The loaded bike
I’m sorry to say that I took the easy way out of the golf course for the first 5 miles, avoiding the dust & bumps by travelling in a 4×4 doing 70kph 🙁
I managed to sleep over 8 hours which was good, the breakfast at the golf course was OK afterwards the driver dropped me off at the tarmac of the R102. I finally started riding after having a coffee at the Farmstall, more like a supermarket than a stall. The R102 soon merged into the N2 wonderfully wide and smooth! There is something like a hard shoulder to ride on but as always that’s the first thing to disappear in difficult situations.
Storms River gorge
I saw my first and only touring cyclist going the opposite way we waved but didn’t stop. The first WOW moment was crossing over the Storms River gorge on the Paul Sauer bridge constructed in 1956 with its 405 feet drop to the water. Pretty impressive gorge especially the vertical bounce when trucks passed over it!
Bloukrans Pass bridge
The next challenge was the Bloukrans Pass which is officially closed 🙁 However, its easily passable on a bike and a couple of adventous motorists also made it. Its very overgrown so the views of the bridge (apparently the world’s longest bungee jump are not great) the 680 foot climb out is also a bit tough. Although I did catch a glimpse of a family of baboons.
I stopped at Creswell Crags (not the ones where I used to live) for some junk food & drink then it was a fast run on a very long descent into Plettenberg Bay.
Some of the side roads like to Storms River and Nature Valley looked interesting but I bypassed them
I easily found with the aid of booking.com the previously booked Thandar Vista b&b. It was then a 22min walk up the hill and down to the beach for dinner at The Lookout Deck
Strava makes it 59.8 miles and 3,540 feet of ascent so a good day.
All the pics are here
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Tuesday 16 June 2015
My new kit
Yesterday I had a shopping splurge day at Open Air in Cambridge 🙂 I bought myself some new Salomon Xa Pro 3D trainers with added Superfeet carbon insoles & Darn Tough socks. I also bought a new Osprey Exos 38 lightweight framed rucsac and a Pack-It toiletries bag. So after spending all that money I thought I had better continue my walk…
I left late so didn’t start walking from Milton Keynes until 12.45. I decided to head of to the Grand Union Canal via Campbell Park which is certainly heaps better than the walk through Springfield I did last week. I stopped at the unusual Camphill Cafe for tea & a cheese scone.
Iron trunk aqueduct
The canal does an amazing loop around the edge of Milton Keynes to obviously avoid the hill, so you walk 5 miles to almost get back to where you started. At Wolverton, once past the huge and decaying rail carriage works it starts heading North once again, through very pleasant countryside with the canal carried over a couple of amazing aqueducts.
However, I’m finding it all a bit of a tramp & keep wishing I had my bike! My right foot still has a small blister which doesn’t help. Also having a sphincter spasm after every pee is painful and very annoying 🙁 Lets hope both go away soon.
When in Milton Keynes I had booked The Windmill Cottage in Blisworth they had recommended me to stop in Stoke Bruerne for my evening meal before venturing to the top of the hill and their property. I eventually climbed up beside the 7 locks in Stoke Bruerne and settled on The Boat Inn for an excellent meal, NOT Fish and chips tonight.
A short walk up over the tunnel took me to my resting place for tonight. The Windmill Cottage is excellent with the owners Caroline & very friendly.
The new kit seems OK although with the blister it’s hard to tell about the shoes. The toiletries bag is pretty hopeless as everything ends in a huge muddle. The rucsac seems OK and the tent etc fits inside OK.
Todays 17 mile Strava is here and all the days pics are here
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So in the past four days, with my trusty Fitbit, I’ve walked from Kings Cross station to Milton Keynes which Strava works out at 13.6 + 19.1+ 17.3 + 22.1 = 72.1miles. Fitbit says I did it in 187,762 steps and burnt 22,168 cals based on my actual body weight. This excludes the fact I was lugging a 10kg backpack as well 🙁
Weight Gain after walking
So imagine my gloom when I stepped on the scales at home this morning to discover I’ve gained 1kg in weight over the past four days 🙁
Fish & Chips with Guinness
Now apparently my favourite food is “only” 861 cals per portion and the essential Guinness adds another 210 cals which means I could have eaten 10 lots of fish & chips and still been on target. So where did all that extra weight appear from?
Maybe I will have to be like son Nick and take up fell running 🙂 to get the burn rate up!
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Sally and I decided that it was about time we gave the two wheels a rest and give the Scarpa boots & Leki poles an airing 🙂 Sally’s criteria was it had to be warm and hilly! Since Mr T would only allow her two weeks of and it was November we came up with the Canary islands, particularly Tenerife and La Gomera. So of we flew with Easyjet from Gatwick. Only to discover on arrival that Ryanair passengers from Stansted were collecting their baggage in the airport 🙁
A quick taxi ride (€30) and we were at the docks and straight on the awaiting ship (€56 each way) making it a smooth passage to our apartment in San Sebastian booked a couple of weeks ago on booking.com. We booked the rest of the accommodation as we went, invariably the night before we arrived (Yep, I’m that organised).
The walking & weather were excellent every day with some days outstanding like the walk down the Masca Valley & Las Poyatas to El Cedro (here is a cool site with trail lists)
Here is a table of all our walks with links to the GPS/GPX tracks we did and my photographs:-
I can recommend the island for walking & don’t be put of by the horrors of Los Cristianos / Playa de Las Americas ( where I ended up renting a car to make a fast escape) & Los Gigantes. The beaches behind the airport are excellent & quiet. The local bus service is also good although the first buses don’t leave until 10am from San Sebastian.
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