Day 1 – LEJOG 2021 – St Just – Lands End – Par

65.5 miles and 1,567 metres of climbing

After the cold and rain of yesterday the first question after waking was how was the weather? It was brilliant sunshine, a little wind and maybe a tad cool: we’d take it. After a bacon sandwich and some porridge we were away from the YHA. Soon we were cycling past Lands End Airport and shortly afterwards came to a deserted Lands End. A worker there said they expected 1,000 cars during the day, however, at 9am, there was just enough folk to get our photo taken.

Home for the night

The speed of cars and traffic was heavy all day, especially in built up areas. It appears Cornwall is the resting place for ancient Subarus and small white Peugeot vans. In fact there were lots of old cars being badly driven.

Back through Penzance we got our first abuse of the day. A plonker in a small white van wound down his window and chuntered about our riding two abreast. We absorbed the blow and let him drive on. Further on he’d parked up and continued his ‘guide to bicycle riding’ from the kerb. It obviously never occurred to him that tourists provide the money that puts the meals on the table for his family.

Soon we were at Marazion and two pasties were bought. Mine was the ‘standard’ size, Peter went ‘large’ and required two sittings to consume it. We followed the LEJOG Guide’s route and it attempted to keep us off the main roads but always moving in the right direction. In reality most of the roads had traffic including double decker buses on country lanes. On several occasions we pulled over to let buses and trucks get past on the narrow, high sided lanes. Not all the local drivers appreciated these kindnesses. After stopping for a truck it rolled by as did the convoy of traffic that had accumulated behind it. One retard in a Range Rover gave me a V sign. I’m convinced the economic woes of Cornwall has led to a weakening of the gene pool with anyone over the age of 21 years old with an average IQ departing to more prosperous parts of the UK. The remainder stay and attend courses on how to abuse tourists.

Mount St Michael

On the other side of the tall hedges were arable fields and rolling countryside. The foxgloves with their mauve flowers were resplendent in the hedges and unique to Cornwall. The sunshine was out and we rolled up and down quite comfortably. Rounding one corner we nearly saw a disastrous scene. A girl was leading two horses and our arrival made them take flight. They started to run with her holding the reins. Sandwiched between the two horses she seemed destined to fall over and judiciously let go. The beasts continued galloping for another 20 metres with their iron hooves losing grip on the tarmac until they stopped. She caught up grabbed their reins and led them into a field shouting back “sorry” to us. We’d pulled up watching the incident and hardly needed an apology. However it seemed an everyday occurrence for her and she seemed unfazed.

Want one!

There was an amazing showroom of old Jaguars on the ride. Behind the glass were at least three E Types. Quirky stuff like this was rare in fairness. After the coast the route took us inland and one delight was crossing the River Fal by ferry. It cost £1 each! I remember taking a motor boat on hire from Falmouth up the river 45 years ago and judging by the P&O ferry in the background the river still ‘stores’ large ships.

King Harry Ferry
Ferry moored in the background

The run in to Par near St Austell offered up hills all the way to the guest house. In the end the climbing was enormous and one of my biggest days ever on a bike at 1,563 metres. We fell into the B&B where Peter then asked the landlady if she was Polish? “Russian” was the curt reply! She may have her revenge with the cooked breakfast….

We did our laundry and then departed to the pub for lasagne and chips and a beer or two. In line with our COVID world: provisions we’re not obtained by human contact but by downloading an App and spending 15 minutes correcting missteps (with lots of bad language). The first two drinks to turn up were shandies. As Peter charitably commented “you only had one job…”

Tomorrow is tougher than today. Pray for us.

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