I got off to a slightly earlier start due to not being able to cook breakfast. Perhaps there’s a lesson there… The sun was shining brightly but the wind was stronger than ever and nearly blew my tent away as I was taking it down.
I came across a notice for a local cycle path called the Granite Way, which led to Okehampton, which was where I wanted to go, along an old railway line. Not wishing to risk getting punctures on gravel, I decided to keep to the old A30, a decision which I was almost immediately regretting as it climbed over the top of what seemed to be the biggest hill around.
I stopped for a breakfast snack halfway up the hill out of Okehampton. Found some delicious Banana flapjack that was 417 kcal of goodness, and will challenge shortbread fingers as my energy snack of choice from now on.
From there I stayed on the old A30 as far as Sticklepath, from where my route led me through some delightful little lanes, passing to the north of Crediton, through Thorverton and on to Silverton for Lunch. This was at the Lamb Inn, which I knew from before, having been there once after a peal and then again on Exeter Colleges Guild dinner weekend in 2009. They served up the best steak and ale pie I have ever had, which was washed down with some of the local ale from the Exe Valley brewery.
After Lunch I cycled on through Collumpton and then on into the lanes that I used to cycle over 30 years ago when I grew up in this neck of the woods. First through Holcombe Rogus, where our family used to bring our bicycles to be repaired, and then on through Wellington and the back roads to Taunton. Unfortunately, the weather, which had been fine all morning and early afternoon, eventually gave way to some light rain.
At Taunton I popped in to see my stepmother and offer my condolences concerning my father’s death last week, over a cup of tea.
After this I cycled to The Blackbrook Inn on the M5 junction where I was met by my brother, with whom I am spending the evening sorting out some of the arrangements for the funeral. To avoid accusations of cheating I have pitched my tent in the garden and will be sleeping there, and I will start the ride again tomorrow from the Blackbrook.
Up until Lunch time the terrain was still tough going due to the fact that all the water courses run across the route so one is for ever dropping into a river valley only to have to climb out the other side. After lunch this situation changed, more progress was made, and it should remain like this for a while now. So I am hopeful to make good progress over the next few days and make up for time that has been lost.