Author Topic: LEJoG 2008 cycle camping - southern fairy bail out  (Read 3191 times)


LEJoG 2008 cycle camping - southern fairy bail out
« on: July 10, 2008, 02:37:14 pm »
I was originally planning to ride this solo but Dad said he wanted to join me, so we planned to do 60 miles per day over 15 days.

Trains are as follows:
Out: Cheltenham - Exeter, Exeter - Penzance
Return: Wick - Inverness, Inverness - Edinburgh, Edinburgh - Cheltenham
Booked via with bicycle reservations.

The route is here, here and here,

Kitlist follows.
Code: [Select]

papers and wallet
maps * 5
CTC membership
credit cards w/pin
cash card
train tickets
train itinerary

SPD sandals
socks x2
underpants x3
shorts x2
cycling jerseys x2
base layer
pertex top
waterproof jacket
arm warmers
leg warmers
cycling cap
wooly hat

sleeping bag
mini stove
camping pots x2
plastic cutlery
4 ltr water sack
lighter x2
loo roll
pastic bags for rubbish

brake blocks
puncture repair kit
inner tube
tyre levers
trye boot
park multitool
8 and 10mm mini spanner
spoke key
chain tool
chain links
small bottle of chain lube

insect repellent
sun cream
first aid kit
nail clippers
camping towel

notepad and pen
spare batteries for petzl and bike lights
charge camera/phone/shaver

nuun tablets
tea bags
soya milk

My bike in LEJoG mode. It's a butted 531 ST frameset. Dad's been riding a Raleigh M-Trax which is lugged and butted chromoly, with Panaracer Pasela tyres.

Day 1. LE to St Buryan - 6.5 miles.

Got up at 6.15 to get the train from Cheltenham at 7.20. Train from Cheltenham to Exeter and Exeter to Penzance. As we headed further south the weather became worse. Getting the bikes on the train was fun, we managed to hang the two bikes on hooks by their front wheels without removing the panniers on the XC train. We had to remove the panniers on the second train, there was a small guard's van with racks for bikes to stand. There were a couple of other LEJoGers on the train.

Rode from Penzance to St Buryan in the rain, and put the tents up at the campsite. The temperature was 13 degrees C but felt colder with the wind and rain. Removed panniers and went down to Land's End. It was raining and blowing a gale.

Stopped in the pub in Sennen on the way back, but it was cold and we were wet so we headed back to the campsite, stopping to pick up some supplies on the way. Went to the pub in St Buryan for a meal washed down with some Doom Bar. Back to the campsite and change into some dry clothes and a welcome shower.

Day 2. St Buryan to St Maybyn (nr Bodmin) - 73 miles.

Set off at 9.30 and was raining from the start. Stocked up on some pasties from St Buryan. Headed on the A30 for a while and enjoyed a strong tailwind. Stopped in a cafe at Portreath - still raining. Took to the lanes after that until Truro, some lumpy bits, then took B roads. I had a puncture from a small piece of glass. Dad got cold when I was mending my puncture annd wanted to carry on, so I told him to straight on the same road for six miles. Unfortunately the B road forked left at a junction and he went straight on. I pre-empted this and went straight on but my tyre went down again, the patch hadn't stuck properly because of the rain. Tried to patch it again and failed, so fitted a new inner tube. No sign of Dad so I wondered if he had gone left, left a message on his phone and backtracked to the junction and went left. Didn't see Dad again until the campsite, he went up the main road to St Austell and then to Bodmin and I carried on the B road and then took to the lanes, and the sun came out for a while.

Scenery near Bodmin.

End of the first full day - wet and worn out.

Day 3. St Maybyn to South Molton - 64 miles.

Woke up and the sun was out, just - huzzah! Left about 9.30 and grabbed a sandwich and a coke and a spare puncture repair kit from a garage. Stuck to B roads. The B3227 is a great road, like a rollercoaster in places.

Lumpy bits.

Soon passed into Devon. Stopped for lunch in a pub in Holsworthy. Dad was feeling tired and not sure he'd make it so I gave him some nuun and he perked up in the afternoon. Stopped for a banana in Torrington and carried on to South Molton.

Pitched the tents on soggy ground.

My matress has developed a problem.

Day 4. South Molton to Cheddar - 70 miles.

Set off early and headed up the B3227 with Exmoor to the North.

Beware the beast?

Traffic is light. Stopped for tea before Wiveliscombe then headed on to Taunton and took the A38 towards Bridgwater. Not recommened as it is a dual carriageway in places and with no hard shoulder. The detour to Bridgwater was to procure some brake blocks for Dad from SJS cycles. When we arrived there at about 2pm I was told rather curtly that there were no sales people to help me as they were on lunch, but we were given directions to a bike shop. So we bought a couple of pairs of aztecs and left. Continued up the A38 and turned of through Puriton and took B roads through Wedmore and up to Cheddar. The weather had turned nice for this bit and we enjpyed a tailwind. It's very flat around there. Stopped before Wedmore at Rich's cider to buy 4 litres of cider which was duely drunk. Through wedmore and camped just north of Cheddar.

Yesh dear, I'm quite shober.

Day 5. Cheddar to Symond's Yat - 60 miles.

Dad woke up with a sore throat so it looks like he has a cold. He wanted to continue but I told him to take it easy. Set off and climbed up over the end of the mendips in the rain. Stopped at a Spar in Blackwell for sandwiches. Climbed up past Failand and headed over the Clifton suspension bridge.

Headed north through west Bristol and up to Cribb's Causeway, over the M5 and stopped for lunch in Almondsbury. The sun came out. Headed over the M48 bridge into a strong headwind, and up to Chepstow.

Headed up the B road to Coleford and stopped for tea and teacakes. Headed up to Symond's Yat and saw a peregrin falcon through a telescope, a magnificent creature and a beautiful setting. We were told the forecast was for 2.5cm of rain the following day.

Down to the campsite at Symond's Yat east. We rolled in about 6pm and found the site warden in the pub. The campsite is in a very pretty setting next to the river Wye, but quite basic. There are two stalls in the wash block, neither of which have locks. There is one "power" shower which is either luke warm or scalding. Expensive at 12 pounds each. Tortellini, sauce, vegetables and cheese bread for dinner. Stayed up late reading The Curious Event of the Dog in the Night Time, which is really enjoyable.

Day 6. Symond's Yat to Gloucester Buiness Park - 28 miles.

Rain, rain and more rain. Dad woke me up at 7.30 and told me he was going to pack. He had a cold since the previous morning. Packed up by 10 and headed off to Mitcheldean and along the A40 to Gloucester. Dad lost his balance whilst climbing slowly and fell off into the road. He was a bit shaken up as he could hear a car coming, but he managed to get up before it went past. Took the cyclepath from the west of Gloucester through the flood plain area with the power substation that was flooded last year, to the docks. Stopped for tea, and left a lot of water everywhere. Headed up to GBP and picked the car from mrs bob. Dropped dad off at home and installed his new Talk Talk router, said farewell and headed back to Cheltenham for a shower and some dry clothes.

Day 7. Rest day.

To be continued...


Re: LEJoG 2008 cycle camping - southern fairy bail out
« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2008, 04:50:06 pm »
Day 8 - Rest day - zzzzzzzZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz

Day 9 - Cheltenham - Telford (77 miles)

Went through Worcester. Uneventful day. The first site I went to was for caravans only, but was marked on the map as for tents and caravans. Went back to a site near Ironbridge and camped next to a power station(!). Also close to Telford I encountered the first couple of dangerous drivers.

Day 10 - Telford - Preston (103 miles)

Set off at 9.15 and headed up to Telford to find a gas cylinder. Millets was closed until 10.30, being a Sunday, so I carried on. Got to Market Drayton and stopped at Morrisons for supplies. Got talking to a crusty dude on an MTB who lives on a boat. I think I smelt him before I saw him, but I probably smell worse. Headed up to Natwich and met a guy on a spanking Galaxy tourer who was planning to head to Fairford for the air show, before it was cancelled. Up through Northwich and around to the west of Partington, a chap from Bolton caught me up on a racer. He's 59 and takes part in veteran races every Sunday, except there wasn't one today so he was out getting a few miles in. He used to be a welder but was hit by a car and suffered a head injury, and has been long term sick :( We were doing a steady 18-20 mph on the flat and he said he was off and I was welcome to tail him. I tried and almost kept up with him but he turned off with a wave. Stopped for a sandwich and a nuun and found some porn in a hedgerow - yay. Up to Wigan and stopped for supplies in a small supermarket. Was given direction by a gruff sounding gent who repeated the directions 4 times before saying "I can't help you any more". Once was enough, mate, but thanks. My bike is making clicking noises and graunching noises on climbs. My backside is sunburnt.

Got to the campsite at 6 and reception was closed. The wash block requires a key so no shower for me :(

The weather has been fantastic all day, my tan is coming along. Am covered in salt and filth. I have a huge insect bite on my leg. My sandals are chafing at the top and my nipples are chafed. Layed out my maps and realised I had more miles per day left than I thought, planned to go up north or Carlisle on the A6. Thought about packing (again).

Day 11 - Preston - Cheltenham (13 miles) (Packed)

Got up and had breakfast. It was raining. Decided to pack for a number of reasons.

1. I can't be arsed. Cycle camping is fun for about a week then it gets boring and repetitive.
2. I'm homesick.
3. I have stuff to do at home.
4. Contemplating a day of cycling up the A6 in the rain is enough to make anyone pack.
5. I'm alone. It's much easier when there's someone with you (for me anyway).
6. The remaining mileage was enough to make it arduous and tough, not really what you want from a holiday (well some people might but I'm an idle git and I like a lot of time to slack off).
7. Concerns about my bike (noises).
8. The weather forecast is poor

Cycled out of the campsite and promptly got a flat. It's one of those ghost flats where even when you pump the inner tube up to about 4' diameter there's nothing to be heard escaping. Checked the inside of the tyre and fitted a new tube.

Cycled into Preston and got the train from Preston - Crewe, Crewe - Stafford and Stafford - Cheltenham.

Tour over. Perhaps I'll finish it off at some point.

My bike hanging up on a cross country train.

I'll leave you with a pic of the sunburn on my ass.

Thanks for reading :)


  • Its got my name on it.
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Re: LEJoG 2008 cycle camping - southern fairy bail out
« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2008, 06:51:27 pm »
Great report Bob, shame you felt like packing but we've all been there. Maybe I'm a bit like you but when I'm on my own I am much more likely to let small disappointments get to me and it doesn't take too many to add up to 'sod this'. Anyway, now you can start half way up the country next year and finish the ride.  ;)


Re: LEJoG 2008 cycle camping - southern fairy bail out
« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2008, 09:20:49 pm »
I will certainly finish it off at some point. Dad wants to finish it too.

A couple of thoughts - I never expected to be shivering cold in July. I expected rain and plenty of it, but the temperature was down to 10 degrees at times, sometimes raining all day and a howling wind. The prospect of more of the same whilst on the main roads didn't really appeal. The kicker is that now I am home the forecast looks OK, and it's warm enough to need all the windows and the back door open in the evening. Still I'm glad I'm home tonight rather than couped up in my little tent.


  • The Codfather
  • Formerly known as Jaded
Re: LEJoG 2008 cycle camping - southern fairy bail out
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2008, 10:41:00 pm »
Sorry to read that you packed it in, but I tend to agree, if it isn't fun then there's  not a lot of point.

We went to see the sunset on Saturday night up here and there was a fierce wind, on top of the thermometer reading 10˙C. The last 200 miles probably wouldn't have been a lot of fun.

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