Day 1 - Saturday 11th August – Penzance to Lands End and Return
Daily Distance = 26 miles (expected = 24)
Total Distance = 26 miles (expected = 24)
Weather: Unsettled, with a mixture of sunshine and light showers. Strong SW wind.
Contour:Very steep hills out of and into Penzance, other than only minor hills.
Setting off at 8.30am, cycling towards Lands End into the wind was very hard going. Just outside Penzance we came across our first steep hill. It seemed to go on forever. I had to stop once to catch my breath and then got going again.
The cycle route leading to Lands End is made from very fine gravel, almost sand. It is very difficult to cycle on, particularly the short, steep climbs and descents which have a thicker layer of gravel making the tyres skid.
We arrived in Lands End at 10.30am. We signed the book for End to Enders, bought, wrote and posted our postcards, had our photos taken and then turned around. Quite a few tourists commented on what we were about to do, some even thinking we had just finished.
On the way back we turned one corner down a country lane, only to come face to face with a very big tractor. Both of us swerved into the hedgerow to avoid him.
Cycling back was much easier. We stopped at St. Buryan for lunch, which was a very nice cheese ploughmans. John and I made a pact not to have any alcoholic drinks until we got to John O'Groats. John agreed and then ordered a pint of lager.
On the way back we turned off the normal route to avoid the steep drop into Penzance, and to visit Mousehole. This was also a very steep descent, which almost ended in disaster when a woman stepped out of her driveway without looking, right in front of me. Luckily I managed to shout and swerve round her, there was no way I could stop on that hill.
We arrived back at Penzance at around 1.30pm. We went for a wander round the town, and then rested ready for the days ahead.
The depths of Cornwall are almost deserted in parts. Lands End is just a tourist attraction, but not as tacky as I was expecting. The countryside is quite flat apart from the steep climb out of Penzance. Once you have climbed you tend to spend much of your time at the higher level, with the wind blowing in your face. The weather was overcast and drizzly at Lands End and the wind is very strong off the sea, making it quite unpleasant.
Our evening meal was at Ginos Italian restaurant and consisted of lasagne, salad and garlic bread.
No punctures and no breakdowns, a good solid start.
After the meal I eventually persuaded John he should send some of his luggage back home. The bike could hardly be lifted when fully loaded, and I knew John would find it difficult with so much extra weight on the bike. He agreed to send home his extra strong nail clippers, his talc, one of his spare t-shirts, 4 packets of energy sweets, and many energy bars. The owner of the B&B very kindly agreed to post them home after we strapped them up with tape.