I'm a double cancer survivor, cyclist and walker who does various challenges for different charities, mainly cancer-related.

My latest trip was a three-week tour of Tasmania in February 2015; amongst other things, I've cycled from Land's End to John o'Groats (2003), Rotterdam to Lemvig (Denmark) (2005), walked the Pennine Way (2008) completed the ascent of all 214 'Wainwrights' in the Lake District in only 55 days (2009), cycled 4,500 miles around the coast of Great Britain (2011), cycled all 42 of the accessible Western Isles of Scotland in under a month (2012), twice abseiled 230 ft from the top of The Big One in Blackpool, cycled the WWI Western Front from London to Compiegne via Ypres and Arras (2014) and cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014).

Altogether I've raised over £70,000 for my charities including The Christie, Cancer Research UK, the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, and ABF (The Soldiers' Charity) and I was mightily chuffed to receive the British Empire Medal in the 2014 New Year's Honours List.

I'm a Rotarian and give illustrated talks about my adventures in exchange for a donation to charity, so if you're looking for a speaker leave me a message. I am also Event Organiser for the Ribble Valley Ride Cycle Sportive, to be held this year on Sunday 14 June 2015 - more details at www.ribblevalleyride.org

You can also follow me on Twitter - @CancerBikeMan and on Facebook - just search for Bill Honeywell

Cancer Research UK is the world's leading charity dedicated to beating cancer through research, whilst The Rosemere does fantastic work for patients in Lancashire and South Cumbria.

Monday, 25 July 2011

The Aftermath

My legs are stiff.  They were OK until yesterday when I started to do some gardening – I’ve clearly been using muscles that I haven’t used for some time!  My good friend and gardening expert Bill Barker (he could give Alan Titchmarsh a run for his money) advised me to alternate nice jobs in the garden with nasty jobs.  Which would be OK if there were any nice jobs!

It has been hectic since I got back last Wednesday. What a homecoming! It was great to see so many people turning out to welcome me back. 

One of the main jobs has been to collate all the donations that have been made. People have been really generous – and a lot of money has come in since the finish, with the result that donations have now reached the high teens of thousands.  I’m meeting Sarah MacPhee from Cancer Research UK tomorrow, and there are so many cheques to hand over she may need a Securicor escort!  If we carry on at this rate I think Val can look forward to the return of a clean-shaven husband pretty soon.

On the subject of donations, I’ve been promised a share of the proceeds from the Clitheroe Rock at the Castle gig on Friday 12 August – so please make a note in your diary to be there – the more the better!  Details are at http://www.rockthecastle.co.uk.

There have been a lot of people to thank, and I hope I’ve got round to them all. If I have forgotten any, I apologise.

On Sunday I went on Sean MacGinty’s morning show on Radio Lancashire, which is always fun.  I was able to make a few comments on matters like the Greek debt bail-out (don’t give them the money, give everyone in the UK £500 instead, on condition they go to Greece on holiday!) But the sad news of Norway and Amy Winehouse put a bit of a damper on things, naturally.

I also made the front page of the local paper – the Clitheroe Advertiser & Times – but the piece for Granada TV News didn’t seem to materialise – well, I couldn’t compete with Mark Cavendish!  Tonight I’ve done a photo-shoot for the Evening Telegraph with Val threatening to cut off the beard with a pair of scissors!

The motorhome has gone into James Alpe Ltd for repair – fortunately the insurance will cover it.

















Sunderland, mid-June - notice the exceptionally fine weather. It was pouring down by tea-time of course!

Finally, today I received a really nice message of endorsement from Sir Ranulph Fiennes, adventurer and holder of several endurance records (The Guinness Book of Records describes him as “the world’s greatest living explorer”). He said:

‘Bill Honeywell has just finished a non-stop 4,500-mile cycle around the entire coast of Great Britain – a gruelling challenge by any standards.  Please show your support for this effort by donating generously to Cancer Research UK, a cause which is also very close to my heart.’

Well chuffed!

Thursday, 21 July 2011

A Resumé For New Readers (and some more information for everybody)

I meant to post this a few days ago, but had no wi-fi signal and then forgot I’d written it!  Now the ride is over, it still seems appropriate if you just substitute with the past tense where appropriate! --- 

I realise many people will have found this blog some time after I started this bike ride on 10 May (I think that was this year but it seems so long ago now, I’m not sure!)  So perhaps it would be a good idea to let you know a few things and let you know some of the events so far.

First of all, this is a 4,400-odd bike ride around the coast of Great Britain which I am doing in an attempt to raise £20,000 for Cancer Research UK. I’ve had cancer twice, and nearly everyone has a cancer story to tell, if not of themselves, then of someone very close to them.

I’m going clockwise from Clitheroe in Lancashire, so I started off up the Fylde Coast, then Cumbria, Scotland… and so on.  I’m doing the ride in one go – no breaks – with one exception, which was that I had to nip back from Oban to Clitheroe to attend the wedding of my nephew Chris and Nic after ten days. Since 24 May I haven’t had a day off.

The weather on the first day was fine. After that it rained at some time every day (and often all day) for weeks and weeks, and a times the wind was so strong it was impossible to stay on the bike. This culminated, on 24 May, when gusts in nearby Loch Aline reached 90 knots (100 mph) with a large oak tree being blown over on top of the motorhome whilst we were all inside. That was a worrying moment, I can tell you, and how the motorhome survived with nothing worse than a broken windscreen and a few dents I’ll never know.


















I’ve had a few companion cyclists, but most of the riding has been alone.  Accommodation, and brew/food stops, are provided by a motorhome which has been crewed by different volunteers who have come out to do a week’s stint at a time.  Except on one occasion, when the lovely Margaret Rose put us up in her house near Colchester, fed us heartily and provided us with enough food for the next week!

I’m due to finish next Wednesday 20 July.  The amount raised for Cancer Research UK stands at around £12,000 (now over £16,000!!), including over £300 from 11-year old Ella Spencer who organised a cake stall at her home a couple of weeks ago.  So more donations are desperately needed – especially as I’ve promised not to shave my beard off until the target is reached – and Valerie, my wife, hates the beard!

I’m using Twitter to keep people up-to-date of progress – you can find me there as @CancerBikeMan, and you can also find me on Facebook.

You can donate in different ways: by going to my JustGiving site at


or, if you want to donate £5 (or multiples thereof) you can text

CRBC99 £5      to 70070 on your mobile phone

Please give generously – you know it’s in a very good cause!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Day 69 and the very last day! Thurstaston to Clitheroe

83 miles; the final grand total: 4,440 miles

From underwhelmed to overwhelmed! – Ferry across the Mersey – Surprise company – We go squirrel hunting and almost regret it – An incredible homecoming reception - Can I cope with all the media?

I’m sitting in my living room for the first time in over ten weeks. Earlier, after I arrived home, I had a shower and for a while couldn’t remember where I kept my socks.  That’s when it dawned upon me how long I’d been away – longer than I’ve ever been away from home in my entire life.

Although it’s a nice feeling, it really is a little difficult to come to terms with at first, but I’m getting so many emails and tweets which are a welcome distraction from having to get back to reality. I feel good, really.

As I was getting ready this morning I was a little surprised that it didn’t feel any different from all the others: I really expected that it would have done. Although I knew it was the last day, I’m not sure that I felt it was the last day.


















I love the red sandstone that outcrops all over the place on the Wirral (often at the base of stone walls). It was formed in the Permian Period, 250 – 300 million years ago, and the strata show so clearly that the rock is basically solidified desert sand dunes.


















The view from West Kirby - you can just see the oil rig that I passed yesterday at Mostyn in Wales.

West Kirby, Hoylake, Wallasey, New Brighton – all easy going and level, taking me around the peninsula’s perimeter to Birkenhead. At the Seacombe terminal for the Mersey Ferry I asked a uniformed gentleman if I was at the right ferry and how I should go about getting a ticket. He turned out to be a bus driver – but he was still very helpful!

































Once off the ferry I did a telephone interview for Radio Lancashire and then set off on busy roads north towards Crosby.  When I got to Seaforth, three familiar cyclists were gesticulating at the side of the road – Richard Dugdale, Mick Bryan and Big Al Taylor, who had come to ride the final 60 miles back to Clitheroe with me. I had half-expected they would!

I thought we had a lot of time and would arrive much back in Clitheroe much earlier than the four o’clock which I had estimated and told everyone.  So when we got to Formby we went on a diversion to Formby Point in the hope of seeing some Red Squirrels. None were seen, though there were hundreds of tiny schoolchildren. Al said it was more like Disneyland than a nature reserve.















Marine Drive, Southport

As we got to the very long road that is Southport’s Marine Drive I started to feel that we’d spent too much time on our squirrel hunt and we needed to press on.  The tide was out, meaning that the sea was nowhere to be seen, but we could see Blackpool across the Ribble Estuary.  The Ribble flows past Clitheroe, so I was really feeling near home now!


















The soil in this area is incredibly black and fertile, and some of the crops are really quite picturesque.

As I arrived in Preston, I ‘closed the loop’ – having crossed the point where I had been ten weeks ago – and, I suppose, officially completed my circumnavigation of the coast. Soon after, Geoff Isherwood was waiting at the side of the road opposite his office, and fixed a big ‘Congratulations’ balloon to the back of my bike, whilst looked upon from on high by all the staff at Forbes Solicitors!

We were joined by Mick Wood, who rode on Day One, together with another two cyclists from Clitheroe Bike Club, and by 3.30 we were only two miles from Clitheroe. Thinking that some people might not be at Castlegate yet, there followed a rather surreal 20 minutes’ wait before we set off again into the town.

As we headed up Moor Lane, the other riders held up the traffic behind to let me go ahead, to be hailed by the bell of the Town Crier, Roland Hailwood, and scores and scores of friends. What a fabulous moment!  After breaking the finishing tape I made a short speech, relieved that this time, unlike the end of the 214 Wainwrights, I managed to hold it together without getting too emotional!  Then there were interviews with Granada Reports, East Lancs News and Sean MacGinty on Radio Lancashire before I could get on with the serious job of meeting and greeting all the people who had helped, donated, and just generally supported the ride.















Crossing the line

















Being interviewed by Ben from Granada Reports (nice view of the office in the background!)...















...and then Faiza from East Lancs News


















Me, Val, Roland the Town Crier, Big Al, Richard, and other helpers Tony, Frank, Simon, Ian, Mick and Bernadette.
















Good ol' Mum & Dad!


















"You're SO in trouble if you don't shave off that beard!!!"

And after it had all died down… I cycled the two miles back to my village of West Bradford to start the long painful process of my rehabilitation… (!)

There is a lot more to say, but not tonight.  I’ll be trying to get things straight tomorrow, catching up with urgent jobs, but I’ll also hopefully find time to provide you with a few more thoughts, insights, reminiscences - and acknowledgements of all the help I’ve had on the ride.  And there may be a few words from a very famous hero of mine…

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Day 68 – Caernarfon to Thurstaston (Wirral)

91 miles; total 4,357 miles.

The penultimate day! And the weather was kind – what a change! Visitors from Clitheroe, and attention from the media.

Tonight we’re going out with friends Alan & Christine Beggs who have come down to the Wirral to see us on the last night – so the blog may be a little on the short side!

We had an early night last night in preparation for an early start this morning, but at half-past midnight were awoken by the people in the next caravan having a party, or so it seemed.  Not amused. Strange how this morning at 6.00 am I was feeling particularly noisy as I got the bike out and blew the tyres up!


















The footbridge over to the magnificent Caernarfon Castle has a sign with a man pushing a bike in a red circle – so I presume they mean you CAN’T push your bike over. So I rode mine.  Heck, there’s a lot of castle in Caernarfon !


















It turned wet in Bangor, and after that came the extremely busy A55: there are cycle routes provided for so I didn’t have to risk life and limb with the traffic.  When you get to the first tunnel at Penmaenmawr, the cycle route goes over the gantry with the lane signs, then over the top of the tunnel; for the second it goes on the seaward side of the cliffs. Absolutely great, and they must have cost a fortune.



















Conwy was spectacular with the Castle and bridge together; then into the wind to Llandudno with views of the Great Orme before turning east with the wind right at my back. I loved doing 25 mph + along the prom!































At Penrhyn Bay I saw three familiar faces at the side of the road – my former neighbour and great friend Alison Fisher with her grown-up offspring Claire and Matt. Now that was a surprise!  What’s more, Claire had brought £120 which she’d collected from the customers in her pub the other night.  The three of them came to the next two fuel stops, which was good company.
































I carried on apace, enjoying the high speeds, through Colwyn Bay, Rhyl and Prestatyn, then through Mostyn and Llanerch-y-Mor, where there is a surprise view of an old hulk of a ship.  Over the impressive suspension bridge over the Dee – not bicycle friendly, with a path on the bridge but not even a dropped kerb at each end – then back into England at last, and a last 18 miles into the wind (I didn’t mind by now!).  Parkside is an interesting village on the Dee marshes on the west side of the Wirral, but it certainly catches the wind.


















Parkside

During the day there have been calls from Radio Lancashire and Granada Reports, so there’s a chance that there may be some useful publicity to help fundraising for Cancer Research tomorrow.

So hopefully tomorrow, given a good day, I should be back in Clitheroe at around 4.00. Let’s hope there’s another following wind!

That’s it, I need to get showered and changed for a big pasta meal tonight.  More tomorrow.

Monday, 18 July 2011

The Last Day

A few people have asked where and when I'm due to finish.  Well, if all goes according to plan (and who knows?) then I'm hoping to finish where I started - at Castlegate, Clitheroe - at around 4 o'clock on Wednesday, 20 July.

If you are thinking of being there, please do check my progress on www.fleetsmartlive.com in case I'm either early or late - the tracker should give you a pretty accurate idea of when I'm due back.

It would be nice to see people at the finish but be warned - there will be helpers there with collection buckets for Cancer Research UK - so make sure you bring some money with you!

(Which reminds me. I think the total amount pledged is now over £12,000 but the target is £20,000.  The beard which I've grown these last few weeks will STAY ON until I reach the target.  Valerie is NOT happy about this and I could be banished to the spare bedroom.  Please help!!!)

Day 67 – Abersoch to Caernarfon

53 miles; total 4,267 miles; 172 miles to go.

Firstly a few words about yesterday.  My cunning plan to go a bit further than planned came at a price.  With 78 miles to do on Monday, 94 miles on Tuesday and 77 on the last day, and a poor weather forecast, I thought if I got ahead a bit it would be a good idea.  I had felt strong in the morning and confident of managing a long day.  But as soon as the decision had been made, the heavens opened. Even Noah would have felt under-prepared. And for the last 25 miles the headwind was just cruel.  The rain continued through the night on our improvised caravan site; making a call on the phone as I approached the site, my up-to-then dry iPhone became drenched and went on partial strike; and the T-Mobile people were telling me I had used up by ‘fair use’ allotment and wouldn’t give me access to wi-fi.

I was, to put it mildly, cheesed off.

Never mind, you can’t drive a car by looking in the rear view mirror all the time; onwards and upwards…  So this morning I set off with the intention of seeing how things went, then deciding at the first pit-stop whether to go for Conwy and make Tuesday easier, or stick to Plan ‘A’ and stay at Caernarfon.

















Abersoch

It didn’t take long to decide. I was feeling knackered after yesterday.  I thought Abersoch was at the west of the Lleyn peninsula, but I kept going west for a further 20 miles, into the headwind and including a long and rather vicious climb up to Rhiw. I didn’t feel on top of my game, I can tell you.  So a short day was decided upon.

Nice to visit Abersoch by the way. As far as I know, until today, everyone in Clitheroe except me had been to Abersoch.  Now I don’t need to feel left out any more.



















The Lleyn peninsula has some interesting scenery, with rugged cliffs, woodland and marshes, but the villages seemed uninspiring with many of the houses plain and utilitarian. And every village seems to have at least one awful-looking plain, domineering Methodist Chapel - Cromwell would have loved them.

















Aberdaron

At Nefyn the rain returned, making the long climb out of the town up on to the moors a little less pleasant, but the descent was fast.  A short detour around Foryd Bay and Saron, and the day was over, here in Caernarfon, where I was met by John and Helen Rushton, old friends who did part of one of the Wainwright walks with me two years ago.



















Catherine has reccied the footbridge over to Caernarfon Castle and tells me it doesn’t open until 7 am, so that’s when I’m starting tomorrow. A long day coming up, after that only one left. Scary!  KPO.

Some photos from Day 66, 17th July 2011

I think Google Blogger is trying to force everyone to use Picasa Web Albums, because now this is the only way to get photos on the blog. Which is ok unless you're wi-fi provider / dongle people are already telling you you're exceeding your 'fair usage'...

Anyway, even if the phone went kaput, the camera kept working, so here are a few piccies...


















Near Borth






Aberdyfi






Dramatic Barmouth Bay


















Barmouth railway and footbridge






Harlech


















Afon Dysynni from near Tonfanau

Thanks to Captain Greybeard

I’m very grateful to my big brother for updating the blog for me. Clearly all those years in Fleet Street have taught him a thing or two about hacking into other people’s emails! (Only kidding, I gave him the passwords).


I do have to correct him on one point. Despite his advancing years he may well remember his holiday at Butlin’s, Pwllheli, and there may even be a daguerrotype image of his happy stay there.  But if you wanted to see a photo of me it would have to be an ultrasound scan, and I don’t think they were using them all those years ago!

I have wi-fi tonight here at Caernarfon so I'll try to get up-to-date. But for some reason Blogger won't let me upload photos from my laptop - it's only just started doing this - has anyone else come across the problem? Let me know if you can help me fix it!

Day 66 – Borth to Abersoch


86 miles:  total 4,214 miles


Bill's phone is on the blink after getting saturated yesterday, and he had no wi-fi at last night's camp site in Abersoch. While he gets himself dried out and sorted out, here's an update courtesy of Big Brother.

The schedule for today was a steady 57 miles from Borth to Penrhyndeudraeth, and I have to wonder whether he chose that stop because a quarry near the town has been turned into a nature reserve because it is populated in summer by nightjars.

Whether that was the case or not, Bill took the decision early in the morning to give himself an advantage for the final three days of his ride by putting in an extra 25 miles in the saddle and to ride on to Abersoch instead.

He was probably thinking that Gwynedd, being full of people who speak Welsh and go to chapel on Sundays, would be dry. How wrong can you be?

No sooner had alternative accommodation been found and booked, and Bill was on his way, than the rain started to come down with a vengeance. You thought those early days in Scotland were wet? Well they had nothing on this Welsh Sunday, which he tells me was by far the wettest day he has endured so far.

Following him on the tracker yesterday afternoon I watched as he powered past the Prisoner village of Portmeirion, and pedalled on beyond Butlin's (or is it now Haven?) holiday camp at Pwllheli. He was possibly too embarrassed to stop there because I'm sure there are some photographs at home of a very young (and possibly almost angelic) little blond child enjoying a holiday there man, many years ago.

The tracker also showed that once he passed Llanbedrog he was riding round in circles for a short while before meeting up with the van, which was parked in a remote field a couple of miles short of Abersoch.

The earlier change of plan meant the new location was not programmed into his trusty sat-nav, and he had to be talked down by Alan and Val who were already parked up. Which is how disaster struck. During all these weeks of playing RainMan he has consistently managed to keep the phone dry. Now, lost in a far corner of Wales, he let water into the works and his keyboard resigned in protest. To cap it all, the field was not equipped with wi-fi - so he was unable to post a blog overnight, and only just managed to get a message to me before he set off again this morning.

He'll have to decide in the next hour or so whether to consolidate the advantage he gained from riding those extra miles yesterday by continuing to Conwy today, or whether he'll need to return to his original schedule and spend the night in Caernarfon while sorting out his technical problems.

One of us (or possibly both) will keep you posted.  

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Day 65 – Aberaeron to Borth

22 miles:  total 4,128 miles

A rest day – but what a tough 22 miles (especially after yesterday).

You would have thought that with only four days left to go, I’d be feeling pretty damn confident, if not a little bit smug. Nothing could be further from the truth: if I were the kind of person who bites his nails they’d be down to the quick by now.  Of course, the weather doesn’t help – the forecast is for more rain, and (worse still) wind, as if the elements had decided I should finish as I started.  And I’ve got quite high mileages for the last four days too, including 93 on Tuesday from Caernarfon to the Wirral.  But there’s only one thing I can do – keep pedalling, however long each day takes to complete.  But I could do with my legs feeling a bit stronger – perhaps after this afternoon’s rest they’ll be in good shape tomorrow.



















After a little lie-in this morning I left Aberaeron around 9 o’clock and stayed with the busy main road towards Aberystwyth for several miles. In places it’s quite narrow but the traffic was pretty good and gave me a wide berth.  The ups and downs are gentle but long, or at least they were until I turned on to more minor roads, where a big lorry coming the other way had me climbing up the bank to make room for us both!

Once again I came across a ROAD CLOSED sign.  You get used to these – if they are to do with the army, you respect them, but a quick look at the map showed a river in about half a mile, and an educated guess was that the bridge would be under repair, so I carried on. My prediction was correct and there was enough room to squeeze a bike over, so no detour was necessary.

The weather was being quite kind, though a heavy shower was falling on Aberystwyth.  Although it’s only five or six miles from here to Borth, there isn’t a single metre that’s flat – it’s yet another roller-coaster, and it seemed to take forever, ending in a long 25% descent down to the seaside town where Morrissey says ‘Every day is like Sunday’ (although whether he was more inspired by Nevil Shute’s ‘On The Beach’ is a moot point).
































Enough of this culture. An afternoon off, and a change of crew – Frank and Bernadette Brown left for Clitheroe after looking after me in fine style for a week (they need to get home so they can pack for their next holiday in a week’s time)! ‘She who must be obeyed’ Val, plus daughter Catherine and brother-in-law Alan, have returned for the final four days, and as I write, Val is re-organising the motorhome to her own personal requirements.

Tomorrow I’m hoping that there really is a footbridge alongside the railway bridge at Barmouth, otherwise I’m in for a long detour!  And let’s hope the wind isn’t of tree-toppling proportions!

If I’ve time I’m going to post another blog with a bit of a re-cap for all the new readers who weren’t here at the outset. I’ll see how it goes.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Day 64 – St David’s to Aberaeron

75 miles – total 4,106 miles

A hard day – an average mileage, but the total ascent of 2,227 metres (7,306’) is equivalent to climbing Snowdon more than twice.  Hence your scribe is feeling a little jaded tonight!

I think I may have mentioned that last night at St David’s, by a complete coincidence, we were parked next to a couple from Clitheroe, and we had a visit from Peter Worden, a Clitheronian who now lives in St David’s. I’d gone to bed, when Frank and Bern returned from their ablutions with two visitors – they’d bumped into friends (from Clitheroe) John and Lynn Beggs, who had arrived the same day for a short break. What would be the odds on that?

I think it’s safe to say I was away before John and Lynn woke up. Having seen the weather forecast I thought it best to get an early start, as I knew that today would be a long hard slog.  In my hurry I left the tracker in the motorhome, so if you thought I was making good progress, ‘twas not so!


















The lighthouse at Strumble Head

Having said that, the first few miles were easy and flat, but then around Strumble Head the hills started to make their presence felt.  Now in 1966, I stayed at the Pwll Deri Youth Hostel for a week on an organised summer holiday. Avid readers will be able to work out that I was but a young slip of a lad at this time: I travelled there on the day of the World Cup Final which will be forever etched in every Englishman’s memory – father was kind enough to drive me to Crewe, and then I changed at Shrewsbury, Cardiff, and Fishguard.  Two things stand out in my memory – leaning over the edge of a cliff, being buoyed up by the gale force wind (good job the wind didn’t drop for a few seconds!) and (the shame of it) on the last day, locking all the youth hostel toilet doors from the inside and climbing out over the top – I always did (do) get up to mischief!!


















Fishguard Harbour

After a long descent to Goodwick, Fishguard has an attractive port area – it was the scene of the last invasion of Britain, when some of Napoleon’s troops staged a half-hearted attack which got nowhere.

The van was waiting at the top of the hill and it was starting to rain, so I recovered the tracker and donned waterproofs for the next leg through Newport and the delightful Moylgrove (it really is like a grove!).  The hills just went on and on but eventually I got to St Dogmaels near Cardigan (Aberteifi) for another break.







Actually the rain wasn’t too bad – the trouble was, if I took off my waterproofs it rained, and when I put them on the sun came out. Better too warm than wet and cold, so the clothes stayed on.

Another hilly section followed, this time to Aberporth, and along here I heard a Quail calling from a barley field. Quail are small game birds, like a starling-sized partridge – hardly worth eating I would have thought – but  they fly all the way from Africa in Spring and are very secretive. But if you hear a bubbly call that sounds a bit like ‘Kiss-Me-Quick’ then you know you’ve found a Quail, even though you’ve hardly any hope of seeing it.

















 Quail


















Aberporth

The fearsome roller-coaster that is the West Wales Coast continued – nearly all the time was spent toiling uphill of course – and I was glad I’d factored in a third re-fuelling stop near the lovely seaside village of Llangrannog.  I can’t believe how much I’m eating, and I’m not putting any weight on – I wonder where it’s all going?!































Llangrannog


















There's got to be a sheep photo somewhere...

New Quay was just about by-passed, on the way to Aberaeron, whose houses are painted lots of different colours – it’s not Tobermory, but it’s OK.

So. Tomorrow is the last change-over day:  Frank and Bern are going home to be replaced by my long suffering darling wife Val, plus brother-in-law Alan and, for this time only, my daughter Catherine, who has decided she ought to get in on the action (she’s most welcome!)

Frank and Bern have been great company, and because of the way they both go to the caravan site loos at the same time (even in the middle of the night), they win the prize for the most romantic couple of the trip.  Mind you, it was a near thing, with Simon and Tony coming very close (only kidding guys!! :-)))

So, one of the hardest days done, in the bag.  Tomorrow is a rest day (22 miles and the changeover), then the mileages are 62, 78, 93 and 77.  But none of the days that are left have anything like as much climbing, so I’m hopeful that I’ll get back home in one piece next Wednesday…

Please don't forget you can donate to Cancer Research UK by going to www.justgiving.com/Bill-Honeywell or you can donate £5 (or multiples of) by texting 'CRBC99 £5' to 70070 - please help cancer research by giving generously. Thank you!

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Day 63 (I can’t believe it!) Freshwater East to St David’s

70 miles; total 4,031 miles

Wow!! That’s the 4,000 mile barrier broken, and now just over 400 to go – less than 10% of the total. But rearrange these words into a well known saying:  chickens don’t your before hatched count they’re…

Wall to wall sunshine today but what a chilly night! – Bernadette was trying to wipe the condensation off the windows first thing until she realised it was on the outside!































The first section today was a straightforward run west to the village of Angle and back to Pembroke. Or it would have been straightforward but for the fact that for the second time on my ride, the army decided to do some live firing on their ranges – this time with tanks, so I wasn’t going to argue. I just followed the diversion to Castlemartin.

En route I met two cyclists – a man and a woman – and he told me he was in training to cycle around the coast of Wales in 2013 (sounds a long time off) to raise money for muscular dystrophy. His plan is to cycle off-road and I think he was reccying the Pembrokeshire Coast Path.


















Angle is an interesting village with one or two buildings which add an almost Mediterranean air.


















Pembroke Castle is spectacular, but just as interesting was the race going on between a teenager and (presumably) his gran – both were riding identical mobility scooters on the pavement and you had to see it to believe it!












































Milford Haven is of course a major terminal for oil tankers, and there are oil refineries too. I didn’t find too much of interest in the town but moored in the old harbour were three boats which were quite photogenic.





















Dale Fort


















The Griffin, Dale Village

At Dale Point is the Dale Fort Field Study Centre – a converted fort, built to defend Great Britain against Napoleon, now used for educational purposes. I went there in 1969 whilst in the sixth form, and to my shame the thing I remember most was an illicit visit to The Griffin pub in the village whilst under-age. Today I met two 17-year old students and was having a chat with them. I mentioned that when I was there, the 50p coin had just come out (pre-decimalisation still) and I bought four pints of beer with one and still had change. They were absolutely gobsmacked! (Not at how such an old geezer could be riding a bike, but how much the price of beer had gone up!)

I also passed the sign to Martins Haven, where the boat leaves for Skokholm Island, where I have spent an idyllic, relaxing week on three occasions in the past. Not everyone’s cup of tea though, with no electricity or running water!

The road along the coast from Dale to St David’s is an absolute roller coaster of steep ups and downs, with 90% of the time toiling up!  I had no idea there are so many little havens and beaches here, all quite popular, but all involving a steep descent followed by an equally steep ascent.  There is also a futuristic environmentally-sensitive green house along the coast here. Or it could be the Teletubbies' house...


















Teletubbies' House

After the Elephant Hawk Moth the other day, today’s natural history feature is… the Scarlet Pimpernel. You’ve all heard of it, but if you want to know what it looks like, here it is.  They’re common in the roadside verges around here.


















Also quite common are tractor eggs. At least, that's what I think they are:


















St David’s is the smallest city in Britain – it has a pleasant town centre and an impressive cathedral.  From there it’s a short hop to the Caravan Club site where we’re staying tonight.































Despite the fact that (in my opinion) Great Britain is a very big island, they do say it’s a small world. And this was proved tonight by the fact that we are parked next to another couple from Clitheroe, and then, whilst having our evening meal, along came a gentleman called Peter Worden, also originally from Clitheroe (not only that, but related to Frank who is driving this week!)  Peter now lives in St David’s and brought a very generous donation from all the workers at St David’s Assemblies Ltd.

Tomorrow is scheduled to be a longer day with even more ups and downs, so I think an early night is on the cards again.  The weather forecast isn’t too good, so fingers crossed!