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

In 2016 I climbed every single 'Birkett' in the Lake District - all 542 fells over 1,000' within the National Park, including all 214 Wainwrights. I've also done a three-week cycle tour of Tasmania in February 2015 and 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 (my first) 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), cycled 750 miles in the Yellowstone National Park and Grand Teton (2014), done a bit of sky-diving and cycled Australia's Great Ocean Road - just before lockdown in 2020.

Altogether I've raised over £120,000 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 5 September 2021 - 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.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Day 55 – Tintagel to Barnstaple

73 miles; total 3,575 miles

The north coast of Cornwall and Devon is pretty rugged, with many streams cutting through the high ground so that any journey which follows the coast must go up and down steeply – time after time after time. And that was what I had to do today.

I set off from Tintagel with Richard Dugdale and we were soon at Boscastle, scene of catastrophic flooding seven years ago – and you can see why, as the rivers that drain a wide expanse of hinterland converge in a narrow channel through the centre of the village.

Normally when you’re cycling a route with ups and downs you can make a bit of time up on the downhills, but not here – especially after the overnight rain, as the hills are so steep, damp and greasy, descents have to be made with the utmost care.

Crackington Haven is absolutely spectacular, and although it may be difficult to see in the photograph, the deeply folded rock strata are quite striking. The ascent from sea level up Millook Hill is a long, steep hill rated at 30% - an absolute killer!

Further on, Widemouth Bay is also impressive, and today the strong westerly wind was bringing in some big breakers, making it a surfers’ paradise.

Coming into Bude I was caught by a sudden crosswind as I was doing about 25 mph, and pushed on to a wet manhole cover. Although it all happened very quickly, it was a pretty frightening skid with (fortunately) a quick correction – and I managed to stay on the bike, but it was a ‘near-do’.

I knew that much of the Devon / Cornwall border follows the River Tamar, but I hadn’t realised for just how far! The Tamar rises only a few miles from the north coast and appears to flow the ‘wrong way’ to the sea. I crossed into Devon on the A39 here, then headed back towards the coast through Welcombe, Stoke and eventually Hartland Point.

Hartland Point

Around this time a shower came across, and I thought it would soon be over – in fact, it lasted for three hours and necessitated me changing into full waterproofs for the afternoon. I had done 45 miles and nearly all the climbing – over 1,850 metres (6,000 feet) had already been done. The final 30 miles were done in dire conditions, but thankfully the roads were somewhat flatter than they had been earlier.

Barnstaple from the Tow Bridge

Westward Ho! passed without much ado as it was still pouring down, whilstt Barnstaple impressed only by having some of the worst drivers of the whole trip, I’m sorry to say – I seemed to be getting constantly ignored / carved up and had to be on my guard the whole time. Not impressed.

The rain had stopped and just as my waterproofs were drying out, another heavy shower came along to leave me wet as I ended the day just outside Barnstaple. Tomorrow is a big big climbing day, with Countisbury, Porlock and many other big hills. I need an early night – I’ll try to post pictures with this blog but if the signal is weak I hope you’ll be prepared to wait until tomorrow!

1 comment:

  1. Keep pedalling Bill, you are doing great! Liz