(written by Nancy)
Well, we finally made it to Land’s End! It took us longer than we expected but today we finally reached the southern edge of Great Britain. And it feels really good to be done with that!
The day started off on a funny note, when we got up to find a box of chocolates and a card tucked under our bikes (wrapped in a plastic bag to protect it from the heavy dew). A gift from our next door neighbours – well, the wife anyway, who was still trying to make up for the behaviour of her partner last night. It was a nice gesture and it means I didn’t have to convince Dave to buy chocolate to celebrate tonight!
The tent and tarp were very wet this morning but we didn’t have to worry too much about drying them before setting off as we knew we could dry them out at our rented accommodation tonight. We continued straight off with the ups and downs, as steep as ever. Cornwall is one hilly place – beautiful, but hilly. I am sure it would be fun to ride on a light racing bike but on a fully loaded touring bike it is pretty tough. We had several 15% grades again today.
We actually had some sun and blue skies this morning but by mid-morning we were heading into clouds. It was pretty chilly as well, though the hills kept us warm as we struggled up them. We were both starting to get a bit hungry when just in time a bakery appeared in the small village of Praze-an-Beeble (no, I didn’t make up that name). We got some great little cheese and bacon pastries, which we inhaled in seconds and then talked about for the next several miles, wishing we had gotten a few extra (we did get a couple of fruit scones to take with us though).
There are lots of great houses in this area – we saw more thatched-roof houses today, lots of quaint English stone cottages, and barn conversions. Just like those houses you see on the property shows on TV where the hosts take people looking to move to the country out to see houses for sale. We even saw a really cute thatched-roof house for sale – Dave took a picture, in case anyone is interested in moving to hilly Cornwall. (junior editor’s note: the house for sale was yesterday but Nancy is tired so we will forgive her)
We made our way through the countryside and finally came over a ridge and saw the sea far out in front of us. Not far now! We rode down to Marazion, where we could see the impressive St Michael’s Mount out in the bay before us. St Michael’s Mount was an important religious location in the Middle Ages, where several miracles were said to have occurred. It was also the scene of many battles over the years. It is named St Michael’s after a vision of the Archangel of St Michael appeared on the Mount in 495AD. The island is separated from the mainland by a causeway that is covered by the sea at high tide. The same family, the St Aubyns, have lived on the island for at least 12 generations (the current family lives in the fortress) and there are also cottages on the island, which are inhabited other islanders.
In Marazion we were also lucky enough to find a second Philps’s Bakery. We stopped for our second bacon and cheese pastries – they are really good. This time we got a photo of Dave’s with only one bite missing. Somehow, mine was gone before we got the camera out.
From Marazion we rode down into Penzance and from there it was only 10 miles to Land’s End. A few more ups and downs and we finally hit the end – we had ridden as far as we could in Great Britain. It’s a bit of a tourist trap, but we took the usual pictures to prove that we were there. It was getting pretty chilly with the wind so we had a cup of coffee to try to warm up and fuel us for the return journey back to Penzance.
The slight tailwind we had on the way out to Land’s End seemed to be a much stronger headwind on the way back (isn’t that always the case?) so I was very happy to finally see the turnoff to Newlyn, the small village just south of Penzance where our rented accommodation was. We were warned by the landlord that the house was at the top of a very steep hill so anticipating that we wouldn’t feel like walking back to town by the time we got there we stopped at the local grocery store to pick up some things for dinner and breakfast.
Well, the landlord was right – it was a very steep hill up to the house but we eventually got there. It seems like a lovely little house, with wi-fi, a full kitchen, TV – all the works. I think this will be a relaxing place to hang out, and we will get some exercise walking up and down the hill to town for supplies.
The plan over the next couple of days is to figure out the next plan. What to do and where to go – big questions at the moment. But for now, we will just savour the feeling of having completed JOGLE along with a nice glass of red wine and the knowledge that we don’t have to figure out where we will sleep for the next 7 days.
Just for comparison:
-the record for golfing the end-to-end is 7 weeks;
-walkers usually take two to three months, depending on the route taken;
-the cycling record (set in 2001) is 44 hours, 4 minutes and 20, the record for a return trip is 5 days, 21 hours and 8 minutes (set in 2010), and the record for a unicycle is 6 days, 8 hours and 43 minutes;
-the record for running it is 9 days 2 hours and 17 days for running unsupported;
-the skateboarding record is 21 days;
-by public transportation, the record is 1 week, 6 hours using a free pensioners card (meaning you can only travel offpeak); and
-the record for hitchhiking is 17 hours and 8 minutes.
For the record, we rode 1116 miles, took 27 riding days and had 3 days off the bikes. All in all a good journey. Now on to relaxing for a few days…