1997 John O’Groats to Lands End – Day 9 North Petherton to Two Bridges

I said farewell to Mum and Dad at North Petherton and set off with the aim of reaching Tavistock and the start of our holiday in Devon.

Today however, was going to be a bad day.   I took a stupid detour to get off the main A38 and ended climbing small country lanes and making very little progress.   I eventually met Sarah and Ben at Pinhoe just outside Exeter at the local church, which as you can guess, was at the top of a very steep hill.   We had a picnic and then I set off towards Dartmoor where I probably made my biggest navigational mistake.   Instead of keeping to the main A30, I decided to go right across the centre of Dartmoor.   On leaving Exeter, the hills started and I climbed for what seemed like hours to eventually reach Moretonhampstead.   The only highlight was meeting a tandem coming the other way where we stopped and chatted for 10 minutes.   The two guys were on their way to John O’Groats which now seemed a very long way away.   We discussed the route before each going our separate ways.   I felt good that I was nearing the end of my journey and that they had only just begun there’s.

After clearing Moretonhampstead I climbed steadily until I reached a car park on the edge of Dartmoor where I stopped and had a ice cream.   The weather at this point was fine but very windy but within a matter of minutes the sun had gone and the rain set in.   I continued to climb upwards against the wind and by now it was getting very late.  I made it as far as Two Bridges where I phoned Sarah who was waiting in Tavistock for me and arranged for her to come and find me.  I cycled for another 2 or 3 miles before we met.

By now the mist was down and I could not see more than about 30 yards and it was getting dark.   Decided to call it a day 10 miles short of Tavistock and the me and my bike were transported back to our cottage about 4 miles the other side of Tavistock itself.   I made a mental note of the route during the ride home as this would be the ride I would have to ride tomorrow.

I felt really tired and weary tonight and was beginning to doubt my ability to complete the ride tomorrow.

Daily Mileage: 70.70 miles

Average Speed: 7.90 mph

Cycling Time: 8h 48m

Cumulative Mileage: 794.83 miles