Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Getting there!

We haven't been updating our blog much, shame on us, but our last four days have been very long, although not necessarily due to cycling. We have covered some more distance, we're up to 468.5 miles, which puts us at over three quarters of the way there! Just a quarter to go now!!!

Day Seven

We planned this day as an easy, enjoying the sights and doing a bit of sightseeing kind of day. Partly because we needed a slower day, after a long week, but also because our final destination, Christchurch was only 31 miles away, including detours.

So we left the campsite and we headed towards Lyndhurst, the capital of New Forest. What we didn't realise was that this was the Friday of the bank holiday weekend, and therefore, the place was packed with tourists. So packed in fact that we were stuck in traffic for some time!

Day 7 was a very let's spoil ourselves kind of day. But to our defence, most of the towns in New Forest had some mouth watering things to offer, like these giant eclairs for example!

Look at the size of those things!

So we stopped in Lyndhurst for a pastry, we then went to Brokenhurst where we bought loads of nice fruit from the village grocer. Afterwards we stopped for a nice sandwich lunch in Lymington, which we ate on the quay, and it was accompanied by a fresh from the farm ice cream (delicious!).

Us having lunch by the quay.

For the rest of the day, we went down to the coast, to Milford on Sea, and cycled all along the coast, enjoying lovely views, until we reached Christchurch, where a lovely friend of ours has kindly offered us a bed for the night (which was lovely and soft and much appreciated!).

The highlight of the day for me (Carmen) though was when, whilst walking next to a guy he told me that 'bloody hell all the cycling I've been doing is paying off' - his words not mine. Nice confidence boost though!

Day Eight

After being well rested and well fed (nice warm buttered croissants for breakfast), we had big plans for the day. We were to reach Weymouth that day, via Corfe Castle. However, as you will see, the bank holiday weekend has ruined our plans (damn bank holiday weekend).

So the day started really nicely, with a leisurely cycle from Christchurch to Bournemouth. We even got a companion for a good 5 miles as you can see below. She even took some lovely pictures of us in action (or not).

Companion, host, cook and guide. Oh and photographer. Thank you x
In action.
Or not.
The first disappointment of the day was to find out that hot doughnuts are nowhere to be found on the beaches of Bournemouth - sort yourselves out people! Ben got a pancake instead, which was quite nice actually.

After we left Bournemouth behind we headed south of Poole, where we cheated and took the ferry to Swanage, which probably saved us a few miles, but also gave us some great views. And also gave me my first experience of going on a ferry.

Enjoying the view, after I've stopped being terrified.
Afterwards we headed to Corfe Castle where we stopped for lunch and also we thought it would be a good idea to find accommodation for the night, in Weymouth. However, thanks to the bank holiday weekend, we couldn't find anything as they were all fully booked! It seems like the whole of England has decided to go to Weymouth for the weekend. Even campsites said they were too full for our tiny tiny tent.

And so we wasted a lot of time with no results and we got really demoralised and worried about where we'd spend the night. We decided in the end to just head on and stop at every campsite or B&B and ask if they have spaces. Luckily for us, we did find one quite soon, but on the downside it meant we didn't advance as much as we would have liked. In the end, even though it was a bit of a disappointing day, we did about 35 miles, although some of it was going back and forth looking for stuff.

Day Nine

As we finished earlier the previous day we have decided on day 9 to wake up and leave earlier than usual. So, by 10.30 we already have completed 12 miles and we have decided to stop for a hot drink at Lulworth Cove. It was good that we headed down there earlier, because, as we left, a bazillion tourists have appeared out of no where, so we missed the traffic.

Lulworth Cove.
Our next stop was supposed to be the Durdle Door, but we decided to give that one a miss due to a bitchy cold rain. So we headed straight for Weymouth instead, where we stopped for lunch, a lovely, hot, bacon baguette that did wonders. And, as we were well ahead of schedule and we were trying to make up for the shorter previous days, we have decided to move our final destination forward, from Bridport to Lyme Regis instead.

And that was the start of a very unfortunate afternoon. The campsite that we chose was located at the top of a never ending - and I mean neverending - hill (Westover Hill), which was not pleasant after 60 miles of cycling.

Very slowly we made it to the campsite, set up our tent and found out that the nearest place to grab a bite was a mile and a half away, up some more hills. So we thought we'd walk instead, which was an unfortunate decision, as we had to walk on the grass alongside the A35. We finally got to the pub, but we were told we can't get fed because they stop serving food by 9 (we got there at 8.15!) and there were too many people ahead of us.

The girl behind the counter was really nice and gave us the number of an Indian take away, but that took another hour to come. By then we were tired, hungry and miserable. After the takeaway has arrived (we didn't even have enough cash to pay for it, but luckily the lady let us off a couple of quid), we had to walk back, in the dark, alongside the majestic A35. And, the cherry on top, it started raining again, so we got soaked.

With a late Indian and lots of slugs we finished what was our worst evening yet, thinking that tomorrow can only get better.

Day Ten

On this day we have officially entered the hilly county of Devon. We even entered it in style, with a couple of ups and downs and then ups again, first thing in the morning, to make sure it knackered us well for the rest of the day. Whilst going up these hills we have noticed that our legs are really tired from the ten days of cycling. That, combined with the fact that we've heard many tales of the hillyness of both Devon and Cornwall, made us decide to head to Exeter, get a cheap room and stay there for two nights, get our bodies a well deserved chance to recover, after 10 days of constant cycling in which we covered 468.5 miles (754km).

The way to Exeter was quite pleasant in the end, quite flat compared with what's ahead of us. We have found accommodation in the halls of the University of Exeter, which was really handy as we needed to wash our clothes because we ran out of clean stuff, and do other housekeeping chores.

So now we're clean and today, day 11, we're going to let our bikes and legs rest while we have a stroll around Exeter by foot. Especially as it has been a bit of domestic violence between Baby and me:


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