A Tougher Day – SW Day 3

Well things got a bit more serious today…

I’d researched the route and I know the South West is notoriously hilly but knowledge never quite prepares you for the reality!

I set off from Bridport just after 9.30am and the big climbs started immediately. Now then, I’m not going to make excuses (or maybe I am!) but I’m fairly good at climbing hills. I like it. But the 3kg of luggage really makes a difference….

Basically, on steep gradients I have no option other than to hit the lowest gears and stand up. It’s HARD work. I mean really hard. But hey… I knew it was going to be hard!

One of the early beasts of a hill was the climb up the A3052 towards Lyme Regis after I turned off the A35. It was long and very steep at the end before finally descending down to the sea…

   
 
I recently discovered that two old friends, Jo and Jacqui had just relocated to Devon. So, I headed back up and out of Lyme Regis to Seaton Tower and along the A3052 towards them in Sidmouth on the coast. 

After a nail-biting descent down to the River Col in Colyford; a big climb out called Harepath Hill; and passing a place that sounds like it would suit me called ‘Beer’, I rolled into Sidmouth where Jo and Jackie were enjoying a Sunday lunchtime sherry. As you do….

   

      
 
Having been gratefully replenished I headed out towards Exeter. After a few wrong turns in town, I finally rolled up to the cathedral; an impressive building sat in Cathedral Yard with open areas and shops around. I stepped inside for a quiet moment (as I always do) and then chilled out for a bit on the green….

   
   
I chilled out because I knew what was coming next…. Dartmoor!

I’d chosen to take the route via the B3212 which goes right through the middle of Dartmoor National Park. It just seemed the right thing to do!

It started off fine with a ‘European-type’ climb which was long but consistent and never that steep. I was enjoying it. But then it changed. The climbs started to get much steeper and by the time I hit what I thought was the top, I had to stop for a rest, both there and in the small town of Moretonhampstead….

   
    
   
As you can see from the photos, today was a more overcast day but with some sunny breaks. Once I got on top of the moor proper though the weather changed quite dramatically. It got colder, rainy and soon I was basically riding through clouds!

Visibility got so bad that I put all my lights on and to be honest wished I’d had my winter ones with me. I felt a bit like one of those naive tourists who on seeing the sun shining in Fort William decides to stroll up Ben Nevis in a pair of flip flops, Bermuda shorts and a vest only to discover that it’s blowing a blizzard at the summit! Luckily I had my arm warmers…

   
    
 
I hadn’t decided on a final destination for today other than that I had to get over Dartmoor. I’d had notions of pushing on as far as Liskeard but I have to admit that after nearly 7500ft of climbing (with my luggage! Yes it is an excuse and I’m using it!), I was pooped. So, I decided to stay in Tavistock which is where I’m sat now writing this and enjoying a well earned pint of Proper Job from St Austell Brewery. I like beer….

Truro tomorrow!!! Thanks for reading!

   
   

Off to South West!

Right then folks, I’m off shortly to complete the South West route of my Cathedral Cycle Tour which will take me all the way to Truro and back.

Here is a rough map of my intended 720 mile route….

south-west-route-map

On this leg I will be visiting….

Oxford Cathedral (Christ Church)
Salisbury Cathedral
Exeter Cathedral
Truro Cathedral
Wells Cathedral
Bristol Cathedral
Gloucester Cathedral
Hereford Cathedral
Birmingham Cathedral
Coventry Cathedral

I hope to average about 100 miles per day, but it may be less than that when I get into the Devon and Cornwall due to the amount of hills! So, I’m hoping that the trip will take 8-9 days in total.

I will be experimenting with a tracking app on this trip, so that people can get an idea of where I am in real time. Here is the link….

https://www.followmee.com/mapx.aspx?token=e9633324-b6a1-4b81-a2a2-052965797385

I will do my best to update with pictures as I travel round! If anyone wants to join me for a few miles on my way round then you would be more than welcome.