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.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Cycle Tour of Tasmania – February 2015

Day 16 - Rest Day in Launceston

Looking downstream near the mouth of Cataract Gorge
Friday 20 February was to be a non-cycling day, and why not? There's plenty to see and do in Tasmania's second city, including an amazing river gorge which has a real wilderness feel about it despite being so near the bustling centre.  So, as the sky was blue and the day promised warmth and comfort, four of us (me, RIchard, Tony and Deborah) made our way by walking about 100 metres from the hotel to the path at the entrance of Cataract Gorge. A steep climb soon warmed us up as we reached the 'First Basin' where there were cafes and a chairlift which is almost horizontal and is in fact the longest single-span chairlift in the entire world.

On the way up to First Basin

First Basin is there behind the suspension bridge

On the way up to Sentinel Point Richard tries to dislodge this chock-stone

A little further on, not yet crossing the pretty suspension bridge, the path climbed again above the gorge to Sentinel Point. Looking down on the river, it was a bit reminiscent of the River Tees in the Low Force area, and indeed the underlying rock of both Cataract Gorge and the River Tees is hard, igneous dolerite. Skinks, brightly-coloured beetles and Sulphur-crested Cockatoos drew our attention before we reached the viewing platform and then headed back, crossing the suspension bridge to our first cafe stop.

Cataract Gorge

If this beetle has a name, I don't know it!

One of many skinks

Sentinel Point
Here were Peacocks, Peahens, and baby peacocks (Chickpeas?), and also a group of local Rotarians who were hosting a group of fellow Rotarians from Sweden, so we had a chat with them and discussed our respective clubs before having the compulsory coffee and vanilla slice. We were sitting under a Ginkgo biloba tree, which - if you didn't already know - is like a living fossil, a tree with no close living relatives anywhere in the world. The Ginkgo belongs to an Order all on its own - the Ginkgoales - most of which appeared in the Cretaceous period and became extinct long before the Palaeocene. There were also Sequoias and other specimen trees here.


Ginkgo leaf (Google images)

Ginkgo tree (Google images)

Sequoia
After getting back to the road and checking out the start of tomorrow's route, we wandered through the waterside area, had lunch at a cheap restaurant and then went back to the city centre. The Launceston Design Centre was a bit disappointing, being more of a showcase for furniture on sale, although there were a few rather clever ideas there.

They even have river cruises here!

As you can imagine these two machines caught Richard's eye

One of Launceston's colonial-style buildings
However, we decided to move on to the motor museum for a bit of (a) nostalgia and (b) a sauna. The museum is housed in a basic industrial unit: the reception area/shop is air-conditioned but the main exhibition hall isn't, and today the sun had been high in the sky for some time, so it was a sweat box. And the motorcycle mezzanine was even hotter! So after a wallow amongst the motor cars of yesteryear, we headed through the park into the town centre for a large ice-cream.

A Spotted Dove in the park
I also bought some factor 50 sun cream. The lady who served me said she currently had visitors from Hull who had brought some factor 15 with them. She was surprised because it isn't possible to buy factor 15 in Tasmania on the basis that it's effectively useless!

Once more we found restaurants pretty well booked up in the evening, although after splitting up we did all manage to get a table. We went to 'Sails' and Richard had the duck. When he went to pay on the way out, the girl couldn't understand his accent and only managed to grasp what he'd eaten when he said 'DACK'!

Back to the room, pack ready for a longish day tomorrow and a 7.30 start. A hot day today.

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