13 - 17 May 2005

Bristol to Land’s End

Into the wind

Whoosh 2 had proved harder than any of us really expected or wanted and we moderated our expectations for Whoosh 3. We planned a total mileage of 300 – averaging 60 a day. We were broadly following NCN Route 3 from Bristol to Land’s End, but we made two major detours to get to our nights 1 and 3 YHA accommodation which were both well worth it. Although they added some extra hills, they saved us some miles.

Friday 13 May Bristol Temple Meads to Crowcombe YHA

73 miles; 0000 ascent. Route 3 follows quiet country lanes into the Mendips where we had spectacular views towards Glastonbury Tor followed by a wind assisted whoosh down into Wells. Lunch in Glastonbury, then west across the Somerset Levels. We left Route 3 at Bridgwater and followed our own route, on country lanes, over the spectacular Quantock Hills towards Crowcombe which nestles on the other side.

Saturday 14 May Crowcombe YHA to Barnstable B&B

50 miles; 0000 ascent. A much shorter day (in fact, the shortest Whoosh day yet!) We devised our own route over Brendon Hill to get back to Route 3 and our coffee break at Dulverton. We then crossed Exmoor on a wild afternoon looking for a lunch spot, reaching the highest point of the ride (483m at Fyl- don Common), followed by an effortless glide off Exmoor into Barnstable. We arrived in time for afternoon tea. A rare privilege.

Sunday 15 May Barnstable to Tintagel YHA

70 miles; 0000 ascent. A day of two halves! The morning was mostly flat on car-free bike routes along the Taw Estuary, then the Tarka Trail. The afternoon took us a switchback ride along the north Cornwall coast southwards from Bude. The map had plenty of double chevrons denoting short sharp hills. We left the signposted Route 3 mid-afternoon when it headed inland and stayed near the coast for more hills and spectacular views through Crackington Hav- en and Boscastle to Tintagel.

Monday 16 May Tintagel YHA to Truro B&B

67 miles; 0000 ascent. Another day of contrasts – repeating Sunday’s pattern – a flat morning followed by a hilly afternoon. We re-joined route 3 near to Camelford and crossed Bodmin Moor on a very calm morning. We then left Route 3 again and took the Route 32 detour along the wonderful Camel Trail bike route which hugs the scenic Camel Estuary. After a sun-baked lunch in Padstow our afternoon was spent on a clammy slog through inland Cornwall towards Truro.

Tuesday 17 May Truro to Land’s End

50 miles; 0000 ascent. This was our race to the sea, against the wind. Route 3 sped us through depressed post-industrial Cornwall (Redruth and Camborne) arriving on the south coast at St Michael’s Mount. We were running late so we missed out the slow coast hug- ging alternative via Mousehole, instead taking the direct line along the B3315 to get to Land’s End by mid-afternoon.

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