So the latest expedition started at 9.33am with the York to London, Kings Cross train. Thanks to Anna who brought me to the station. (“Ah,” you say “a small price for two Tony-free weeks!” No she gets only one week before we meet up in Greater Manchester.)
The first task was to meet Peter at Kings Cross after his own train journey from north of the border. This was after reconciling myself to being dressed as a biohazard for all the day. Bloody masks!
After waiting for so long for this tour to start I spent the preceding day scrabbling around trying to find those last pieces of kit and fretting over what to leave and what to take. The first error came to light as I left Kings Cross, with Peter. It was not only raining but cold! I had thought about bringing some leggings but didn’t. Oh well, man up; so splashing through puddles and negotiating taxis and buses we got to Paddington. The only real challenge with the journey, apart from patience was booking space on the train for the bikes. Then finding the correct carriage and ‘hanging up’ the bike in a small cupboard. After that then walking like a crab down the narrow aisles with luggage to the fairly empty carriage and plonking ourselves in a seat. The second leg of the train journey was five hours from London to Penzance. At least it was dry.
The journey was event free and restful. Around us were folk on laptops typing away and often looking at two phones: one their work phone and the other their personal phone. On the personal phone WhatsApp conversations taking place with furious blurring digits imparting vital information (not). The lady opposite (Katrina, to you, a woman) got unlucky with her seat placement as two idiots asked her about job, where she lived, where she’d been and then inflicted a quiz on her. This emanated from Peter (being very bored) and randomly opining on the fatal consequences of eating cherry stones. This led to guess the ‘10 most toxic foods’ Followed by ‘name the 93 famous people from Exeter’ as we passed through. She got off shortly after the quiz began. We were never sure if this was an escape plan or her actual destination.
Penzance eventually came into view at 7:25pm and a quick spin around the town we found some fish and chips. From here a foretaste of things to come unfolded as we cycled the 8 miles to the Youth Hostel. ‘Granny’ gears were actively used and various layers stripped off as we rose and fell to the accommodation. Good grief over 60 miles of this tomorrow and 1,000 metres climbing.
The hostel was super albeit the COVID protocols meant long boring instructions at Reception. Obviously not their fault but it is rather wearying. After a shower and a call to Anna it was 10pm and time to get some sleep before tomorrow actually getting to Lands End.