Tuesday 2nd October 2012 – Day 51
Brixton (the Devon one!) – Exmouth
5001 feet climbed
3214 calories burnt
Cumulative miles cycled round the coast = 3,073.51 miles
Please remember that Kirsty Medlock and her Dad, Stephen are cycling the 4,400 miles round the coast of Britain to raise £10,000 for Clifton’s Children Society (CCS) Adoption, the agency that facilitated an adoption for family friends. Please follow this link to donate as much as you can http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/cycling4adoption
Many, many thanks in advance!
Diary – Day 51
Today marks the day where Dad and I have cycled over 3,000 miles. It feels quite triumphant to have cycled continuously for so many miles and also finally be on the homeward straight. Every day it feels like we’re making good progress, it’s the little things that make you realise this, such as the fact we’re no longer looking out across the Atlantic Ocean but instead the English Channel.
We all had an early night yesterday as the forecast for today mentioned the weather would deteriorate drastically by 3:00pm so we wanted to be on our way as early as possible to make head way before the rain set in. As we were having breakfast, the heavens opened and there was a deluge of rain. Thankfully it didn’t last too long and at around 9:00am we set off.
On leaving the campsite we headed into Brixton and set off along the A379. As it had just rained heavily it made for dangerous cycling conditions; wet, slippy roads with lots of spray created from the passing cars. The only saving grace was that it was relatively warm, so we weren’t lumbered down with all our cold/wet weather gear.
As we were cycling along the sun came out, so the roads started to resemble a mirror, making me even more concerned that cars couldn’t see us. We carried on along the A379 all the way to Kingsbridge where we had a quick pitstop. I couldn’t really tell you what the A379 road was like from Brixton to Kingsbridge as I was paying too much attention to the traffic. The terrain was smooth, but the road was incredibly narrow for such an arterial road. We crossed two rivers before reaching Kingsbridge, the River Erme and the River Avon.
On leaving Kingsbridge we traced the A379 again, powering along. As we neared Start Bay we had a beautiful descent into Torcross. There was a wonderful stretch from Torcross to Slapton where we cycled along the A379 on a narrow strip of land that separated the fresh water lake of Slapton Ley from Start Bay.
Dad told me about the incident that happened in WWII where over 1,000 American servicemen died whilst rehearsing for the D-Day landings. German torpedo boats intercepted the rehearsal and in memory there is a Sherman tank and plaques in memory in Torcross.
After climbing the long ascent from Slapton all the way to Blackpool, we had wonderful views out to sea. We were then dipping down to Dartmouth to take the ‘higher’ ferry across the River Dart. The motorhome was up in Totnes after doing some shopping as we were low on supplies. So when I rang them to tell them we were on the Ferry, they were a bit shocked we’d already cycled the 30 miles of the morning. The crossing only cost us cyclists 50 pence a piece, one of the cheapest ferries we’d taken.
Over the other side, the climb out of the valley wasn’t as steep as we’d had after other ferry crossings. We climbed for about a mile and as we were doing so, I was on the phone to mum organising to meet the other side of Hillhead for lunch.
We had leek and potato soup for lunch, quickly whipped up by mum to warm us up on such a damp and dreary day. I calculated that it was only about 22 miles from our lunchtime lay-by to the Starcross ferry, so we didn’t stick around for too long meaning Exmouth would be our destination for the evening. We knew the last ferry was at 4:10pm so setting off at 1:30pm gave us just over two and a half hours to get there.
The afternoon’s cycle took in a lot more towns than the mornings ride. We cycled through the beautiful traditional seaside towns of Paignton, Torquay, Teignmouth an Dawlish. As we crossed the bridge into Teignmouth the heavens opened and Dad and I had to take cover in a bus stop. It didnt take long for the worst to pass and as we were on a tight schedule, with seven miles still to cycle to reach the ferry terminal we set off after five minutes in the shelter. It happened again in Dawlish but we kept cycling as we only had a couple of miles to go.
We reached the ferry terminal at 3:30pm and we were pleased to see it looked like the ferry was running. It came speeding across the River Exe at 4:00pm and by ten past we were on our way to meet up with the motorhome that had found a nights spot behind a fishery about 800 metres from where we landed on the ferry.
Harry made us soggy cyclists a wonderful cup of tea before our tasty dinner of bacon, chorizo and pea carbonara concoction. After dinner, we took Jasper for a walk along the sea front as he was getting cabin fever and we ended up in a pub called ‘The Beach’!
Two drinks later we stumbled back for an early (ish) night.