67 miles and 2,545 feet ascent.
After a big day yesterday, today was deliberately designed to be quite a bit easier since by now our muscles are beginning to feel it. Today’s challenge was less about distance and height gain and more about navigation. We followed many quiet lanes through Devon (including along what’s known as Rob’s Passsage between Crediton and Bickleigh), past Tiverton and Taunton before continuing north through Somerset. Around half of today’s route was at least on National Cycle Route 3 where signposts made navigation a little easier. After Cornwall’s pasties and cream teas, today’s culinary highlights include cider and cheese.
Today’s journey in three words: muddy lanes, canals and cider.
What actually happened:
This morning was a sunshine and showers kind of a morning. In fact, no sooner had the sun come out that another shower came on. Luckily the BBC got the forecast wrong and only one shower spoilt the afternoon.
We ended up cycling 73 miles today, given last night’s B&B was west of Crediton. We then decided to cut the corner up to Bickleigh rather than head west then north along quiet lanes (ie Rob’s Passage).
This was a big mistake. There are some seriously big hills between Crediton and Bickleigh. Don’t ever cycle this road.
Once past Bickleigh things flattened out. We soon got to Tiverton, a nice looking town. NCN3 then took us along really nice canal towpaths (the Great Western Canal), through sleepy Devon villages (Hallburton and Nynehead both lovely) and then along muddy country lanes. Did I say muddy ? So muddy in fact that my bike needed a good wash down by the time we reached Taunton.
We faffed about quite a bit in Taunton and probably took long, what with lunch (pasties**), washing bikes and removal of waterproofs. It was almost 3pm before we finally managed to find the NCN3 out of Taunton, then followed a great canal path along the Bridgewater Canal and the A361 north across the Somerset Levels. By this point it was pretty windy, blowing in from the west. A nice view of the Mendips greeted us as we descended down the final hill towards Cheddar.
We enjoyed a lovely meal and cider (it would be rude not to …) in the Bath Arms (highly recommended).
PS A late addition to last night’s blog which I’d already posted: We shared ‘The Lamb’ in Sandford with a bunch of Morris dancers, who proceeded to dance in the street (in between showers), blocking in a Tesco delivery van who presumably missed his delivery slot. What’s Morris dancing all about then ? Really … just why ???! Utterly bizarre. They’d be beaten up dressing like that in Scotland.
** I see you’re all as bemused as we are about the pronunciation of pasty. Well, my mum has come to the rescue and confirmed that it is most definitely pronounced like “past”. My mum knows these things.
The high points:
- Canal towpaths
- Cheddar cider
- Sleepy villages with thatched roofs, duck ponds and parish churches.
And the low points:
- Rain showers
- Not managing to find our way out of Taunton.
- 73 miles cycled
- Max speed 34 mph