amazing to think of all the couples who must have said their vows in Gretna for so many different reasons over the years.., eloping actually sounds quite romantic! ๐Ÿ˜‰

After Gretna the road continued to follow alongside the motorway, but sadly the condition deteriorated so that it was a rather uncomfortable ride… Very bumpy!! And weirdly, although it looked like we were going down hill – a lot of effort seemed to be required to build up or maintain any speed… Very weird!!

We were very happy to make it to Moffat!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Day 9: Forton to Ulllswater

Miles travelled: 62

Metres climbed: 1000 (400 of them in one go!!)

Punctures repaired: 1

Despite the fact that our day started with our first fall (a clipped-in classic ;)), ย a puncture 2 minutes later and the biggest “hill” I’ve ever seen… ย this might have been our best day so far ๐Ÿ™‚

The A6 to Kendal was almost entirely flat… Which was actually a bit weird… Lancaster was surprisingly attractive…

After a quick bite (Alice had the best beetroot and goats cheese sandwich of her life!) in Kendal we popped into Evans cycles who kindly pumped all our tyres and seemed amused when we told them we were headed for Ullswater…

We soon realised why! The road up to Shap wasn’t so much “bumpety Bumpety” as one big (actually massive!) bump!! 400m and about an hour of non stop climbing!! Fun fun fun…

We then took theย ‘scenic’ route across the lakes to Ullswater (mummy was not best pleased ;)) but it was gorgeous…

So happy for a rest day here…Rest days are the best days ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Day 8: Chester to Forton

Miles travelled: 70

Metres climbed: 450

Bike shops visited: 2

Having just posted home our unwanted items to lighten our loads (including my rain coat!) We set off from Chester in light drizzle which quickly became heavy rain ๐Ÿ˜ฆ Yuck!!

After about 12 miles as we were climbing a hill out of Frogsham I got our first puncture of the trip… Luckily Frogsham had two bike shops, one of which speedily replaced my inner tube and even gave me a headlight for my bike and the other had a perfect replacement rain jacket! Oops! After warming ourselves at Old Hall Hotel, which sadly had ย fake fire, but they did make up for it by giving us towels!!

Feeling much warmer in my new raincoat, we pushed on over the estuary on the scariest dusk carriageway bridge ever… Through Rainhill… Where the locomotive was invented…image

Then to Dentons Green for an amazing lunch… Mummy had her second bowl of porridge (we’ve discovered it really is go mixture!) and two portions of yummy carrot cake…

From there we pushed on into Lancashire and discovered our favourite road yet – the A6, maybe not the prettiest, but certainly the most direct and flat we’ve been on ๐Ÿ™‚

Dinner was possibly the best yet… Huge vats of pasta which would probably have been enough to sustain an army!

Even better the charming waiter said we could follow the A6 all the way to Ullswater, and while it is flat until Kendal, from then on the route gets a little “Bumpety Bumpety”!

Oh well… Bring on the bumps!! One day till rest day ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Day 7: Bishops Castle to Chester

Miles travelled: just over 63
Metres climbed : not many (yay!! :))

We set off at 7am as we were determined not to be arriving in the dark…

It felt great to have conquered the large part of the mileage by 11am for “brunch”. The New Inn at Baschurch kindly opened their kitchens early to make us poached eggs on toast!! The yummiest we’ve ever had…

After finally unlocking our bikes (yes the key was in my pocket… It just took 20 mins to find it!!) We set off again…

After Baschurch we seemed to be in a food desert and by the time we made it to Holt we were flagging, but soon revived by Hildegard’s tea room, which seemed like an Oasis in a desert… And she even sponsored us as well!!

From there it was just 10miles to Chester!!

I’m just so grateful it was a flat day ๐Ÿ™‚ and for my clip ins… I’ve slightly pulled my left knee so luckily was able to pedal mostly right legged…

On to Preston!!

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Day 6: Bettwys Newydd to Bishops Castle

Miles travelled: 70 (pretty direct today with the number one navigator in control!)

Metres climbed: 800

Bikes serviced: All 3 (apparently we had basically burnt through our brake pads… So it was lucky we decided to get them checked in Hereford! Climb on Bikes were super helpful… I think they thought it was pretty funny how clueless we were!!)

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We set off after the most amazing breakfast at Brynderwen Court feeling fully fueled (with ample supplies to last us for the next few days!), but very sad to leave!!ย 

imageAfter our navigational issues yesterday we decided to follow a more direct route… Which meant more traffic, but was much quicker. We left Wales behind us and headed off into the Shropshire hills..

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We finally made it to Bishops Castle… Feeling pretty relieved to make it in the daylight ๐Ÿ™‚ .

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Day 5: Bridgewater to Brynderwyn Court (otherwise known as fairyland!)

Miles travelled: well over 90 (after 10 hours in the saddle my garmin died so it’s an estimate!!)

Mikes travelled in the dark: about 10

Metres climbed: well over 1200image

So what we thought would be a nice flat 66miles turned into a 95 plus mile slalem… With a BIG hill! Now that we’ve realised Alice thinks Wales is further south than Oxford she’s been temporarily demoted from chief navigator to chief morale booster!!

The scenery was fantastic…

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and crossing the Severn Bridge (when we finally realised that having crossed the river Avon did not mean we were in Wales!) was a major highlight!!

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The scenic route from the Severn to Bettwys Newydd was unbelievable beautiful… The dusky pink sky and our fatigue induced delirium only enhanced the natural beauty!! As darkness descended… With only one torch between us some members of the group experienced moments of concern…

Finally we passed the Black Bear Inn and the welcoming lights if Brynderwen Court appeared on the horizon like a mirage… The Williams family welcomed us like conquering heroes… With banners, fireworks and champagne! We soon forgot our aches and pains as we devoured Peter’s sensational chicken pie and amazing pavlova… We can’t thank them enough for their amazing hospitality!! As Daddy would have said… “Nobody does it better”!!

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photos to follow when we get sufficient signal!!

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Day 4: Moretonhampstead to Bridgewater

Miles travelled: 69

Metres climbed: 1000 (despite Alice promising there were only 600!!)

Emergency rations: too many to recount!!

Today was Georgie’s grumpy day!!! After about 700m climbing ( 3hours of almost entirely uphill cycling) and lunch options nowhere to be found… I almost lost the plot!! When Alice tried to pacify me with a banana I’m sure you imagine my reaction ๐Ÿ˜‰

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(Alice seems to be an indefatiguable machine… I don’t know what she’s on, but I want some!!)

imageI actually started hallucinatingย that every distant house must be a pub!! Fortunately we soon turned the corner and descended to a very ‘real’ pub, which not only served us real food, but was also home to a beautiful mantle Great Dane… Actually the first adult one I’ve ever seen, which was rather strange as Mummy is collecting exactly that kind of puppy a few weeks after we get back!ย 

From lunch onwards everything was easier ๐Ÿ™‚ A lovely few hours of downhill cycling, a brief stint alongside a canal (sadly the towpath was a little too rocky for Alice’s liking), a whizz through Taunton and into Bower… Where we just had a triple portion of the best brownie I’ve ever tasted!!!ย 

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I’m deluding myself that tomorrow will feel nice and flat after Cornwall and Dartmoor… Aside from the Mendip hills of course!!

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Day 3: Tavistock to Moretonhampstead

Miles travelled: 28
Metres climbed: 800
Emergency snacks: chocolate nak’d bar

We’d planned a shorter day today as we knew we’d all be struggling with the hilly terrain and Alice wanted us to experience the FULL beauty of Dartmoor! It turned out to be lucky as we were all low on energy today and Mummy especially wasn’t feeling her best…

We set off in high spirits after a fantastic night at Claudine and Bills… They couldn’t have been better hosts and we feel so lucky to have met them!

imageAs promised Alice then set out to show us the full extent of Dartmoor… which was breath-taking despite the inclement weather…imageimage

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Even the ponies were friendly ๐Ÿ™‚

But Mummy had her first low point of the trip… clearly she needs to adopt our ‘healthy’ diet of mars bars, jelly babies and coffee ๐Ÿ˜‰ but it was nothing a chocolate nak’d bar couldn’t fix!

I think she’s learnt her lesson as she certainly didn’t skimp on the bread and pudding at dinner tonight! Let’s hope 70 miles tomorrow isn’t too much for us all…

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Day 2: Cubert to Tavistock

Miles travelled: 56 (involving large detours to avoid the A30)
Metres climbed: 1490
Emergency treats: entire bag of Jelly Babies, mars bar, 2 gel sachets, 6 large chocolate cookies, 4 bananas.

Three hours of up the biggest hills we’ve ever seen in the cloudy drizzle left us feeling eager for more so we did the last one twice!! (You can imagine how popular the navigator was!!)

We actually hit a bit of a low point just before Liskeard, but an entire bag of jelly babies and mars bar perked us up! We also got a yummy freecappuccino in Bugle (courtesy of the Bugle Inn :))
After sandwiches in Dobwalls the day perked up greatly… The sky cleared and the views were spectacular ๐Ÿ™‚

We stayed as guests at the gorgeous Wonwood Barton, which was a little tricky to find, but we were greated by Claudine and Bill who made us feel immediately at home! They gave us hot showers, the best fish pie ever, yummy wine and entertained us all evening with their own cycling adventures!!

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