Today saw us pass into Somerset and then back into Devon. We’ve been riding a week now and have clocked up 255 miles. The sky was pretty clear again so we ‘sunblocked’ before we left our B&B at Lower Yelland Farm by its own access to the Tarka Trail, then headed the few miles into Barnstable. In the town we managed to lose the cycle trail for a while and passed through a business park and past a small travellers camp before picking it up again. There was a long climb out of the town into the hills to the north of the valley running inland. The road we followed was bigger than the lanes we’d been used to but almost empty and peaceful. That peace broken now and then by the odd car or HGV.
At South Molton we stopped on the edge of town at a Farm shop and each drank two pots of tea. Kaz had a huge wedge of coffee and walnut cake and I had an equally generous slice if caramel shortcake. Back on the bike and out through the town we continued the routine of slow climb, fast descent across the rolling hills.
Eventually we turned off the B road and took to the solitude of the lanes once more. Swinging round a bend at the foot of a fast descent we were presented with the opportunity to replenish our fluid levels in the form of an inviting country pub. Exmoor ale is rather nice and from then on the ride took on a much more relaxed air, stiff legs and joints oiled with alcohol.
Running in the sun along the little lanes either side of the river Yeo was very pleasant. The climbs were, on the whole, comparatively short. At one point we stopped to watch a sheep being sheared roadside. The farmer had the bonnet to his Landy open and the shears were running off the battery. We chatted a while with his classy companion. Not yer average farmer’s wife! Further still a huge tractor blocked the lane and we struck up more chat with the driver as we squeezed past, comparing the number of gears on our respective mounts.
After that it was only a few more ups and downs till the last, long and fast descent into Exebridge and our B&B at the Anchor Inn. Bags in room and shower? Or drink first? The bags lost.