Okehampton to Bath
Just before 7 am the sun dawned over Dartmoor and the dew glinted on my tent. The air was cold following a star-studied clear night necessitating a warm cycling jacket for a few hours.
There is something special about a Sunday morning when there are no cars on the road. The villages were dormant, as I swept through rolling hills with the sounds of chirping birdsong, and the dawn chorus saying good morning.
The valleys were cocooned in mist with wind turbines peeking above, the dazzling sun danced through the trees. In the blue sky countless vapour trails. The cows seemingly impatient to facilitate the making of Devonshire clotted cream.
The views are stunning to behold when travelling at an average speed of 12 mph. Each hillclimb is an opportunity to anticipate the view from the brow.
Cothelstone hill in Somerset was the highlight of today’s hills. 902 feet of what seemed like almost vertical inclines resulted in views from the top of the distant Severn estuary and Barry near Cardiff in the north and towards Yeovil in the south east.
The Somerset plains are flat! The relaxed cycling was interrupted by the steep climb up through Cheddar Gorge and then the rolling hills into Bath to arrive at an upmarket camp for the night. No tent! Instead a single room with a bed in the University campus complete with a shower to enjoy for as long as I liked.
After such a spectacular day it almost seems mundane to record that I was in the saddle for 8 3/4 hours cycling 110 miles with 7,695 feet of climbing reaching a top downhill speed of 40 mph and burning c 5,400 calories.