Monday, 7 July 2014

The Last Blog. For now ;-)

3rd July 2014

We had breakfast this morning and for the first time none of us had a full cooked breakfast.  We all had cooked but just chose the bits we wanted.  It was nice and the people were very nice.  I did manage with the cupboard which was our shower, just.  It was a bit of a squeeze.

Anyway we left about 9.30 am.  We are on our way to Truro, which is 35 miles.  It does look very hilly again, but I suppose Cornwall is.  Graham is on the bike today.  The sun is shining a bit  too much today.  Still we can’t grumble as we have been so lucky with the weather. 

Dani was going to try some back roads, to keep of the A38 but I think the hills were too high, so they decided to come back to the main roads. 

Caroline and I  went straight to Lostwithiel on A390.  We were looking for lunch, coffee and doughnuts.  We parked the van and walked round the town.  It was a really pretty little town.  We did find some doughnuts, and luckily some buttons.  Caroline decided she didn’t want to come to the button shop with me and wandered to the river.  It was very nice there and we thought it would be a good place to meet up with the others.

Their morning had not been as good as ours.  They had some really horrendous hills to climb on the way to Lostwithiel.  We had found a nice coffee shop to have coffee.  By this time they had recovered enough to carry on. 

Caroline and I then went straight to St Austell.  Rather than go off the main road, we saw a Tesco supermarket.  We did stop to buy lunch but thought it would be nice if we had lunch in Tesco’s coffee shop.

Dani’s knee was quite painful when they reached us.  She rubbed some deep heat on it and rested it for an hour.  That’s it with this challenge, none of us want to give up at this stage.  Just one more day to go.  We had lunch then on we went.

Caroline and I, although not cycling today, feel every hill for them at this stage.  It’s just as well they have been sensible and don’t have the 60 mile days we had in Scotland.  Dani said “It’s really lucky we did it the way we have because we are all a lot stronger at this stage than we were at the beginning”.

They headed off, up yet another big hill.  They had about 20 miles to go.  We thought we would go about half way and wait for them.  It was a little bit further than that.  They soon caught up with us.  They were very hot and exhausted.  Dani said she had been really working hard up one hill, nearly ready to get off and walk and someone shouted to her. “Come on you can do it, pedal”.  It really gave her the push she needed and made it up the hill.

We left them then to find the B and B in Truro.  It’s really nice and homely.  We had two big rooms.  We waited outside for the others to arrive, which wasn’t long.  We had showers and cleaned up, rang for a taxi to take us into town.  Dani wanted an Italian meal for the last one.  The taxi driver took us to one but it was closed, so we went to Mama Mia, which sounded Italian, but wasn’t.  It was a nice meal though.  Our last meal with the five of us.  Tomorrow our last breakfast.  Do you think we can say no tomorrow.  We’ll see.

4th July 2014    

Well of all things, we were not offered breakfasts in Truro.  We had a continental breakfast.  So while we were thinking about not having breakfast, we were very disappointed not to be offered.  I would most definitely had had one as it was our last morning.

We set off about 8.30am.  I was cycling today as Graham had cycled all day yesterday and it was the last day.  I was determined to do the whole journey to our house in Sennen.  We had some quite big hills out of Truro.  Today I would try and only use the electrics uphill so it would last all day.  It did mean Andy and Dani would have to wait for me to catch up.

Rain was in the air and looking at the weather forecast for today, we knew the rain would be coming.  We started with tee shirts and cycling gear, then the rain got harder so we put our macs on.  Then it stopped and you were boiling, so we took them off again.  When the second lot of rain started, I knew this would be in for the day.  The trouble is when you’re  wet, you soon get cold and the winds were the strongest we had encountered to.

We met Caroline and Graham is Carharrack and had a Costa Coffee.  We were then going to meet up for lunch at Penzance.  By now it was raining so hard, it was stinging our faces.  We came along the coast road between Marazion and Penzance and I don’t know how we stayed on our bikes.

Dani’s sat nav took us on its last little detour in Marazion, right opposite St Michael’s Mount.  It was a little alley way.  When we got to the end it nearly blow my hat off.  In different weather it would have been a fantastic photo opportunity but it was too wet to get our cameras out.  Then we realised we had taken the wrong turn.

After that it was just heads down and keep going.  Graham and Caroline phoned to say they were in Morrison’s, just outside Penzance.  We could have coffee, lunch and get supplies for tomorrow.  We stayed for about one hour.

It was hard to get our wet clothes on again but we only had about ten miles to go.  By now my battery was very low.

We had a couple of hills, one that went on and on.  Nothing like they had had the previous few days but for my battery, it was complaining.  On the bigger hills it did not have any power and I had to walk.  I said to Andy and Dani, if they wanted to go on I couldn’t get lost and I would see them there.  They said “No, we started as a team and we’ll finish as a team”.  So they waited.  At one stage I was pushing the bike up the hill and Andy stopped, ran back down and pushed the bike up for me.  What a team, I was very touched. 

Then the best bit of all, we came round a corner and there were Graham and Caroline.  Caroline was on her trike, ready to join us for the last bit of our journey to the house, our last stop before Land’s End.  I had another moment, as I did at the beginning, with tears, I was so proud of her.

When we arrived at the house, we had a little fanfare waiting for us.  Sue, Andy’s mum, Shelly, Dani’s mum and Chris, Dani’s boyfriend were there waiting for us.  It was so nice to see them and to get our wet clothes off.  The house was lovely.  Just right for all of us to stay.  Later Allison, Lee and Lillie came.  They were camping in Sennen.  Andy and Caroline cooked a lovely Shepherd’s Pie for tea.  It was such a happy time.  All reliving the journey and remembering different parts.  At this stage it would have been nice if Graeme had been there too, as he was part of our team.  He can’t get here until tomorrow. 

We also put all of Caroline’s photos on the TV and lived it yet again.  We all had such a laugh and have some fantastic memories that will be with us for ever.

5th July 2014

It is now the last day.  I woke as usual at 5am.  I came down and did the blog for yesterday, had a cup of tea, and a moment to myself.  Graham and Sue came down about 7.30 to 8am.  We had some cereal and Sue and I went to the shop to get papers.  As all the others were still in bed we walked to Sennen Bay.  It was beautiful.  There were lots of surfers out.  We had a coffee, sat on the front.  It was lovely.  Then Sue saw a bus coming toward us.  We both had bus passes so decided to flag the bus down to take us back up the hill.  The bus driver was very obliging and stopped for us.  He dropped us outside Costcutter.  We then got our papers and came back to the house.  It was still only 9.30am.

Most people were up and about.  We had bacon sandwiches for breakfast.  By then we were all getting ready to do the last mile into Land’s End.

We had to wait for Allison and Lee who were in our car and guess what, it wouldn’t start.  Dani’s brother James to the rescue.  He had some jump leads in his car, rushed down to Allison and got the car started.

We waited for them all to go past us, then we started our last ride down to Land’s End. Actually it was the first time the five of us had cycled together as one of us was usually in the van.  It was a really strange feeling.  Caroline Dani and Andy in front, me and Graham behind as always, back up or bringing up the rear.

When we got to the End, there were loads of family and friends cheering us on.  I was so emotional.  There were even a party of men that had finished about an hour before us, heard we were coming and decided to wait for us and cheer us in.  Even the man on the gate gave us a cheer and clapped us in.  Graham and I felt really privileged to have been involved in this adventure, but the main people were Dani, Andy and of course Caroline.  Dani and Andy had done so well.  What an achievement.  We all knew we were on an adventure but I don’t think any of us realised just what an adventure it would be.  Caroline didn’t cycle in body but in spirit, she did every mile with Dani and Andy.  It would never have happened if it had not been for her.  

We spent about an hour or so at Land’s End with so many photos and Champagne, it was brilliant.  We then went back to the house and had a BBQ with anyone who wanted to join us.  It was a lovely end to a brilliant 3 weeks.

We have all joked all the way through this, what Caroline’s next challenge will be.  I still say I am not swimming the channel.  Caroline says the same as she said after Ben Nevis “Never again”.  None of believed her.  It took four years after Ben Nevis to come up with this one.  So we’ll wait.

We left after everyone else yesterday.  We went to Caroline and Andy’s first, to drop the bikes off.  Before we even got inside, Caroline said “We have our next challenge sorted, are you and dad up for doing the London to Paris cycle ride”.  I knew it.  In our excitement we have both said yes.  So watch this space. 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

nearly there now

Thursday 26th June

We had breakfast together and sorted the bikes out and packed the van by about 9.30am.  Graham handed his key in early as our room was clear.  When I went to pay, the hotel owner thought we had left without paying.  We have to check he didn’t take the money out twice for our room.  Caroline booked that one and left her details.

As we had a bike this morning, Gra started with Dani, Andy and Graham.  They were going to be on cycle paths or by the river a lot of the journey.  It was quite complicated for Dani so Caroline and I decided not to travel with them.  We went to get our salads from Morrison’s, more drinks and cereal bars. 

We made our way to Platt Bridge and waited at McDonalds for them to catch up.  It was just a place we could focus on and find easily.  We didn’t waist our time.  We updated the blog and both caught up with our emails.  We knew the cyclists were not far away.

When they arrived at McDonalds we had drinks, Andy and Graham had burgers, Dani had her salad, me, Caroline and Graham said we would have our salads later.  We also had some doughnuts.  They seem to go down well.

While talking about the morning it was noted that Gra wobbled a bit by the edge of  the river.  Made them all chuckle.  It would have made their day if he had fallen in. 

Anyway Gra and I changed bike for van for the afternoon.  I was a bit nervous as I hadn’t been on my bike for a few days and definitely not on big roads.  We went thought Platt Bridge,  on to Golbourne, then right through the centre of Warrington. The journeny was  nothing like they had said the morning had been.  I think the day was about 38 miles and Gra and I did half and half.

We are over half way now.  Who would have though.  It’s going by so quickly.  Graham has only got two days left.  I’m not quite sure whether he will be happy to leave or sad.  He has worked really hard.  We’ll miss him when he’s gone (especially me and Gra).

None of us felt like eating much for tea as we had our lovely salads late.  Gra and I were in bed by about 8 O Clock.  Caroline and Dani watched a film.  I’m not quite such what Andy and Graham did.

Friday 27th June

Today breakfast was about 7.30am.  It was a buffet breakfast but we had plenty to choose from.  We left before 9 0 clock.  Caroline and I were in the van.  It was drizzling when we left.  We were hoping it wouldn’t get too bad.  Caroline and I knew we would not be able to follow them this morning.  We had stayed the night in between Dutton and Weaverham.  They were heading on the A49 towards Tarporley but then going on cycle tracks. As we couldn’t follow them we decided to go straight to Tarporley and waiting for them there. 

Tarporley was a beautiful little town.  I went to the public loo and it was better than the last two hotels we had stayed in.  We waited for the others to get to us.  They decided that they would not stay and have coffee, as it was too early and I wasn’t important enough, being only the van driver.  I was a bit disappointed as no time is too early for a coffee.  Never mind upwards and onwards. (I didn’t really mind).

After we left them, Dani’s sat nav took them on a road which went into a very small track, which seemed to be getting smaller and smaller, with long grass on either side until they were on a very muddy track.  Dani said she had definitely not checked that one out.  As they were wet though, the grass seed stuck to their clothes.

We then all headed for Whitchurch.  When going into the town, we saw a big Sainsbury’s and thought that would be a good place to meet up.  It’s very difficult when you are coming in and out of phone signal, to see where they are, so it’s good to have somewhere for them to head for.  By the time they reached us it was raining really hard.  They were drenched.  It is the first rain we have had so we can’t grumble.  As long as we are all prepared for all weathers, we are fine. 

We were able to have lunch, dry off a bit, loo break and get any supplies we needed.  Great.  We stayed about one hour, then it was my turn to go on the bike.  We set off in the rain but it stopped soon after.  We were on cycle paths again this afternoon, which was lovely.  The views were not spectacular but good cycling.

We came off the cycle track at Wem, on the B5476 and there were Caroline and Gra in a layby with van.  It’s always nice to see the van.  (And Caroline and Gra of coarse).  We have a little brake, something to drink and doughnuts.  Lovely.

We left them with about 10 miles to go.  We went through Wem, under a railway bridge, and then thunder.  We could see the rain coming.  It rained really hard.  We were following the B5476.  With the rain and traffic we were all just putting our heads down and thinking of arriving at the hotel.  The rain was really stinging our faces.  Dani said we were going at about 18 miles an hour. 

By the time we reached Shrewsbury the rain had stopped but we were really wet through.  Not too bad for me but it was the second time today for the others.  We have been so lucky with the weather.  It’s the first day we have had rain while we have been cycling.

The roads were getting busy by this time.  I was very proud of myself, I went round a big roundabout on the bike, through an estate with loads of traffic, then arrived at the hotel about 4pm.  Dani, Andy and Graham seamed used to the traffic but I am certainly not.

We booked into the hotel, which was really nice.  We all got cleaned up.  As we went to the restaurant in the hotel to eat, the heavens opened again with thunder and lightning.  We had a really nice meal though.  It was a really lovely evening with lots of laughing. 

Gra and I are back in our room at 9 0 Clock, getting into bed.  I’m not sure what the weather is going to be like tomorrow.  It doesn’t matter though, we are prepared for anything.  By this time next week we will be home and dry.

Saturday 27th June

After a really good night’s sleep we had a lay in this morning.  We had breakfast at 8.30am as we only have about 28 miles to go to Ludlow.  It was a really nice hotel in Shrewsbury. 

By the time we were all ready it was about 10am.  Caroline’s leg is slowly getting better. Less swollen and doesn’t hurt as much, but still not enough for her to cycle.  She is really upset about it and it’s no good for us to keep saying it doesn’t matter. She is still doing a good job with Gra and me in the van but Caroline wanted to be cycling.

Today Gra is cycling and I am in the van with Caroline.  Again we are unable to follow along with the cyclist on the tiny roads they are going on.  We have worked out that we should meet up at Wall Under Heywood as there is a pub there and we could get a drink.  We arrived at 11 0 clock and the others arrived at 12 0 Clock but the pub didn’t open. 

Gra and I swapped then and he went ahead to find somewhere we could get a drink.  We hadn’t gone long when he flagged us down at a place called Westhope College.  We had a drink and a piece of homemade cake.  It was such a lovely place. 

Before long though we were on our way again.  It didn’t seem long before we arrived at Ludlow.  We did make a wrong turn in Ludlow and cycled all the way through to the other end of town and all the way back.  That meant two quite steep hills one coming in and one coming out.  Not to worry though, we are all a lot fitter now than when we started.

We arrived at the hotel about 2am but couldn’t get in immediately as the rooms were not quite ready.  Dani had a problem with her gears on the way to Ludlow but there was a cycle shop nearby so Dani and Andy cycled there to get it fixed.  Bike fixed, rooms ready, we had time to spend in Ludlow. 

Graham took us in relays into Ludlow as it was about a 25 min walk.  We all loved Ludlow.  Kevin’s friend Rich owns a bar/restaurant in Ludlow, called Marches.  Lovely food, lovely people and right near the castle.  We had a really enjoyable evening.  It was Grahams last evening and I’m still not sure whether he was happy or sad.  He will be missed.

At this stage I must apologise to Graham, as of all things I have spelt his name wrong all the way through this blog.  It would have made it so much easier if I had remembered Graham’s name is spelt Graeme and Gra’s name is Graham.   Everybody would have known exactly who I was talking about.  I did say I would alter it but Graham said no, it would only make life difficult. 

Anyway Gra, Dani and I decided to leave the other three in town and make our way back to the hotel.  Another big day tomorrow.  That sounded easy, if we could have found which little alley took us to the van.  I think we could have nearly walked back by the time we found it.


Sunday 28th June

We were in the Travelodge last night and the restaurant for breakfast, next door, didn’t open  until 9 0 clock, so we decided to pack all the van, and make do with what we were carrying in the van. We have cups, plates, bowls, cutlery, some cereal’s and fruit, tea and coffee. 

After breakfast we said our goodbyes to Graeme and got on our way.  I don’t think he is leaving Ludlow till about 11am.  It was about 9am when we left.  Graham was on the bike.  We had about 58 miles today.

We arranged to meet in a small village called  ?.  When we arrived, there was nowhere for us to stop and meet up.  We parked just out of the village and waited for them to get to us.   

We then had a mission to find somewhere to have coffee.  We saw a place which was perfect for us.  It was a really nice picnic place with a coffee shop, not very busy.  We had coffee and tea cakes.  When we came out it had got very busy and now Dani wanted the loo before we left.  A whole coach load of girl guides had just arrived.  The queue was enormous.  Rather than queue she used the disabled one with Caroline.

Anyway we managed to get on our way again soon after.  They were on main roads today and it’s not so good for parking places.  We did find a great hotel called the Pilgrim Hotel, to have lunch.  Graham then went and had a little sleep in the van, otherwise he would have fallen off his chair.

After that, Graham still on the bike, they had about 20 miles to go.  It’s much more difficult without Graeme.  When he was there, we went in twos.  Dani and Andy are about the same standard.  We just bring up the rear.  Had Graeme had a lighter bike I don’t think he would have been at the back with us.  I think Graeme thought we would be travelling at Caroline’s speed, but with her not cycling, the pace is a lot quicker.  I have to say, without the electrics I wouldn’t be doing any cycling.  Graham is being very good and not using the electrics, to save it for me.  Although some of the hills are a bit daunting.

Caroline and I actually lost the others around Symonds Yat.  We had no idea where  they were, or what’s worse, where we were.  We had to set the Glympse up with Andy.  We found them eventually and then stopped on a little patch of grass and made a cup of tea. 

Off we went again with only about 10 miles to go.  Graham seemed to want to do the whole journey today, so I kindly let him do it.  We arrived in Chepstow about 6pm.  We unloaded the van and parked in a local car park.  After showers tidying ourselves up, we went to look for somewhere for tea.  The B & B owner said there was a pub down by the river, so we walked there.  It was beautiful, but no food on a Sunday evening.  We went to about six other pubs or wine bars, no food on Sunday evening.  In the end we had to go to Weatherspoons.  None of us wanted to after the fiasco in Ayr, but we were hungry and Caroline’s foot was hurting.

Anyway, we had a nice evening.  While there I went to the bar to order our food and drinks.  As I was paying, I said to the boy at the bar “I’m sorry I dropped one”.  He smirked and I felt a bit embarrassed as he did know that I was talking about a penny in my purse.  Then somebody came to the bar and said to him “I don’t want to worry you, but your bin outside is on fire”.  Well he rushed off. When I was relaying this to the others, Andy said “That was probably code to get him away from the smell”.  It might not seem funny now, but we found it hilarious.

We then went back to the B and B and to bed.


Monday 29th June

This morning we had breakfast at about 7.30am.  It was very nice, full cooked of course.  We are still finding it difficult to say no.

This morning everyone, including Caroline is very excited about cycling over the old seven bridge.  Graham was cycling so Caroline and I drove over the bridge to the services on the other side.  We then got Caroline’s trike off the van, got her togged up in her cycling gear and she was off.  I walked down some steps to the cycle track.  Caroline soon overtook me and was off to meet the others half way.  I thought it might be windy on the bridge, but it was beautiful.  We had a photo call on the bridge, when I reached them, out of breath.  Took some more of them leaving, then I walked back.  Caroline was really pleased, I was exhausted.  It was one of the things her and Dani had talked about when planning the trip.  It did make her realise that her ankle is not better yet and she would be silly to attempt to cycle any more. yet.

Dani, Andy and Graham had already left us, as today Natashia was meeting us.  She is the lady who started LEAF, the charity who we are supporting. 

Caroline and I got the bike into the van again and went to meet her at the ? pub in .  She was already at the pub when we arrived.  I had not met her before.  She was lovely and really wanted to know all about the journey we have been on.  Dani, Andy and Graham arrived about an hour later.  We all had a really nice time with Natashia and I hope it gave her a taste of the fun this journey been.  By the time Natashia left we realised it was lunch time and had we thought about it we would have asked her to have lunch with us.

We set off about 1.30pm.  I was cycling now.  Graham and Caroline in the van.  We went on some fabulous cycle tracks today.  By the way we had a little rain today.  We were on the Strawberry Line cycle track.  It went for miles.  At one stage we saw a sign that said “Tunnel, put your lights on”.  Dani and I thought, we can see the tunnel and we can see the other end of the tunnel.  We didn’t have lights with us.  I followed Dani into the tunnel and you couldn’t see anything.  There were cats eyes in the tunnel and if it hadn’t been for these, we wouldn’t have found our way out.  Dani stopped at one stage and I nearly bumped into her.  It was really funny and very cold.

We came off the cycle tracks and on to the A38.  It was a very busy road and after the cycle tracks, we just put our head down and just cycled.  Andy stopped at one stage and he usually catches us up quite quickly.  We had cycled quite a way when my phone started ringing.  I thought it would be Graham and Caroline wanting to know where we were. As I was on a busy road I just ignored it until I was off the main road.  We realised then that Andy was not with us.  When I looked at my phone it was Andy ringing us.  For a second I was really worried, until Andy said on the phone “where are you”.  We had gone quite a way ahead not realising and Andy didn’t see where we were.  He thought we might have turned off the road somewhere.  He really wasn’t far behind, just out of sight. 

Next we came to a little village called Mark on the Somerset Levels.  There was Graham and Caroline.  It was really hot by then so we had a well-deserved ice cream. We had about half hour stop.  Then Graham took over the cycling.

Caroline and I followed them for a while, then decided we had to go to the Boat and Anchor pub at Huntworth, just outside Bridgewater, where we are staying tonight.  Our friends Konrad and Lesli were coming to meet us and have dinner with us.  We had a drink in the garden as it was still lovely weather when the others arrived.  When we had had showers and got changed we had dinner in the pub.  Again we had a really lovely evening. 

Then to bed.


Tuesday 1st July

This morning we were up at 7am.  Breakfast at 8am.  Today we had 53 miles to go to just outside Crediton, a place called Coleford.   We left the hotel about 9.30am. 

It was a really sunny morning, Graham on the bike, so Caroline and I were in the van.  We could not follow them as there were cycle tracks again.  We had to buy lunch today so went into Bridgwater to Morrison’s.   We had arranged to meet them in Uffculme.  As we didn’t know which direction they were going to come from, we waited for the Glympse to catch up.  There was a layby we stopped in and made a cup of coffee.  It seemed hard for the three of them this morning.

They left us then to meet up again to have lunch.  (Our salads).  While waiting there a man on one of these disabled scooters came to talk to us.  He was very nice and gave us some local information, like loos and things.  Then he went on and on and on.  Within half an hour he had told us his life storey, about how he became disabled.  All about his visits to the hospital.  Really just telling us how many thing he had wrong with him and how he coped.  Caroline was sitting  on a stool near him but he hadn’t notice she was disabled and she didn’t want him to know.  She text Andy, who by now, along with Graham and Dani had wandered off,  “How can I move away without him realising that I am disabled”.  Andy text back  “Just do a commando roll, get up and walk away”.   I’m so glad I didn’t know what they were laughing at, also glad that Caroline couldn’t leave me too. 

Anyway, by the time he left us, it was time to move on.  Graham was happy to stay on the bike, as I was still tender from yesterday.  We then said we would make our way to Bickleigh and meet up there.  I love Bickleigh and was happy to go there.  They arrived about 2.30pm.  We had a cream tea, or toasted tea cakes.  It was a nice break and they only had about 10 miles to go.

Caroline and I then went to find the New Inn at Coleford, where we are staying the night.  Andy’s mum, sister and niece, Sue, Lucy and Erin were meeting us tonight, having tea with us and staying the night.  The New Inn was lovely, really nice rooms.  We all unloaded again, got showered and dressed and met in the restaurant to eat.  We had a lovely evening again, with lovely food.  By about 8pm Erin was ready for her bed.  The owner gave Lucy some DVD’s for Erin to watch.  By then we were all getting tired, so made our way to the rooms.  Andy, Caroline, Dani and Lucy went back out to have a drink in the garden.  At the moment they are making quite a lot of noise outside our window. 

Only two more hotels to go before the end.  I can’t believe nearly three weeks have gone by.

2nd July 2014

I have to say, the New Inn we stayed in last night was lovely.  Beautiful old building, lots of space, lovely comfortable beds and good shower.  The food was lovely too.

This morning we had breakfast with Sue, Lucy and Erin at 8am.  The sun was shining again, everything was rosy.

I was cycling today, as Graham cycled all day yesterday.  It was very hilly and we had a really big hill to get out of the village.  I did manage to cycle all the way to the top, with the help of the electrics but it was still a massive hill.  Every time we reached the top of a hill, we had a lovely quick decent and then another hill, and another hill, and another.  I was managing very well and keeping up with Dani and Andy.  We met up with Graham and Caroline in Okehampton.  They had takeaway coffees for us at the Waitrose supermarket.  We were able to go to the toilet and get cash for the kitty.  And of course our doughnuts.

Just before we met them I stopped next to Dani.  I was still sitting in my bike but unfortunately my feet don’t reach the ground, luckily Dani caught me.  Later I did exactly the same, but this time nobody was close enough.  I didn’t fall down and managed to cock my leg over the saddle and slide off.  (I didn’t know my leg still lifted that high).  It did make Dani and Andy laugh.

After we left Okehampton Dani’s sat nav took us down a little lane to get off the main road.  There was a tractor cutting the edges, we couldn’t get by so we followed him along the road.  It took a few minutes but we didn’t mind.  It was a welcome break.  As soon as we could we left the tractor, the sat nav took us down a little gravel track.  It did seem strange as it was not the usual sort track we go on.   We thought about the miles we would save by taking this track and decided to do it.  As Dani and Andy’s bikes are road bikes it was very difficult for them on a track like this.  They slide all over the place.  Also we had to go slowly and it’s difficult to steer when you are going slowly.  The path split at one stage and we ended up in someone’s garden.  We then had to retrace our steps and go over a little bridge across a steam.  It was funny and a wonder none of us fell in.  We had another bridge after that.  We eventually came to the end of the track and on to the road for a short while.  We then found a new cycle track.  For a short while it was lovely. Up on a ridge with no hedges either side so we could see for miles.  It was lovely.  Then we came back to the road.  By now the electrics were running out on my bike and I knew the hills we were doing would not be done by me without the electrics. 

We were by now at Lydford Gorge.  We flew down one side and I just couldn’t get up the other.  On these high hills it’s really difficult to push a heavy bike up the hill.

With that Dani and Andy decided we would call Graham and Caroline to have our lunch in Lydford Gorge car park.  We had a lovely lunch time of salads, crisps and tea.  Then we put my bike in the van and travelled with Caroline and Graham.  It had been a very hard but really nice morning.

Andy and Dani had about 20 miles to go.  As we were just leaving the car park we had a phone call from Andy and Dani to say Andy’s tyre had burst and they were at the top of a steep hill.  When we got to the them they had already taken the tyre off the bike. We had a new tyre and inner tube in the van and quickly fitted it and they were on their way again.  

We caught up with them once after that, at Bretnor Church on the hill.  Once they left us we lost them down the tiny lanes.  When they said they only had 5 miles to go we decided to go to Elnor Guest House in Liskeard where we are staying and wait for them there.

It looks quite nice. The only trouble for me and Graham is the toilet is down the hall and the shower in the cupboard next door.  The toilet I can cope with but the cupboard with the shower I’m not quite sure of.  It doesn’t look big enough for me to get dressed in there and I won’t want to be walking along the landing in a towel.   

Anyway when the others arrived they said yesterday and today were the hardest days they had done.  So many hills and so hot.  It had been really difficult for them.

None of us felt much like doing anything this evening.  After we were cleaned up we walked up the main street.  There seemed to be something going on in Liskeard and all the town was out.  We were told it’s Carnival week and tonight they had the parade with dancers. 

We went in the local pub that had been recommended to us, for tea but had a drink and was not too impressed.  We then went next door to had fish and chips.  It was lovely and warm and we sat on a wall, watched the parade and ate our fish and chips.

By then we had all cheered up a bit but as we were tired went back to the B & B and went to bed.

Thursday, 26 June 2014

more blog from mum

Sunday 22nd June 

Today has been quite eventful.  We were served our breakfast, which was lovely but none of us felt like eating it this morning after eating so late last night.  It was a really lovely hotel and very comfortable.

Today we are heading for Dumfries, about 58 miles.  Caroline was not going to attempt to ride until much later in the day, as she wanted to rest her leg as much as possible. She is disappointed but the hills out of Ayr were quite steep.  Having had our bike mended, Gra said he would do the first part of the journey with all the hills.  What we didn’t realise was now the electrics were not working on our bike.

Caroline and I stopped in Ayr to get some salads for lunch in Morrison’s.  We were heading on the A713 to Dalmellington.   We stopped just outside the village and made a cup of coffee to have with our doughnuts.  The kettle was hot but by no means boiled, when the gas ran out.  Not to worry, we had warm coffee instead.  Nobody complained. 

As Gra had no electrics and our bike is quite heavy, Andy swapped bikes with him as his legs are stronger.

We then headed for Carsphairn, which was about half way.  We found a picnic area with some toilets which was perfect to eat our salads.  We were all in high spirits and had a really nice lunch.

I changed with Gra at this point, as we had now gone on the B729 and was a really nice little road.  Andy said I could swap bikes with him too but I couldn’t get my leg over the crossbar.  My legs are a lot stronger now that when we started but not that strong.  As it was such a nice little road Caroline decided she would have a go on her electric trike.  We got it out of the van, Gra drove off and we had forgotten to put the battery on.  We were going downhill so it didn’t matter too much and told Gra not to come back, we would catch him up.

By the time we reached him Caroline had decided her leg didn’t feel right and she and Andy would try the tandem, it might be easier.  We sorted all the van again to get the tandem out.  As Andy was on the tandem, Graham decided he would use Andy’s bike, as it was lighter and faster than his.

Off we go again.  Two minutes down the road, after Gra had left us again, Caroline and Andy had a puncture.  Dani decided she would ride down the hill and catch Gra, as none of us had phone signal.  When I caught up with them, I decided I would ride down to Dani so she wouldn’t be waiting on her own. 

Gra came back and it was decided that Caroline’s leg really wasn’t strong enough for the roads we were on.  I have to say again, the countryside is stunning.  The views were so different but just as beautiful as yesterday and the day before, and the day before that. It was very hilly though and tough for us all.  Andy and Dani were the only ones that didn’t appear to be struggling.  I think they might have been inside but never once let on.

After reaching Dani I decided I couldn’t do any more as there seemed to be a restriction on the wheels.  After the decision was made, Dani, Andy, Graham and Gra had about three or four miles down without any ups.  Great as it was really hot.

Caroline and I were stopping about every 3 or 4 miles for the four of them to reach us until we reached Dumfries. 

It’s a lovely town but we are all too tired to appreciate it.  Caroline and I went to get a take away and bought it back to the hotel.  Andy and Graham went into town to watch the football.  We went to bed.  Another day tomorrow.

Monday 23rd June

Today is our 41st Wedding Anniversary.  We didn’t think we would be doing this on our 41st anniversary all those years ago, I will rephrase that, we didn’t think we would be doing this ever.

Today we will be leaving Scotland, we are heading to Penrith in Cumbria.  What a way to see our beautiful country.  But first we have to get the electrics fixed on my bike.  

I have to say the Joggle Clan is a motley crew but we are working so well together.  We have Dani up front leading the way with her great route we are all following.  She is always calm and seems to be chilled out.  Whether she feels that inside, we can’t tell.  But she’s really doing so well with no complaints.  We have Andy who is so strong and watches out for everyone, especially Caroline.  If ever any of us are struggling Andy is there for them.   Graham has been a great boost to Andy and has taken a lot of the strain, especially with the tandem.  It’s not easy on that.  It’s great on flat and downhill but a nightmare on any uphill’s.  I don’t know how they are doing it.  (That includes Caroline).  I’m sure Graham hurts sometimes but is not letting on.  I would say that Graham is definitely bringing up the rear (the rear being me and Gra).  He does a grand job when we are lagging behind.  As for Caroline, she is the one that keeps us all happy and focused on what we are doing, whether on the bike or in the van.  She has been gutted about her leg but knows as well as we do, if she gets back on the bike too soon, she will be in the van till the end.  That’s not what any of us want.  This would not be happening if it were not for her.  We are all so proud to be part of her and Dani’s challenge. 

Well back to today.  We had breakfast at the hotel at 7.30am.  Dani, Andy and Graham left us about 9.30.  We took the bike to a couple of bike shops.  The second thought it was the hub on the front wheel.  They said he couldn’t do anything for us today as they had so much work on.  With that we went and got lunch for everybody.  We then phoned the bike shop in Wimborne, who I have to say have been very helpful.  He said he would get the rep to ring us. 

In the meantime Gra decided he would cycle with the others without electrics.  So we caught up with them at the first hotel we came to in Gretna Green.  It was called Gables Hotel.   While locking the bikes, the manager came over to us and asked about the cycle ride.  He was talking to us for a long time and was really impressed.  He said he wanted to take our photo in front of the hotel and he would put it on their facebook page.  He said we might get people to sponsor us from that.  He also gave us £20.00 for the charity.  They really made quite a fuss of us.

Caroline and I left them at The Gables, so we could look for a layby to boil the kettle and have our lunch.  We stopped for about an hour, just the other side of Gretna Green.  Dani, Andy, Graham and Gra said the cycling was a lot easier than it had been over the last couple of days.

We left them after lunch and we were heading for Carlisle.  They were going to be on cycle tracks so would not meet up with them until the other side of the town.  We stopped in a little village the other side of Carlisle called High Heskel, when Gra rang.  The bearings on the bike had gone again, so there was nothing else to do but go back and pick him up, put the bike in the van and ring the rep again.  He said he would get a new wheel sent to which ever shop was nearer, on Wednesday and we would take the bike and have the new wheel fitted there.

What a pain.  Looking on the bright side, it could have been the van that was giving us trouble, that would be a much bigger problem.

By this time the three cycling had nearly reached Penrith so we went straight to the apartment we were staying in tonight.  It was lovely with kitchen, living room, 3 bedrooms, bathroom and toilet.  So tomorrow, no cooked breakfast.  Hooray.  I know we could say no to cooked breakfast but we don’t.

We thought about cooking tonight but we haven’t got a cooker.  (Shame).  So we went to the bar downstairs. It was a really lovely meal.

After that we went upstairs and played Gas Board Fives card game.  We all had a really good laugh and really chilled out. 

24th June 2014

Penrith is a lovely little town.  We didn’t really have time to appreciate it again.  By the time we had all had breakfast and packed again, we left about 9.30am.

Today we are heading for Windermere.  Caroline and me are in the van with Gra driving.  The scenery had changed again.  It was tiny little roads with dry stone wall.  So pretty.  Dani, Andy and Graham said the cycling was quite hard. 

We stopped at a village called Glenridding  and had a coffee.  Then we were stopping every few miles for the cyclist to catch up and make sure they were OK.  We were following Ullswater along the A592.  We got some really lovely photos.  We also went past Brothers Water, then, without any notice at all the road went up, and up, and up then up again. In the van it was spectacular, but we all felt so sorry for Dani and the boys.  It was an unbelievable climb.  We waited near the top.  We knew they would be walking a lot of the way.  Andy came first on Graham’s bike, then Graham and then Dani.  Dani had found it really difficult on the bits she had to walk as she had cycling shoes that clip onto the pedals on her bike.  It makes them really difficult to walk in.

We had to give them time to recover before we could move on.  When we got to the top, the view was equally as spectacular.  It was a nice ride down for them but  had lots of twists and turns, so they couldn’t get any real speed going.

The hotel we are staying at tonight is on the banks of Windermere about 3 miles the other side of the town. A beautiful old hotel called Beech Hill Hotel.  The girls were so excited as it has a swimming pool.  Andy and Graham are not staying with us tonight, as they were going to walk up Scarfell tomorrow morning.  They have decided not to do that now but had already booked the hotel.  They were going to bike there but Gra took them in the van and will pick them up tomorrow morning.

Caroline and Dani have already made full use of the swimming pool.  We purposely made this an easy day so we could all relax.

We have just organised with Caroline and Dani to have a bar meal tonight.  The restaurant is a little pricy for us.  After they want to play cards again.  That sounds good to me. 

Gra went to bed early, before tea, as he has man flue.  Actually he really was quite poorly.  I didn’t get much sleep, apart from being too hot, Graham was tossing and turning all night.  Hope he feels better tomorrow and none of us get his germs.

Wednesday 25th June

Gra did feel a lot better this morning.  We had breakfast about 7.30am.   Gra then went to pick up Andy and Graham.  Me, Dani and Caroline packed the bags and got the bikes ready and waited for them to return. 

We left the hotel about 10 O clock.  Today we are heading for Preston.  We have also heard from the rep about our bike.  He had a new wheel sent to a shop in Preston yesterday, which will arrive today and we need to take the bike and he will mend it for us (We hope).

Out of Windermere the roads were quite hilly again, which was a hard start but then a lot of the roads were very small, and cycle ways, so it was really a nice ride again.  We all wish we had been cycling on roads like this.  It was quite difficult following them in the van as our map doesn’t show cycle routes.

Anyway we stopped in a lovely little village called Beetham to have coffee at the Wheatsheaf Hotel.  As it was now 12 noon we decided to stay for lunch.  We only wanted sandwiches.  You should have seen them.  Caroline, Gra and I had fish finger sandwiches.  They were enormous.  Dani had a pork sandwich, Andy had scrambled egg and smoked salmon, Graham had a Cumbrian Platter.  They all had salad and chips.  We are eating very well on this trip, that’s OK if you are cycling but not if we are sitting in the Van.

After that we had to leave Dani, Andy and Graham and go into Preston and get the bike fixed.  We arrived there about 2.15pm.  He said it would be ready by 4pm so we went and had coffee in Preston to wait.  By 4pm Graham was back on the bike, cycling to the hotel to make sure it was OK for tomorrow.

Caroline and I went in the van, unpacked and waited for the others.  The bike is OK at the moment but we don’t have faith in it now.

When they arrived, they said it had been another really nice day.  I think it was 58 miles in total.  They got a little lost in Lancaster town centre but not for long.  Because they were on such small roads, they were able to talk and have a laugh together.  When they are on busy roads it’s not so much fun.

Caroline, Andy, Dani and Graham went out after they had had showers and got cleaned up.  Gra and I were still stuffed from lunch time and decided to skip tea tonight.  I’ll let you know tomorrow what they did. (Probably glad to have a night off from the oldies). 

Monday, 23 June 2014


This very nice Hotel, The Gables has just sponsored us £20, and have taken this very nice photo, to put on their website, to try and get more sponsorship for us. Thanks for your support.!!!

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Wednesday 18th June

Today we were up early.  We had breakfast and again the lady couldn’t do enough for us.  We loaded the van and we set off about 8 O clock.  It was a lovely ride through Inverness.  Dani’s Sat Nav took us all through the lanes, across the river and on to the main road to Fort William.  The road was a bit busy to start with but the sun was shining and we had a bit of a breeze and it was the most beautiful ride by the loch. We were all really enjoying it.  Graham was driving this morning and Caroline was on her trike. We were making good progress. We needed to as we had 64 miles to do today.

We had no fallings off or out, it was lovely, not too many hills and we knew if we went up we had a nice ride down.  That is not always true in Scotland.  We stopped for coffee at a visitor centre.

At about 11.30 we bought some lunch in a post office.  We were not ready for lunch at this point. I took over the van and Graham to bike.  I then went to find somewhere in the shade that we could all stop and eat our lunch.  It was about 12.30pm by then. 

Graham, Andy’s brother phoned at that time, to say he had reached Fort William.  He was supposed to be getting there at tea time to join us for 10 days.

Before I go on, it’s going to get a bit complicated with 2 Grahams.  I shall called my Graham Gra and Andy’s Graham, Graham.

As everyone was OK I thought it might help if I collected Graham from Fort William and bring him back to the others to help Andy.  By this time Caroline and Andy were on the tandem and its really tough on the hills.  If Graham had known, he might not have been so keen to get to us.  It was a help and saved about an hour in time.  I took over from Gra on the bike at this stage as well.

As we don’t mention Dani very much, it’s not that were are leaving her out but she is there for all of us and gives encouragement to us all when needed.  She also keeps Caroline laughing.

We arrived at our hotel in Fort William about 7.30pm.  Andy and Graham are leaving us tonight to go up Ben Nevis early tomorrow.  They are staying in a bunk house at the bottom of Glen Nevis.  Then they will catch us along the road to Oban tomorrow.

After they had gone we four decided we would have a McDonalds, have a shower and go to bed.  When Graham and I got to the McDonalds they had a power cut and had closed for the night. We did get a burger and took it back to the hotel.  Then we had a shower and went to bed.  A very long but enjoyable day.

Thursday 19th June

Caroline, Dani, Gra and I had all slept in the same room last night.  I woke at about 5 O clock.  When Dani work and looked at me I said “Good Morning.”   By the look Dani gave me I knew I had said the wrong thing. She wasn’t grumpy, but was not ready to wake up. 

Gra and I went to the town to get some milk.  On our way back to the hotel we saw a place to get breakfast so Caroline and Dani came to meet us.  We were eating breakfast when Andy an Graham came back too.  They had walked up to the waterfall on Ben Nevis and thought better of it. 

We all had achy muscles today.  I had given Caroline a deep heat massage before we left the hotel.  I did offer it to anyone else who needed it but the screeches from Caroline put them off a bit.

By now it was a little late to start but we set off for Oban.  This was again a lovely ride following the loch. Caroline and Dani had been really tired after yesterday’s mammoth trip, but at least we had a breeze today.  I cycled for the first 7 or 8 miles, then Gra took over. Andy and Graham were also swapping with the tandem. 

We stopped for coffee in a nice hotel with a swimming pool and were very tempted to have a dip but decided to get on our way again.  Gra was on the bike.  It was his turn today, to fall off, although by the look on his face he hadn’t realised that.  It did make us laugh. I wasn’t quick enough with the camera otherwise that would be on facebook tonight.

They set off again.  I hadn’t realised it, driving the van but there were a lot of cycle paths along this route.  It makes it so much nicer than having to hold the traffic up on the roads.  Most people are really good and patient though.

We had lunch about an hour or so later at another cafĂ© at Portnacroish.  Caroline and clan had a deer on the footpath before them at one stage.  He didn’t seem to be a bit concerned and even posed for photos.

They came across some amazing bridges today.  One at North Ballachulish and the other at Connel.  I did take some photos but I was a bit far away for them to be good.  Another lady I met while I was at Connel and got talking to took some photos for me with her big camera.  She said she will email them to us.

Just after that Graham had a puncture so I had to go back and collect him.  This was about two miles out of Oban. The others made it to the hotel about 7pm.  We got some food and cooked in the hotel tonight. 

Caroline has hurt her ankle today and is in quite a lot of pain, so we were all really pleased when she said she might not ride tomorrow.  Not that we didn’t want her to ride, but it was her decision not to.  We all thought that she might carry on regardless.  She was very disappointed but we were all relieved.

Friday 20th June

Today it seemed funny to have a passenger in the van, but very nice.  We had to get lunch for everyone and had a shopping list, so Caroline and I went into Oban.  We brought Caroline a good brace for her ankle which we put straight on.  It helped a lot. 

It gave her a different perspective to be in the van rather than on the bike.  Dani, Andy and the two Grahams were making good progress.  We were heading toward Claoriaig Bay to catch the ferry to Lochranza on the Isle of Arran.  We were doing this as we did not want to anywhere near Glasgow on bikes.

They had gone a lot further than expected.  It was a stunning ride but really hard work.  We had about 65 miles today, and a ferry to catch, which always adds pressure as the last ferry is 7pm.  Looking at the views today it was so beautiful, you miss so much in a car but the hills were very high.  When you are going up its such hard work, but the coming down in wonderful.  So exciting.  You can free wheel down the other side for sometimes two or three miles.

We had our lunch in a layby again.  Much needed today with all the hills.  I couldn’t do too much uphill riding, even with the electric bike.  We stopped in a hotel at Kilmartin about 2 O Clock, to have a drink and to charge our batteries. (Ours and the bikes).

Caroline and I watched them go all the way down the valley before we left.  They were still making such good progress, We reached the ferry just before 6 O clock.  We waited an hour for the ferry to come, which was more time than the last ferry we took.  We were on the ferry  about half an hour, and the hotel was 2 mins from the ferry.  We were all really relieved and went straight to the bar for tea.  We all decided, Caroline not on her bike today was the best thing as the hills would have been too difficult for her and we would definitely have missed the ferry.

Then to bed, for Gra and I anyway.  I think the boys went back to the bar.

Saturday 21st June

We woke up this morning to rain.  We have been so lucky with the weather so far we can’t complain.  The bay as stunning. We packed the van early as we wanted to leave straight after breakfast.  By now the rain had stopped.  Breakfast again was lovely, although we are all feeling we have had enough cooked breakfasts.

The ride on Arran this morning was straight up hill for miles, then straight down again for another few miles.  Caroline decided it was too much for her to get up the hill so came in the car with me.  As soon as we left the hotel Gra was having trouble with our bike.  He did try and mend it but realised it was the bearing in the front wheel. It would have been  impossible to catch Dani, Andy and Graham, (maybe not Graham) there was nothing left to do but put the bike in the back and ride in the van with us. 

It was a mammoth incline.  We parked at the top and waited for them.  Andy also wanted to put the camera on his bike to record the decent.  They said it was amazing.  I think I was safer in the van.  Very scary.  Caroline did have the option of going down on her trike but she felt the same as me. 

When we reached the bottom Caroline decided to get on her trike to see how the ankle felt as we were now on the flat until the ferry at Brodick Bay.  Again different scenery but beautiful.

We almost drove straight on the ferry and it was good to sit and have something to eat while crossing back to main land at Ardrossan.  We stopped in the Asda car park to make some adjustments.  Dani had done a brilliant job of planning the journey and putting the whole thing on her Garmin, to give us directions, but today when we got on the ferry it thought we had finished for the day and wiped the rest of the journey to Ayr.  It was soon reinstalled and we were ready to go again.

The four of them rode off to Ayr.  Gra and I found a bike shop in Troon.  They were so helpful but didn’t think they would have to bearing that we needed, but he would try.  He couldn’t mend it under the guarantee but we didn’t mind, we will have to claim the money back later.  We left it with him and went off for an hour.   He was a very nice man, a very nice man indeed and he fixed it and it only cost £26.00.

We got in touch with the others, who had also gone through Troon.  They seemed OK so we went straight to the hotel in Ayr.  They arrived about half an hour after us. 

It seems now that Caroline had not had a very nice day.  She still didn’t want to give up on the day.  Apparently her electrics kept cutting out.  I don’t think she will be doing too much tonight.

As it was still quite early, we decided to go into town and have dinner.  I drove Caroline and the others walked.  We went into Weatherspoons, went to order our meals and they wanted to see Dani’s ID.  She was very cross, any way it was in the van so Dani and I went to get it.  Having walked all the way back to the van and was nearly back to Weatherspoons again, they now decided Caroline needed ID as well.  They wouldn’t even serve us food with no drinks.  With that we left and got take away Pizza, burger and Kebabs.  It wasn’t what we planned at all and Dani felt it was her fault.  None of us felt like that.  Now to bed.