So there are a few hills in Cornwall, the sun does not seem to shine, it tends to rain quite a bit and the livestock use the roads as their toilet, well those have been our initial impressions.
These environmental factors all have pros and cons.
- You remain cool(ish) on the slog up the hills.
- The hills act as a kind of sleeping tablet for Ruth, once she arrives at our accommodation she just want to go to sleep (and does).
- You don’t need to use the water bottle as much, just have your mouth open as you hurtle down the hill.
- You don’t need to fiddle around with sunglasses (less chance of losing them!).
- You can carry cameras, phones and maps in your rain jacket pockets.
- The roads are smelly and slippery allowing you to you fall off easier, done that and have an orange sized swelling protruding from my left elbow to prove it, plus a little bark missing.
- Falling off the bike in such a state dents new cameras, rips rain jackets to shreds and also dents the pride when it is in the middle of a town.
- Um, I don’t think I can balme the conditions for getting lost though (which was our state for most of the first day, I think that is a Cliff / instructions issue.
In spite of these factors, it has been a very different ride through some beautiful country.
Once we figured out that the written instructions were there to confuse us (well mainly Cliff) and all we had to do was follow the National Cycling Route signs we have stopped being lost and can concentrate all of our effort on those hill climbs. In fact we are getting up more of them without having to dismount.
The route has taken us through mostly quiet country lanes which range from “roads” with hedgerows of mainly blackberries and stinging nettles (forget about the World being a man’s toilet – it is way too dangerous) that just want to get up close and personal when you need to squeeze into them to let a car go by. Fortuntely, there have not been too many cars on most of them.
The white washed cottages often with thatched roofs are everything that you expect to see in Cornwall and our first stop of Mevagissey was a fishing village, complete with functioning fishing boats and sqealing gulls, that you expect to see Doc Martin (TV show – not the boots) wandering through.
Speaking of West Country TV characters, when we arrived at our accommodation on the first night we thought we had stumbled into a remake of Faulty Towers. It took a long time to get past reception, the scribbled pencil notes on the booking form did not show a reservation for “Mail”. “I have a booking for Mall and one for McSweeny”. Ruth and Cliff; “we are probably the one for Mall, the “l” is probably meant to be an “i”. Basil; “I don’t think so, it would say Mail, you are not the McSweenys are you”? After quite a bit of discussion around this he decided to give us a room and then asked for the credit card. “You have paid? my booking sheet does not say you have paid, I don’t even have you booked in”, I have this email (with names Cliff and Ruth Mail on it) where does it say paid on that”? We agreed to try and sort that out before the morning if we could get into a room. Then we asked about the bikes that were being delivered. “Bikes, don’t know anything about that” (expression implies he does not even know what a bike is)……. We don’t know if we got the Malls’ or McSwennys’ room but we got one and after a phone call to the bike company everything seemed to get sorted out.
When we left reception you would have sworn you were actually in Faulty Towers, the stairs that Basil used to rush up, Sybil serving in the dining room, Ruth was waiting for Basil to burst into our room at any stage.
Footnote: We have arrived at Newquay and the sun has made an appearance.