When I arrived at Patrick’s house in Sandford at about 415pm Rich, who is to be my cycling companion for the next two days, was already there. I performed the usual offices and had a cup of tea and a natter and later P drove us to Belluno, an Italian restaurant in Newton St Cyres. Housed in a former pub it provides everything one would expect from an Italian restaurant and we ate and drank well – a pleasant evening.
This morning we were in no hurry to get away and breakfasted on scrambled eggs and bacon before leaving at about 10 am, having arranged to meet James, P’s son at the Castle Inn at Lydford for lunch. The route to Okehampton rises and falls and we were slightly behind schedule by the time we climbed from the centre of town up to the railway station and the start of the Granite Way, a mostly tarmacked path across the edge of Dartmoor.
There is a strange 230 yard section in the middle that has not been adopted and is a permissive path that winds through the undergrowth before joining with the next section of tarmac. We crossed the impressive Meldon viaduct high above the valley below and with magnificent views of Dartmoor to our left.
We were able to make good speed along the well maintained path, meeting several cyclists going in either direction and arrived at the pub 5 minutes later than anticipated. James and P were already there and we each had a pint of Proper Job and a very nice ham sandwich on sour dough bread before we said goodbye to P and carried on westwards.
The road drops sharply from Lydford village and winds on for a couple of miles to Lydford Gorge, owned by the National Trust and a popular visitor attraction. It was interesting to see how my electric assistance performed against a young fit cyclist like James and I was able to keep up with him for most of the time. I think he was quite impressed by the way it performed and thinks it is the way for P to get back to cycling.
We hit some very steep climbs that made us all work hard and passed Brentor church, high on its volcanic plug,
and at 235pm we entered Cornwall by way of Horsebridge and stopped in the middle of the bridge to take pictures.
There was a Golden Retriever paddling in the water below with no sign of an owner but it seemed quite happy and we continued.
In front of us was a girl riding a horse and leading a second one. We stopped to chat. Her name is Elsa Kent, aged 22, and she has ridden all the way from John O’Groats and will make it to Lands End in a week or so.
She is riding to raise awareness of Environmental issues and to try to make it a core subject in all schools, having spent time working at Kivukoni school in Kenya, which has a world-class sustainability program. If you search for the Climate Ride you will find more details of what various people are achieving. One of the secrets to such long distance riding is not to treat the second horse as a pack animal to ensure that it gets a proper rest before it is ridden in turn. What a great thing to do.
We continued to climb up onto the edge of Bodmin Moor where James turned off to head to Plymouth where he is staying on holiday.
Rich and I made our way towards the A38 at Dobwalls. It was very busy in both directions and it took a little time before we could turn onto the road. Fortunately the main direction of the road from that point is downwards and so we were able to move along quite fast and not hold up the traffic too much. After about 6 miles we turned off up to Bodmin Parkway station where we lost the way slightly before entering the Lanhydrock Estate by a path surrounded by magnificent trees. We crossed the River Fowey
and then hit the steepest climb of the day before joining the road that took us to Lanhydrock Golf Club, our hotel for the night.