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Pedal Power by Nick Veasey
  • Writer's pictureAnnette Culshaw

Two for the price of one... a watermill and a cycling nightmare!!

Updated: Oct 21, 2018

Monday 3rd September

So, our hire van which was to transport us, our bikes and our ridiculously heavy panniers arrived on time, early yesterday morning. One less thing to worry about.

Many months ago we booked a van from a smallish firm who were relatively inexpensive but who had an upper age limit for drivers. This excluded Bob from being able to drive. "I can do this" was my response... no problem! Having driven automatics for the last thirty years and thus having several nightmares about attempting to drive a large manual van with no rear windows I decided that I was not emotionally equipped to do this! We cancelled the van and booked another through Europcar who had no upper age limit.

So, we packed up all our bags and bikes and were about to set off when the doorbell rang. Standing there was a uniformed man who took me by surprise when he announced that he was delivering our vehicle!! There, in our driveway was another large van! His face expressed nothing but disbelief when I explained that I had cancelled this booking back in May and that the company had already refunded the money.

We set off, full of excitement and trepidation. An uneventful and surprisingly comfortable ride down to Somerset and to our first overnight destination... Gawbridge Mill in Somerset.

We received a wonderful welcome from Linda and Tony Holliss who encouraged us to explore this delightfully quirky water mill. The Wheelhouse forms part of Gawbridge Mill with the river Parrett flowing under the building, dating back to the 18th Century and reputably built with the Ham stones from the derelict Muchelney Abbey. Gawbridge Mill was fully working until the 1960's. Some of the old workings are still in place Water Wheel such as the gearing, grinding stones, winches & winding wheels. The whole place is bursting with interest, inside and out.

We felt that we had stepped into "the Good Life", as they have their own chickens, pigs, large vegetable plot and stables and they produce 50% of their own electricity. They also make all their own bread, cakes, jams & marmalades. The breakfast this morning made of all their own produce was the best!

We were sad to leave this lovely place and super hosts who gave us two lucky four leafed clovers and a kind donation to our Appeal.

But onwards and upwards and all that!!

A super drive down to the West Country until we hit the A30 south of Penzance. This is the road we will have to cycle on Thursday morning. It is a total nightmare!! A narrow two-laned 'A' road leading to Lands End. It winds around with serpent-like corners, lorries and coaches thundering through, most of them completely oblivious to the speed limit. Our faces went from smiley and happy to pale and shocked! It is truly dangerous, and having cycled now over 3,500 miles on our bikes in eighteen months on all sort of roads, this is the worst we have come across. Several cyclists have been killed on this road over recent years.

Shaken, we drove from Lands End to our overnight destination at a Cape Cornwall Golf Resort in St Just, eight miles from Lands End. It is a super place except for our bedroom which is so small we have to climb over our panniers to get to the bathroom. There is only access to the bed from one side! Bob has to climb over me to get out of bed in the night.It is described on the website as a 'cosy double'. Stunning views over the sea, it is where the English Channel meets the Atlantic, and the wild cliffs that exemplify the landscapes here.

Sunset at Cape Cornwall
Sunset at Cape Cornwall

This afternoon we have spent several hours replanning our route to reduce the time spent on the A30. So, tomorrow was going to be a rest day, but now we are going to cycle the fairly short route from the resort here at St Just to Lands End and back to here tomorrow night. On Thursday we will follow the small back roads from here to Penzance and from there onto Redruth. We will still have to brave about 5-6 miles of the A30. It will be slightly longer route than the original route planned and will be considerably steeper, but will mean there is less likelihood of being mown down by a lorry.

It will be a fingers crossed sort of day on Thursday.

Love to you all

Annette & Bob

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