Thurs 6th May
Frustration with virus restrictions and even more with the freezing cold weather we have been having all April in North Norfolk , I finally took the decision one evening to get away and sat down to book some Air B&B’s. First night was rather wildly booked in Luton as somewhere that was 3 hours away and vaguely in the right direction . I had a busy day before leaving. It was voting day so vote first, then dentist and hygienist ( booked long ago) and then straight off to take a friend to a hospital appointment, wait for her and bring her back. So I packed on Wednesday and checked the bike over. I have used it a bit but not a lot during the winter !! Checked the tyres for wear. Oil had been topped up . It is not spotlessly clean. Flung my soft panniers over ready for my stuff.
The night before I had contacted my booking.com booking in Luton to find out about parking and access. The replies were useless. So I cancelled and booked an hotel in Bletchley! Did not think at the time that I had to be on a business trip to stay in a hotel! So with some trepidation I arrived to check in. Business person on a motorbike! Got the farm card out to pay with and got my story sorted…I was off to Worcestershire to learn about grafting fruit trees!! They did ask where I was going but that was it. In. You could get food in your room but not in the restaurant. On my way.
Friday 7th May
Set off early , 8am, after a waste of money cooked breakfast in my room. Outside it is cold, have heated jacket on and in use. I have 245 miles to do if I do motorway which I don’t want to. So I take other roads quite successfully to Bath. There I find a nice looking place with loads of chairs on the pavement. Weather is not bad and I park the bike on the pavement so I can watch it. They were not serving…not even a cup of tea for another hour!! So I sat on the wall by my bike and watched the world go by and ate some food I had with me. Then looked at the chain on the bike….needed oiling so I set about that and then I noticed the back tyre….what looked like a nail head was well buried in it!!
I then put two and two together; a bit back I had thought the bike was slewing round the bends a teeny bit…tyre pressure was down!! So since I was in a town let’s get it fixed at a tyre place. I did have a repair kit with me but..
Well one place led to another and after having it pumped up I made a run for Keynsham near Bristol…Unity Rd motorcycles had agreed to do it. So I hung around while they put a tube in my tubeless tyre….only safe way to fix it apparently as it was very slightly on the side wall.
At least it was not raining. I had sat in the sun and relaxed but no drink or food. Unity road was not the prettiest place. With all the waste of time and me wanting to see my old school friend tonight it was now motorway stuff. Boring ride 75 miles or so down the M5 and then onwards to Seaton next to Looe where I had booked a B and B. The directions were bad. Tiny steep single track road, tricky to turn a bike around but got there in the end after a phone call. Quick change and ready for Monica who came and picked me up in her car. On the map it looked close enough to walk to Looe but in reality the estuary got in the way and it ended up about an 8 mile drive. Monica found the narrow lane hard in a her car !
We had a great evening together, well, as good as you can at the moment. Drink outside and then collected a takeaway to eat. Getting cold naturally. Looe is lovely and Monica has a lovely view from her house over the tidal harbour. She kindly took me back to my spot, floundering along those narrow lanes again.
May 8th Saturday
Not the best Airb&b. Monica had to give me some milk as I had noticed there was none. No breakfast at all either !! They had a gate which they even shut when they left just before I was ready. So it was open the gate, ride the bike out of their steep drive entrance out onto the narrow lane and then park it and shut the gate again.
It is a foul weather day. Grey mist but not quite raining as I left to go back to Looe to take some misty pictures.
Monica and I were so busy talking that we forgot to take any photos the evening before.! Then on to Polperro…pretty in the rain. Then on down the coast to my next spot which is Newlyn. About 70 miles to do. Great, great , shame its such horrible weather as I have plenty of time.
I get to a place called Par before/near to St Austell. There I see some tents etc and realise its a huge market place so I wander in and park the bike where I can see some tables under a roof. It is tipping it down so nice to get inside and buy a drink and food and then sit outsideunder the roof. This virus!! People in their various masks interesting to look at I suppose. Oldies at the next door table can’t wait for an end to masks..like me!!
On to the King Harry Ferry to cross over to Falmouth without going through Truro. An interesting diversion though I have done it before. Still wet.. check out Falmouth and then onto my B and B.
This one is much better.! Later head out to get a takeaway. Get soaked jeans as it is pouring and wind lashing. Umbrella useless. However strangely felt surprised when I heard someone speaking English….I have the vague impression I am abroad !!! Not sure why.
May 9th Sunday
I walk some of the coastal path.
This looks lovely, soon it goes like this.
I have researched madly about how many miles the section I want to do is, the means of getting back to base and the goal. The goal is to see The Minacks theatre. This is an open air amphitheatre built by a woman called Rowena Cade who built it all by hand with help from a couple of men. Look her up. She died in 1983, aged 89. It sits above rocky cliffs.
Miles were about 9.7 which included getting to the bus stop. I have never walked that far in recent history. Did 8 miles on the flat not so long ago. Its Sunday so bus not often and last one left at 15.17pm. So how long to walk 9.7 miles? I thought max 6 hrs. That would average 1.5 miles an hour. Plenty of time for rests….
Fishing boat in Newlyn at start of my walk.
I set off at 8.30am. Get there by 2.30pm, time to see the amphitheatre and get to the bus. Seemed to go well for while. Path not easy but was on target for about 4 hours walking. As I got more tired things got worse. Path was very tough in parts , lots of rock scrambling, nasty wet patch, much up and down on edge of cliff. Cafes that claimed to be open were not. It was super scenic…lovely views of the sea!!
Nice people on the path. But I was tiring and in particular muscles round my hips/bum were obviously not fit. Going up hill up steep steps was tough…hurt! Downhill okay but each down meant another up.
Result was I reached Porthcurno in time to catch the bus but not see the amphitheatre! I thought getting the bus more important as I can motorbike there tomorrow which I will do. Currently quite exhausted..!! Muscles quite seized up…motorbike again tomorrow.
May 10th Monday
Its vaguely sunny and dry for now. Pack and leave this B &B and head on the bike for the Lizard peninsula. Long time ago..50 years ago…I came down here a couple of times with the subaqua club from London. We stayed in a caravan. We had our own boat and all our own kit. Homemade wetsuits . You bought the neoprene and a pattern and cut out and glued it together yourself. No life jacket with adjustable buoyancy. Just had to get the lead weights right for the depth you were going. If you didn’t, you either walked along the bottom , too heavy, or were constantly fighting to stay down, too light.
Mullion Cove was one spot.
Its still the same. Coverack seems to have more houses but otherwise harbour still there the same.
I biked down to the Lizard too and parked near the cafe. Got it wrong with the slope and needed help to push my bike backwards out of its space. !!
Lots of tiny roads but no mishaps. Then on to , or back to, The Minack theatre at Porthcurno. Very pleased with yesterday’s decision. It took an hour to walk there, see it and get back to the bike. Wonderful setting but quite spoilt by commercialism. I had to pay £7.50 just to get to see it. I am sure the lady ( Emma Cade) who was inspired to build it, would be turning in her grave.
Onto next B and B virtually at Lands End. Another good one. On to bike again to get evening meal at a pub 3 miles away. Eating outside in 3 jackets including motorbike jacket is not great. Roll on May 17th.!
May 11th Tuesday
My last B and B had bits for breakfast ie, cereals, packeted porridge, bread etc. This one has nothing except tea and coffee. Nice room but no food. Microwave etc . So, one tiny packet of shortbread and some water was it before I set off to walk again. This time its a circular route so no time pressure. Forecast is for rain for a couple of hours. So we’ll dressed up in waterproofs.
It does rain as I head into the wind. But I have good equipment…or so I thought. The Kriega waterproof rucksack was leaky so my spare pair of socks got soaked. This was unfortunate as my waterproof boots leaked too so wet feet. My haglof trousers were excellent as was the green jacket.
But it was a good walk; rain stopped and it was very scenic. Ended up skirting round Lands End and ended up going to Sennen and that back to my lodgings. 9 miles!! Easier than the other day. Do not have to pay for Lands End if you walk into it…
Stone chat.I think European.
Food tonight might be a picnic from Cost cutter or an outside meal at The Last and First pub in England if it doesn’t rain again.
May 12th Wed
Breakfast bought from Costcutter, First and Last had shut when I went to eat there so it was back to Logan Rock for another meal….in the rain.
Pack to leave this spot and now motorbike about 130 miles in the rain. Can’t believe how cold and horrid the weather is. Somehow I enjoy most of the day.
Sometimes the rain stopped briefly, sometimes the road was dry. Mostly wet though. Nowhere sensible to stop especially because of this virus and having to be outside. I set the TomTom to shortest distance and went down some tiny but interesting roads. The temperature was between 8c and 11c. Finally connected the electric jct to keep warm.
Ilfracombe for the night. This B & B required that I am on a business trip. No problem… Walked into town and saw the statue of Verity by Damien Hurst…in the rain!!
My street shoes were now getting wet. My motorbike boots are soaking, those socks wet, stuff in rucksack wet. Dried things out before going back to eat at Wetherspoons. Half the price of Logan Rock and not half the value.
May 13th Thurs
Damp and cold as I set off to meet with Jane somewhere on my way to Bristol. We sat in all our coats in a marque at a cider place while it poured with rain. Nice chat. Then on I went heading for last night on the road before reaching home. The cheapest night yet but very good value in Wantage which is the possible birthplace of King Alfred !! Certainly the pub is called King Alfred. I ate there under cover near a table with 3 ladies aged about 30 talking nine to the dozen about everything. Really quite entertaining !
May 14th Fri
I head to Ravensthorpe to see two sets of friends. I said a cup of tea and they insisted I stay. So put up in annexe… all very nice. It was still cold and raining a bit. Wet feet again.
May 15th Sat
Off after breakfast. Its still wet and cold. I have travelled these last 3 days under a low weather system. Bit of bad luck. Nice to be away and nice to get home. First job is send those weatherproof boots back….