Tour ends in Seaton - Sept 4

PUBLISHED: 15:56 12 August 2010 | UPDATED: 15:39 02 September 2010

A wind farm.

A wind farm.

Archant

Round Britain Great Tour

Less than a fortnight to go - riders in Wales.

Stage 61 Porthcurno to St Mawes

Kevin of Treen Farm took our camera crew on a quick guided tour of the coastline nearby and showed them the Giants Chair (see pic), the riders, set off steeply downhill and then o so steeply uphill, far too early in the day! The morning was another up and down until we got to Penzance when things levelled out for a bit. The weather was set fair, but an easterly wind hampered our progress a tad. Dave Page of Porthleven Cycle Hire had fully taken on board the arrival of The Great Tour and together with the owner of the harbour and (see pic) Nauti But Ice, had prepared bacon butties and a cup of tea for us all. “Thank you” Porthleven

The afternoon passed well with a continuing succession of ups and downs as the road wound its way towards firstly the ferry over the Helford River (see pic) and then the ferry from Falmouth to St Mawes across Carrick Roads.

We are now staying in the Roseland Outdoor Centre, St Just-in-Roseland and have a bit of a lie in tomorrow as our start is not until 09:00 J

Paying tribute to Eric Morecombe - in Morecombe!

3 days to go

The end of stage 40, at Whitehaven.

Stage 60 Padstow to Porthcurno

Fallen behind on the blog again, so it might be a bit brief tonight. A lovely morning greeted us in Padstow and off we went hugging the coastline of Cornwall as best we could, passing many a surf beach that I had frequented in my youth. Lunch arrived early and ‘the bike barn’ www.thebikebarn.org (see pic) allowed us to use their garden to picnic out in as well as cooking us up some delicious pasties, thanks for that it was great. The Ostrich pasty proved very popular!

In Hayle we were joined by Kevin Hall, the owner of Treen Farm Campsite, our destination today. Kevin is not only a campsite owner, but a very keen cyclists and it was great to ride with him and listen to his local knowledge as we cycled the spectacular road overlooking the sea heading west towards Cape Cornwall. At Morvah we stopped at the home of Jane and Eddy who serve just wonderful cream teas in their lovely garden (see pic). Thanks you both so much for providing tea, it was truly delicious. If you are passing, do call in, I highly recommend it www.rosemergy.com

On we sped to Porthcurno, to be greeted by Kevin’s wife Gill who welcomed us all with a fresh Cornish pasty mmmmmm - thank you. After dinner it was off to the Minack Theatre to watch the Hot Mikado. The theatre was so kind as they welcomed The Great Tour on their PA system which produced a lovely warm round of applause for us, afterwards we went onto the stage to have a photo taken with the cast (see pic). What a brilliant evening in a truly memorable setting!

The tourists arrive back in England.

TAKING A BREAK - the Great Tour riders enjoy a snack.

Stage 59 Clovelly to Padstow

John and Sue sent us on our way from our wonderful stay at Clovelly and what a beautiful morning, with a stunning sunrise and a deep blue sky to greet us. Dairy Crest were our sponsors for the day and a keen group of day riders joined us on our coast clinging route to Padstow. We set off over green fields and into woodland and then the twisting up and down lanes of Hartland took over. We pedalled on a glorious day passed Widemouth Bay and enjoyed a lunch on the cliff top just before Tintagel. Lunch also provided time for a quick family photo!

I’m getting a bit keen to get to bed now and so I’m sorry this is short. But just to let you know, we arrived at Padstow safely and I was really pleased to see Lesley, a good friend waving a flag at the finish line. Thanks so much Lesley for popping down, it was lovely to see you.

A wet start to stage 39.

The air beds are out in the church hall and most of us are getting ready to go to bed. One or two are tinkering with their bikes and Dan is getting today’s video edited.

5 days to go!

Stage 58 Selworthy to Clovelly

One of the more rustic parts of the route.

It was an early start from Selworthy at 07:15 as we left Mr Williams’ farm on what was always going to be a big day. Our calculations showed 3200m of ascent over a 115 km distance and we all knew that some of the roads were, well to say the least very steep! Paul Camp from the National Trust joined us and was dropping in gems of information from time to time as we pedalled off early on a Sunday morning.

Before we could say “good morning” we were starting the long uphill of the Porlock Hill toll road, as it happens I really enjoyed it, a really nice steady climb that allowed you to get into a rhythm. Countisbury next greeted us and we sped down this steep descent into Lynmouth and then onto Lynton. Up and down, up and down was the order of the day, taking in the Valley of the Rocks and mile after mile of stunning coastline.

The surf was up at Woolacombe where we had lunch and then after a few more bumps in the landscape a long level stretch along the Tarka Trail with a tail wind took us from Braunton to Barnstaple in the blink of an eye, turning the corner and back into the wind wasn’t quite so much fun, but the offer of an ice cream at Cafe Lily’s in Atlantic Village was all the we needed to help us along.

Cafe Lily’s http://www.cafelilys.co.uk was just brilliant. Liz and Piers the owners had been running spinning bikes outside all day to raise money for the Prostate Cancer Charity and when we arrived they had a table set out for us and provided a delicious Bucks Fizz! Thank you both so much. Thanks also for my hot shower

Coner and Tom join the tourists for the start of the day.

We were a bit late arriving at Clovelly, however our welcome was as warm as you could hope for. Clovelly is an enchanting town clinging to the coast and an absolute must to visit. www.clovelly.co.uk The Hon. John Rous greeted all of our riders and then very generously brought us all a pint and a pasty. We spent the night camping in front of his Manor House and we all agreed that it was a wonderful and memorable experience. My thanks go to John and also Sue Haworth who worked so hard to make us feel so welcome and so special.

Stage 57 Clevedon to Selworthy

We had a really great group of day riders, with a some from Yeo Valley, giving us a really good local feel to the day. Our new Core Riders arrived and so, welcome to Seb Cope, Fran Bennett. Mike Small, Matt Langdon and Norman Healy. It was also wonderful for me to welcome on board to the support staff my daughter Rachel, who is going to be with us for the final week.

We set off bright and early and at speed, in fact so fast that we arrived at our morning tea stop, Hope Farm early. Many thanks to Malcolm & Aline Bennett who allowed us to use their car park and made us feel so welcome. For those interested, they have some wonderful self catering cottages that you can find here: www.hopefarmcottages.co.uk

On the Giant's chair

It was then off to the beach and a cycle along Berrow Flats to Burnham on Sea, the sand was perhaps a tad softer than we would have liked as the tide had only just turned and so our wheels went a little deeper than I would have liked, but hey ho, it was brilliant fun. Before we knew it we had passed through Highbridge and Bridgwater and made our way to Yeo Valley, our sponsors for the day, who provided us with a truly fantastic lunch at Cannington, in fact so good that it was hard to leave.

On we sped after lunch between the Quantocks and Bridgwater Bay, through Watchet, the Blue Anchor, Minehead and into the stunningly beautiful village of Selworthy. Paul Camp a Ranger with the National Trust and a Robert Williams a farmer in Selworthy had really gone to town for us and cleared out a barn to set up high afternoon tea for us J Wow, what a treat, thank you so much for such a memorable welcome.

Lastly, thanks to Sam for sorting out my brake blocks and also to Chris from Qoroz who did some minor maintenance for me on Friday evening. I’m sorry not to have had more time Chris, but look forward to catching up soon.

Stage 56 Cardiff to Clevedon

The back-up team get their Qoroz shirts.

On a dry day and with a total of 30 riders in our group we set off from the front of the National Assembly building in Cardiff on a day that would conclude 8 weeks of cycling since we set off on 3rd July! Fridays have always been a poignant day as this is changeover day for the Core Riders and every one of them wanted to stay on.

Our route took in a mixture of industrial and coastal scenes and also the novelty of travelling on the transporter bridge, over the River Usk at Newport. What a wonderful bit of engineering and a real joy of an experience. On we pedalled with a lunch break not far from the Severn Bridge. Childhood memories took hold of Hugh and me and we found ourselves playing on the seesaw, I have to say that I felt slightly at a disadvantage as Hugh, with a little more weight than me, was able to propel me higher than I was happy with!

We crossed the Severn Bridge and our time in Wales was complete and the last sector of England awaited us. After a good run through Avonmouth and Portishead we gathered near Clevedon Pier for a photo. After that, it was off to Congresbury and our accommodation in the local Scout Hut.

Today we said “goodbye” to the following Core Riders: Geraint Rowland, Kev Gichohi, John Ireson, Brad Taylor, Steve ‘Nelly’ Norman and Neil John. I gave my usual Friday speech of thanks, regrettably I have not got time to describe each one here, but suffice to say, they have been wonderful and quite simply we could not have done it without them. Thanks guys and I hope to see you all soon.

Cooling the feet.

Stage 55 Swansea to Cardiff

Welcome to Zsolt Schuller from Devon County Council. Thanks for coming along Zsolt, it was just great to have you with us J

We set off from Swansea University after our night in Halls and enjoyed a long and level start with our day riders. Today was due to be an easier day with about 110km of distance and 1200m of up. The sky was grey and a light drizzle fell onto us, but after a while dried up and dry roads began to appear. We collected a few punctures again today as we worked our way past Porthcrawl and through Llantwit Major. After a late tea, we were greeted by a bit more sand and water than we had expected. One of the bridlepaths had some pretty deep sand, However it was yesterdays rain that provided us with a bit more water than expected on a river crossing, where the stepping stones submerged out of sight

The start at Carlisle.

As the afternoon pressed on, the day was taking its toll on two of our day riders, however I have to say that they were both fantastic and against all odds managed to find the strength to finish a long day. Well done to you both and all of the riders who worked so hard. We finished to a rapturous welcome from the family of one of our core riders Neil John, who lives nearby.

Okay, I have to admit to feeling rather tired tonight, but with 9 days to go and the end almost in sight it’s time to draw deep.

Stage 54 Pendine to Mumbles

We were up before the sparrow woke and the cock crowed, to get ready for our 05:00 am breakfast. Our day riders from Pernod Ricard UK and Waitrose Head Office arrived and we set off at 06:00 (see pics) in the dry and straight into the hills. The early morning went well and we started to knock off the miles, but then the rain, as expected turned up, a most unwelcome guest, but intent on staying with the ride for the rest of the day.

Heavy rain tends to bring punctures and today was no exception. I think our final tally was 12 punctures and a broken chain as well as a lot of very wet, yet stubbornly determined cyclists. After passing through Pembrey Forest a lunch stop at Llanelli lifted our spirits and gave us the courage to head out into the rain again to Swansea.

It was a wet, cold day that was warmed by the positive character of the day riders. Thanks guys for making the day so good in difficult circumstances, you were all an inspiration J

Tomorrow is our last full day in Wales and the last double digit day as we have 10 days to go

Stage 52 Mathry to Pembroke

We were joined by three day riders from Waitrose International and 5 from Noon and together with our Core Riders we had a great day once the rain had stopped. A few mechanicals caused us some delays, but we all smiled and enjoyed each other’s company. The coastline was stunning and as we are now getting used to, undulating with the occasional level but thrown in. It was a beautiful section of coastline with long sandy beaches with long lines of white horses racing to the shore.

We were met by the Town Clerk and the Mayor who cycled in with us to the finish by the castle and then very kindly donated some money for The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Just a dozen days to go, why not join us for the ride into Seaton and bring along a friend and while you’re at it, have a look at this brilliant bike that I have completely fallen in love with?

Stage 51 New Quay to Mathry

I’d just like to start this blog by saying “thank you” to Helen & Andy of Ty Rhos Farm campsite who gave me a very generous donation for The Prostate Cancer Charity.

We are now at the Preseli Venture Centre and I can continue with another “thank you” to Cllr George and his wife Nan who not only greeted us but also made a donation to The Prostate Cancer Charity and that was shortly followed by a donation from Rod, a friend of Geraint’s. Thank you all

We didn’t have any day riders today and we were greeted by a wonderful sunrise and a tough day of climbing hills ahead of us. It was a switchback of a day, once you were up, you cycled down so that you could pedal up and freewheel down, so that you could pedal up.....I guess you get the gist of it! It hit some of the core riders quite hard, however they worked hard and made it, with a couple hardly able to stand up at the end! Well done guys J

I felt good today and the Road Won felt very lively and quick up the hills. It’s a bonus at the end of the day to be in a centre that is comfortable and dry (as much as I love camping), this is lovely.

Stage 50 Machynlleth to New Quay

It was changeover day again today and after our traditional Friday fish & chips last night we said “goodbye” to some of our core riders. Our tandems boys, Rod and Don departed after providing us with many a smile on their daisy machine. Julie left, a lady of great courage having put up with so many male cyclists and Olli, after two weeks, 5 punctures and 5 tiny tumbles waved goodbye. Dean, our bobby from Chester had to return to duty and Jon with one of the biggest smiles returned home. We welcomed into our core rider group, Nelly as I mentioned yesterday, a dear friend of mine from Axe Valley Pedallers and new riders Kevin, John, Brad, Neil and Gaz an Aston Villa supporter (so clearly a great guy).

Four riders from Team Collier’s joined us again, welcome back guys and off we departed from Machynlleth on a sunny-ish morning. It was momentarily level and then the hills hit and then the rain joined in, then more of the same and more of the same................

Lunch was welcome and taken at Aberystwyth after that, well, it started to rain and the hills got steeper!

Happy Birthday to Kate J. Kate is Graeme’s partner and altogether a lovely lady and great cyclist. She has joined us for a few days here and there and today was her birthday.

Our core riders had now settled in nicely and it was clear that they were going to be a great bunch. We arrived at New Quay to a brilliant welcome, that just got better! After handshakes all round it was off to the football club to indulge ourselves in a wonderful buffet feast. Not only did they feed us, but they also held a raffle for The Prostate Cancer Charity that raised £82 and we had three further donations including one from New Quay Town Council. We were all made to feel so special and we all thank you so much for the welcome you gave us.

Well here we are with just two weeks to go!

Stage 49 Porthmadog to Machynlleth

Our early morning alarm clock was at about 5:00 am when a full on thunder storm arrived directly above us with simultaneous lightning and thunder lighting and shaking our tents. This combined with a torrent of rain sent me deeper into my sleeping bag, hoping it would pass before we had to get out tents down.

Team Collier’s arrived in style in a wonderfully livered van and matching cycle kit! Brilliant effort guys, you looked great and we all just loved the ‘Great Tour’ logo....thanks.

The storm had passed on by now and we had a dry start, however it soon returned with vengeance and managed to thoroughly soak us all. Lunch at Barmouth was really welcome and raised moral as we considered our afternoon options. We decided to split the group, with one clinging to the coast and the other passing over the shoulder of Cadair Idris.

Machynlleth was our finish and about two miles out I picked up my fourth puncture of the Tour. I sent the group on and fixed the flat and as I pedalled on to meet up with the others, it was a great surprise to see a Steve ‘Nelly’ Norman of Axe Valley Pedallers cycling towards me! Nelly is a brilliant club member and I was really pleased to see him and cycle in to Machynlleth with him.

We are now in a hostel, however without mobile phone or internet connections and so I’m afraid that this is at least one day late. Sorry about that.

●Almost finished, but just before I do, please pass on to everyone you know that has a bicycle about meeting up with us on stage 64, our day of The Great Tour. We should be in Exmouth by about 14:00, near the Lifeboat station (near Maer Rocks) on Saturday 4th September.

Once again, thank you all for your fantastic support.

Stage 48 Gyrn Goch to Porthmadog

We had a dry start to the day and were joined by 4 riders from Moy Park and one from British Airways. The steep hills of Wales hit is hard and fast and the tandem broke its smallest front gear and so the going was really tough for them. The blog is short tonight as the latter half of the day was wet, slow and cold and towards the end we started to get cold, so photo’s are a bit short on supply. We are camping tonight and so everything feels a tad damp, but hey ho another stage has been completed and we enjoyed our day on the Lleyn Peninsula.

Stage47 Holyhead to Gyrn Goch

I had an interesting evening last night as our resident Aussie, Mike Sweeney, was interviewed by Matt Dowling of ABC Victoria Radio in Australia and he had been asked for to get a Pommie to say a few words, so along I went for a quick chat about The great Tour and to let Australia know that Mike was doing his homeland proud J

Our start this morning went well with the Mayor of Holyhead turning up in his Rolls to wish us best of luck with stage 47 of The Great Tour (see pic with lots of the support staff as well). Black clouds threatened, but only produced a short burst of rain and the rest of the day the Gods of sunshine smiled upon us as we crossed the Menai Straits again. We trundled on to a welsh town with a railway station with quite a long name.

Encouraged by the sun we were drawn by the smell of roasting coffee beans and before we knew it, we had dismounted and Jon Wright had purchased a round of coffee to celebrate his birthday “Happy Birthday Jon” and “thanks” for the coffee. Caernarfon, as ever, was impressive with its imposing castle. It was hard to leave our coffee stop, but off we pedalled with an increasing head wind holding us back. I’m now sat in the marquee with a couple of jackets on and the sound of the sea crashing onto the shore nearby.

Stage 46 – Conwy to Holyhead

After a tougher day than I could have done with, here we are in Holyhead (Caergybi) on Anglesey in an outdoor centre. A low cloud base, wet roads and rain greeted us as the Deputy Mayor of Conwy wished us well at 09:00 this morning. We skirted the edge of the Snowdonian National Park (where I have spent many happy weeks exploring the mountains in the past) and made our way across the Menai Strait and along past Beaumaris Castle. It was just the core group of riders today, however the going was slow and we all needed a bit of sunshine, one highlight of this week in the core group is a tandem, a tandem always manages to put a smile onto your face regardless of the weather. Thanks to Don and Rod for being with us and doing so well on a very undulating route.

Things picked up after lunch and the sun made its way through the clouds and suddenly the beaches and bays looked really inviting. Before we knew it we had made our way to Holyhead to be greeted by the Mayor who proceeded to buy us all ice creams and then kindly make a donation to The Prostate Cancer Charity.

I managed to find time tonight to change the brake blocks on the Qoroz and also give the rear derailleur a bit of a clean as it had been a bit sticky today. All is well now....I think, although I must admit that the legs felt a little tired, perhaps I should replace those as well.

Stage 45 Neston to Conwy

Another sunny day greeted us (I could get used to this) and we were joined by 5 riders from Waitrose, 4 local club riders from the Birkenhead North End Cycling Club and some local cyclists from Neston (including Brian – core rider from week 4). It was a long day today with about 107km of route and about 1300m of up, which at times were hard and slow. For some of our day riders this was a really challenging day and by far the longest and hardest cycle that most of the day riders had ever done! This was also a day of some very kind and generous donations.

Danny, in his ice cream van (see pic), near Colwyn Bay donated £20 to The Prostate Cancer Charity (TPCC) and more donations followed for the TPCC with £40 from Nigel one of our riders, £35 from two of our day riders from Neston, £5 from a passing cyclist and £10 from a dignitary at the reception held by Conway town, so that’s £110! Brilliant.

By way of maintenance, the Qoroz has proved very reliable, however today and as expected, I noticed that I had taken my rear tyre down to the canvas on the Road Won and so I thought it best to change it before some rough off-road.

I think one of the highlights of the day was the toll road around The Great Orme (see pic). A stunning coastal road clinging to the cliffs with spectacular views. High on the list was the approach to Conwy with its walled town and impressive castle. The town greeted us in such a warm and friendly manner and provided us with a feat fit for a King. Thank you so much to all those who worked so hard to greet us, it makes pedalling up those steep welsh hills so much easier. My daughter, Rachel, texts me each day a fact about the town we are about to finish in and today it’s the fact that the smallest house in Great Britain is on the Quay in Conwy, thanks Rachel.

If you are reading this and are likely to be in Devon on our last day, it would be fantastic if you could meet us at the new lifeboat station in Exmouth at about 13:45 for the final stage of our 64 day challenge as we make our way to the finish in Seaton on Saturday 4th September.

After a really good night at The Boys Brigade centre and a brilliant send off we started stage 44 with 13 riders from Kellogg’s, who brought with them the morning sunshine. The Kellogg’s bunch were brilliant and to ride on our second sunny day on the trot was a real treat. It was a level day again with about 110km to cover including a ferry across the River Mersey. The area around the ferry jetty is just amazing and it is clear that so much work has been done in Liverpool over recent years. After our ferry crossing, which turned into a mini cruise we sped our way across to Neston and boy o boy, what a brilliant reception they gave us! Word had got out about The Great Tour and two of our previous core riders had helped to spread the news and so as we turned a corner we were greeted by 51 cyclists and a dog in a trailer to lead us down into Neston and through the town to the Cricket Club. Everyone along the main street cheered and waved flags from The Prostate Cancer Charity and as we turned into the Cricket Club a jazz band was in full flow to welcome us. We also had a local group greet us who had been raising funds and awareness for The Prostate Cancer Charity.

Altogether it was a stunning day with lovely people and a wonderful day for The Great Tour J

Stage 43 Morecambe to Lytham St Anne’s and then Kirkham

We had a curious night in Morecambe, on a curious campsite after a wonderful fish and chip evening as is our tradition on a Friday. I forgot to mention in yesterday’s blog that Edwin Kennon left us last night, although I did pop a picture of him into the blog. Edwin has been an absolute inspiration to The Great Tour, over 5 weeks. He is a man of great intellect, character and humour and altogether a wonderful man to know. We will miss you Ed.

Last night we also waved goodbye to Mike Sheridan, Adrian Lawson, David Pratt and Alex Ford and this morning we welcomed in as new ‘core riders’ Geraint Rowland, Jon Wright, Don Thompson, Julie Kelly, Dean Hughes, Rod Smith and Derek Gould. It really adds to The Great Tour having new riders coming and going each week as they bring new knowledge and skills that can be shared with all.

We had a good number of day riders join us in Morecambe as two of our support team paid their respects to Eric Morecambe. The sun shone on a more or less level day with only about 450m of up and a distance of 76km made it rather relaxing. We had a quick photo shoot for one of our sponsors in Blackpool, just before I added a new dimension to our cameraman’s on the move skills as he hung onto the trailer of an electric bike that we tried out on the seafront.

We are now spending the night at The boys Brigade District Training Centre and it seems like total luxury after last night J A huge thanks to all at the centre who have made us so welcome with a brilliant reception on the finish line and then tea, sandwiches and cakes to follow.

Thanks yet again for all of your emails and comments, they really do help to keep the pedals turning

Stage 41 Whitehaven to Ulverston

One of today’s photo’s show two young lads, Coner and Tom, who kindly collected £14.00 for The Prostate Cancer Charity and so we asked them to join us for our very early start of 06:15!

It was a very varied day with, sand, green lanes, wading, very heavy cloud bursts, fantastic lunches in the grounds of an old Abbey, firing ranges and all the time with the backdrop of the Lake District National Park in the background. We cycled about 110km and climbed around 1200m on a really enjoyable day. The bikes suffered a bit and needed lots of tlc along the way to remove bucket loads of sand and mud.

Tomorrow we have about 24 day riders so that will be a great day out as we make our way from Ulverston to Morecambe

Stage 40 Carlisle to Whitehaven

After a quick interview with BBC North we set off from Carlisle with 13 day riders, all of whom were just brilliant. We had a dry day apart from a few drops at lunch time and it proved to be a wonderful contrast to yesterday. With a distance of 100km and only 600m of up over the whole day, it was a straightforward day with positive riders. A bit of a headwind held us back at times, but we made our destination only 10 minutes late. We enjoyed a lot of quite roads and well planned cycle paths.

I’m keeping it brief tonight as we have a 05:30 breakfast and a 06:15 start tomorrow.

Photo’s show, the start at Carlisle, a wind farm (we have seen so many) and the end at Whitehaven.

Stage 39 Kippford to Carlisle

I forgot to say “sorry” that my blog was missing on Sunday, but I just couldn’t get an internet or even a mobile phone connection, so sorry about that. I also keep forgetting to say “thanks” for your comments and emails. I cannot add a comment as usually I can only get a very slow email connection and have not been able to load the website. Once again, thanks to Tom, of Qoroz, for keeping my blog up to date.

I managed to get three of our support team together and present them with a Qoroz shirt last night. They have been brilliant in the way that they have followed us and made themselves available at a moment’s notice. They have carried spare bikes, food, water, tea, lots of snack bars and also lunch.

From left to right in the picture they are Will Glossop, me, Kiran Chauhan and James Cope.

It started raining at about 5am this morning with really heavy bursts, followed by dry periods and then heavy bursts. After a bit, the dry periods stopped, which was a shame, we set off (see pic) and the roads, for the first time, turned to rivers. The sport for the day seemed to be for the motorists as to which one of them could splash the cyclists of The Great Tour the most, I have to say we had a brilliant morning and did not in the least feel deterred as we battled on to Dumfries for coffee. Ed, from Australia, read to us in The Globe Inn, a pub which Robbie Burns frequented, it was a poignant moment and we were grateful to Ed for his focus on literature and history.

Off we set again in even heavier rain and turned up in Annan, as wet as if we had swam the Solway Firth. Thankfully, the local council had allowed us to use the Town Hall for our lunch stop and some hot soup gave us a welcome inner glow. After lunch, we passed through Gretna without stopping for a wedding, crossed the border into England (see pic) and pressed on to Carlisle, where we are all now taking hot showers and drying out our kit in the hostel.

By the way, don’t forget to check out The Great Tour website http://www.thegreattour.org/ where you can see loads of pics, links to daily videos and read Graeme’s blog. Stage 41 Whitehaven to Ulverston

One of today’s photos show two young lads, Coner and Tom, who kindly collected £14 for The Prostate Cancer Charity and so we asked them to join us for our very early start of 6:15am!

It was a very varied day with sand, green lanes, wading, very heavy cloud bursts, fantastic lunches in the grounds of an old Abbey, firing ranges and all the time with the backdrop of the Lake District National Park in the background. We cycled about 110km and climbed around 1200m on a really enjoyable day. The bikes suffered a bit and needed lots of tlc along the way to remove bucket loads of sand and mud.

Tomorrow we have about 24 day riders so that will be a great day out as we make our way from Ulverston to Morecambe.


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