Day 5 - Wednesday 15th August – Tiverton to Glastonbury
Daily Distance = 59 miles (expected = 57)
Total Distance = 244 miles (expected = 221)
Weather: Very hot and sunny. SE wind, unfortunately we headed east and the wind was in our faces for much of the day.
Contour: Drop like a stone from the B&B, then flat for many miles, with a few short climbs when the route leaves the towpath.
Another very good breakfast of sausage, poached eggs and tomatoes. When I went to pay Mrs Pugsley in the morning she charged us only £12.50 each for last nights meal, and then gave me £20 towards our charities.
The drop back down to Tiverton from the B&B was a bit scary, this hill is very steep. A long day in the saddle. Not many hills but we used the canal towpath from Tiverton, which was covered in gravel and very bad for your buttocks. The towpath even turns to grass for part of the journey. By the end of the day I had two red blisters on my butt cheeks which hurt a lot. Lovely countryside today, the canal was wonderful. We had a heron fly just in front of us for about half a mile. It kept landing on the towpath then took off as we got closer. We followed the towpath to Taunton, where John finally sorted out his mileometer, which had continued to play up. I also bought a long sleeved cycle top ready for Scotland.
John’s front mudguard clipped out in the morning, thanks to a stick in the road. He eventually got it sorted out. My chain came off at the bottom of a steep climb, but it was easily fixed. We stopped at the Riverside Inn in Creech St Michael for lunch of cheese and pickle baguette and chips. Back on the towpath after lunch. It was very hot in the afternoon, until about 3.30pm when it became overcast, a welcome relief.
The NCN route along the towpaths is very pleasant, but not good on your bum. Why are canal bridges so low? We met other cyclists at about four bridges, and were lucky no one ended up in the water. I also got dive-bombed by a dragonfly who seemed to want to take my left ear off, but ended up giving me a glancing blow. We came face-to-face with a 38 tonne truck down one lane, just by the towpath. We had to walk back up the lane to allow him to come down, and then he went over a very small wooden swing bridge with a 16 tonne weight limit. We stood waiting for the splash. The NCN route also takes you over a footbridge, which involves carrying your bike on your shoulder up two flights of stairs, and then creeping under a very low bridge.
Thought for the day: why to NCN insist on using coarse gravel on cycle tracks.
No punctures, 1 broken mudguard (John), and my chain came off.
The B&B ‘3 Bove Town’ was again (for the 4th night running) at the top of a hill. Bove Town means above the town (should have seen that one coming). The couple running the B&B were quite pleasant, although the husband reminds me of a hunts master, and is very particular. The room was a twin, with en-suite – John snores. We had tea on arrival, and the bikes were locked safely in the garage. £20 per person.