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Day 3 - Monday 13th August – St. Columb Major to Pyworthy

Daily Distance = 53 miles (expected = 49)

Total Distance = 132 miles (expected = 117)

Weather: Misty to start but then bright and sunny and very hot. S wind.

Contour: Hilly, flat but rough along the Camel Trail, long hard climb to the moor, fairly flat across the moor and airfield, then hilly again.


We left St Columb Major in a hurry. There was no one around to give us breakfast so we just got on our bikes and left. We had already paid, which was a shame. We hadn’t got out of the car-park when John realised he had lost one of the stoppers from his handlebars. A couple of hundred yards later and he noticed he had split one of the links on his chain. We replaced the links in the churchyard. Eventually got going properly at 8.20am. Cycling was hard going to start with and then we cycled a number of miles along the Camel Trail. This is nice and flat, but the gravel surface makes it quite treacherous. We also found the NCN signs let us down when we needed them most and we ended up cycling an extra 4 miles.

Our first stop for the day was at St Breward. A very steep, long hill led us to the village which is just at the start of Bodmin moor. We dropped in the Post Office for a cup of coffee at 11.15am, and also had a mars bar for breakfast. The Post Office also had an internet connection, but thoughts of sending an e-mail soon vanished. We left St Breward to find we were actually at the start of the moors, and didn’t have to climb any further. What a place, fantastic scenery, and so quiet. After Bodmin moor we cycled across an old airplane runway, which seemed to go on forever. The roads were so long and open, the wind was slightly in our faces as we zigzagged our way across the airfield. After the airfield the hills started again.

We stopped at Wilsey Down pub in Halworthy at 1.30pm for lunch, consisting of a cheese ploughmans. This was the start of our first major panic, when I pointed out to John we were heading for Pyworthy and the B&B’s address was Plyworthy. We hoped it was the same place. Next into Devon and on to Week St Mary and then Bridgerule. We stopped in Bridgerule at the Post Office and the owner very kindly made us a cup of tea and had one herself. She also confirmed that our B&B was in fact in Pyworthy and not Plyworthy so we were going the right way (phew!).

I have been bitten twice today, once on the neck and once on the thigh, I think by a horsefly.

Bridgerule to Pyworthy is only about 3 miles, and we soon found ‘Sunrise House’. This is a fantastic place, with lovely views for miles. The owners built the house themselves when they retired from farming. The farm is next door. They told us how they ran the dairy farm plus had up to 16 people for B&B on any night. Very hard working people who deserve their lovely home and quiet retirement. Single rooms with en-suite bathrooms. We were made to feel at home, and made tea and ginger cakes on arrival. They offered to wash our clothes for us, and took John to a friend to collect more chain links (just in case of another breakage). They even offered us a dip in their spar tub, but we declined since we didn’t have any swimming trunks. 18 per person.

We went to the local pub for dinner, of chicken pie and chips. John then beat me 2-1 in the start of our pool championship.

Tomorrow is likely to be a nightmare across Devon, but for now things are looking much better.

No punctures, 1 breakdown (John’s chain). Brake pads shrinking fast.

Thought for the day: why can’t you get maps which show the roads in different colours depending upon the gradient of the road. It is almost impossible to tell on normal maps using just the contour lines.

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