Land's End to Okehampton
There are hills in Cornwall and Devon. Lots of them. The enjoyment is freewheeling down them. The strenuous activity is cycling up them.
Map My Tracks told me there were 9,312 feet of hills to climb today. I believed it. Yet hills provide the opportunity for stunning and changing scenery. First the barren Land’s End, dark and foreboding at 7 am yet with the promise of sunlight that arrived as I rode past St Michael’s Mount. The route took me through country lanes where Vicki and friends Annabelle, Peter and Lesley greeted me and encouraged me on. Then I crossed over babbling rivers and an old stone bridge, through rolling countryside of all hues of green.
The border between the counties was marked by the upper reaches of the River Tamar and a steep descent out of Cornwall and a steep ascent into Devon.
The highlight of the day was the high plateau near the Minions where the panoramic views across moorland were stunning. I stopped to admire the views whilst others - heads down - sped by. Clearly many cyclists were on a mission to reach the destination of Okehampton soon. My purpose was to enjoy the journey, the solitude of hours on the road, to occasionally engage in snippets of conversation with the other cyclists as they or I went by, but mostly to connect with nature in a way that’s unique to being on a bike.
After more hills, the campsite near Okehampton arrived suddenly after 107 miles, 8 3/4 hours in the saddle and 10 1/2 hours after setting off. A 15 minute massage eased my aching legs, a hot shower revived my numbed body and a hearty dinner including apple crumble and custard perked me up no end.