Friday, 23 August 2013

The halfway mark!

We are over half way there now! Get the champagne ready! Today we have reached the halfway mark, in distance anyway! We have done over 310 miles, and over 500 kms! (That is a lot of pedalling).

The last couple of days have again been quite eventful. Some of the highlights being: Carmen running off without me, going round in circles in Portsmouth, giving way to a cow, finding out store finder is actually pretty useless and encountering some monster hills.

Day 5

Day 5 started quite early from Petersfield and we headed south for Portsmouth to see the UK's only island city! We in fact got to see a bit of it in even greater detail as we followed a trail route which looped round in a big circle to somewhere we had previously been. Luckily though Portsmouth has some lovely views over the sea from its coast making it a nice place to see twice!

Carmen overlooking Portsmouth in the background

After going through Portsmouth we headed along the coast past Fareham, Portchester and then into Southampton over Itchen Bridge. On this bridge we saw lots of interesting signs about depression and suicide! (As you can see below) We did stop and contemplate whether it was worth continuing on in the world whilst admiring the view, but decided to carry on into Southampton. It must be said that Southampton although being a lot more industrial than Portsmouth, is very cycle friendly. Lots of cycle paths all over the city, and because of this a lot more people cycled!

Just your usual cheerful sign about suicide

After going through Southampton we then headed up into New Forest National Park where we camped for the evening.

Carmen tired out as she makes it into New Forest

Day 6

Day 6 was a day where we were never going to make a lot of progress towards Lands End, but we were going to make progress towards our 600 mile target!

Today we went up north out of New Forest to Salisbury to see the picturesque city. It has a small city centre for a city, but quite a cosy one with quite a few older buildings about. The main attraction of the city being its cathedral which we went and visited. Whilst visiting it we thought its grounds would make a perfect picnic spot, but unfortunately we had already eaten not long before.

Us at Salisbury Cathedral

After visiting the cathedral we then decided to head back towards New Forest (as we were camping in the same place as the night before). We decided to go back by a different route to the one that took us there so we could see some more of New Forest. This was later an unpopular decision with Carmen, which I even later agreed with.

The way back was quite simple at first, taking us to the fringe of the national park to a place called Redlynch. From here it got slightly more tricky. We wanted to head for Bramshaw but couldn't locate ourselves on the GPS so had to use the trusty old map for directions which made it slow going. The thing that made it even slower going though were the hills. But these weren't just your usual hills, these were monster hills! Not just really steep, but long and rough and even some grassy! They sucked what little energy that was in our legs out very quickly. Carmen even had to get off her bike and push at one point. We even had spectators to watch us in some points, and avoid on one occasion! (Cows seem to be quite numerous in New Forest)

Carmen pushing her bike up one of the monster hills
This however was not the end of our day. We wanted to find a shop to buy some food for our BBQ for the evening, unfortunately using a store locater is very inaccurate! We looked for a Co-op down a dead end private farm road because that is where they said their store was. Apparently this was not the case, it was just some trees. We eventually found the shop further along down another road but inside the fridges was broken, meaning no food for us. This resulted in us looking for an alternative place to eat. Again we used store locater to find a pub and lo and behold it wasn't where it said it was. We did manage to find it though and have a very nice meal there for a good price.

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