Well he did it! 12 days averaging 80 miles most days in awful weather much of the time, Land’s End to John O’Groats. Approx 910 the route he took. I feel in awe and so proud. I was of course logistics back up in my little Skoda but what I had planned to be a leisurely role was anything but relaxed or stress free. I was constantly aware of the huge effort Peter was making day after day, drawing into the depths of himself but had not considered what it would be like to wave him off each morning and wonder if I would see him again. I am not exaggerating, he looked small and vulnerable alongside some of the huge vehicles thundering past him.
I hope you won’t mind but so much has happened I will write about the trip in instalments. No worry then of missing any crucial bits out. We set off on Saturday 8th September for what seemed then like a long drive to Cornwall, paled into insignificance when I set off for Scotland in 30 mile stints. We stayed in a hotel at Lands End but it was such a rip off, I was embarrassed as so many tourists make a bee line for the place. Despite the surroundings the views of the headland are breathtaking and the hotel staff so friendly and kind. We had a photo taken at the temporary sign as the main sign which is up in the day is “owned” by a photographer who charges a lot of money to take photo. Business is business I know but this is taking advantage. Enough moaning as it did not detract from our efforts.
At 9am Sunday 9th September after a hearty breakfast Peter set off on his marathon ride. I felt very emotional waving him off, apprehensive and proud all at the same time. I admit to a few tears so walked part of the headland before setting off myself. We met up after 40 miles or so at Truro for a lunch break and for Peter to stretch his muscles. I found supermarkets helpful to get supplies and hot drinks. Another lone rider left just after Peter, I passed both of them at different stages, and we met him again lunch time. He was cycling a much shorter distance but appreciated having someone to chat to during a break. We coincidently met up the next day too at Okehampton. En route to Taunton. Sunday we stayed at our first Premier Inn at Liskeard, the routine was repeated 7 other times during the long journey and Premier Inns were an ideal break. Even had bike sleeping with us!!
Monday 10th September we rode (not together!) over parts of Dartmoor to Taunton. The scenery was stunning but once in Devon the hills were testing for Peter. Tuesday 11th we stopped in Bristol at our eldest son’s house for a family reunion as our younger son left yesterday for a new life in Turin with his Italian wife so more emotions again. Adam, the eldest, then cycled with Peter to Monmouth over the Seven Bridge which was great for Peter. 3 counties in 3 days and ending up in my homeland Wales. Next day Wednesday 12th September onwards to Shrewsbury via Ludlow which was when I started to compile a list of places to revisit. Each day my schedule was tight but a routine soon developed. No time for sightseeing! We stayed north of Shrewsbury in our third Premier Inn where there was an interesting welcoming committee. Yes alpacas in the middle of Shropshire!
I’ll finish here for now but more next time. Thank you for your support and encouragement in this venture. It has been a life enhancing experience in many ways.