Reasonable campsite last night….
Started the day with more than our usual aches and stiffness, due to our lack of camping experience. Still the day was bright and sunny and we set out for at least 25kms along the towpath to Bath… our mistake – bright, sunny AND Sunday – it was like rush hour all morning! So many walkers, cyclists and what I used to call grockles … the people shuffling around somewhere, because it is there.. they seem totally unaware of what is happening around them. They certainly do not realise they are sharing what is a National cycle route… walkers have every right to, cyclists are obliged to give way to them, but the grockles’ ignorance to the fact there are other walkers and cyclists can be downright dangerous.
We cleared Bath which was interesting, but also heaving with people – pushed on 10 or so kms, took an early halt at another campsite we had marked on the map, just south of Salford. Practice ‘carry on camping’ and hopefully get an early start on another bright morning, but this time a Monday!
Monday’s ride was one of the sections of the route we were both anxious about – the climb up on to Exmoor. Knowing by now that the National Cycle Routes do not avoid steep hills, in fact target them… I assume to avoid busy traffic ? …. we expected some tough climbing AND we got some! Starting straight away after a brief downhill from the campsite it was the pattern for the whole day, up – down – up… (sure there were more ups than downs) Through Dulverton, where we had ourselves a picnic lunch of Cornish Pasty, cake and pop… luvverly! Then the steepest, if not the longest, hill to date out of Dulverton – not aided by the sheer sides on each side of the road, which was single track, the debris on the road which was made up of mud and stones washed down from the cliffs plus the odd fallen branch. The road is tarmac, but you could barely see it. We we’re then up onto Exmoor proper.. like the Scottish moors we were crossing a month ago, but with sunshine, green, and the odd Exmoor ponies. From here it was not too more painful pedalling along the top of the moorland with less steep hills (but longer) until we reached the Sportmans Arms, our stop for the night. Only 45kms, and actually only 3 and a bit hours in the saddle – just seemed so much more.
Actual distance pedalled since John O’Groats : 2075kms. 🙂