Day 3: Wadebridge to Okehampton

Distance: 51.18 miles
Time: 5 hours 5 minutes
Average speed: 10 m.p.h.
Distance from Lands End: 124.69 miles
Distance to John o’Groats: 895.31 miles
Number of county boundaries crossed: 1

“a lovely room at the Swan”… As we sat in the bar enjoying a pre-dinner drink, in rolled the live act for the evening, with roadies bringing in enough huge speakers to play for a festival, let alone a small inn. “Oh dear” we thought, or something similar, as we headed off to the Glasshouse for a pizza. The waitress at the Glasshouse directed us to the one square metre in Wadebridge with a mobile signal so we could check mail and upload yesterday’s entry, and then we had a good meal before returning to the Swan. In the bar the Ded Heds (for it was they) were just about to start their first set, but we discovered we could barely hear their Nirvana-light sound from our second floor room, so that was all right.

We slept really well after the days exertions, and after a good breakfast and an interesting chat with a couple from Brisbane, we were ready for the off. The forecast for today had been rain, but clearing north later, and that’s pretty much what we got, leaving in our rain jackets in a light drizzle.

Wadebridge is really well set up for cyclists, with lots of cycle lanes, and we headed out towards Okehampton in our own lane up the hill. Today’s ride had looked quite daunting, starting with 1000 feet of climbing, but actually it was spread over 20 miles, so not too taxing, and with a few coasting downhill sections to rest the legs (and bums). There was just nobody around, no other cyclists facing the weather, and we spotted just one pair of soggy walkers .

Soon enough we crested 1000 feet and started the long descent into Launceston, where we had an excellent lunch, and received lots of encouragement from the locals at the White Horse. We had been congratulating ourselves on making such good time to Launceston, and after lunch we climbed back out and almost immediately crossed the county boundary into Devon. Devon wasn’t going to welcome us quite as lightly as Cornwall had let us go, though, and threw a succession of sharp hills at us, culminating in a ‘hill and a half’ out of Bratton Clovelly. We were cycling in beautiful little green lanes in the sunshine now, though, with great views of the much lusher inland Devon hills. The hedgerows are different since we left Cornwall and the coast, too – there they were full of gorse, sedums and bluebells, here they are extraordinarily green, with lots of flowering cow-parsley.

At last Okehampton was in sight, and after a few last ‘take that!’ dips and climbs we arrived in the town centre and found the White Hart, which had been recommended by the Australian couple we talked to at breakfast. The man who checked us in reckoned we were completely mad, but put us in the special four-poster room as a treat. Haven’t checked yet whether there’s a band on tonight though…

Tomorrow we face a few more sharp climbs, we’re told, on our way to Taunton. We’re hoping that the dreadful weather forecast is wrong…