The ups and Downs of Wiltshire and Somerset, oh and Norman Wisdom!

Day 10 – 16th August

Faringdon – Swindon – Devises – Trowbridge – Frome – Glastonbury – Street – Bridgewater

103.1 miles

Personally I had always identified today as a difficult one. Long distance, 103 miles,   lumpy terrain and the day after the emotional evening before. I was never going to even contemplate start counting my chickens (where does that phrase come from?) until I had today bagged.

For those of you reading this thinking you have missed the entry for day 9 you haven’t. Yesterday was such a special day that it deserves special mention and there will be a longer than usual entry (probably on Wednesday) to do it proper justice. Suffice to say yesterday was a wonderful success when we were joined by 20 riders to complete the 77 mile leg from Sutton Coldfield to Abingdon in what was the best weather of the trip so far. The cycling was relatively easy but the day was emotionally draining. More on this later.

Today we were joined by Owen a firefighting friend of Bobs. Owen would have joined us yesterday but was returning from holiday. It turned out for the best however because his company today was invaluable.

The countryside of the last three days had been the least interesting of the entire trip but today was another treat. The counties of Wiltshire and Somerset roll like beautiful melodies with a rhythm and a beat that induces calm and whilst the terrain is hard work it is never tedious. Over the Wiltshire Downs was one of the highlights and we made good pace over this section with Owen manfully leading the way, then as journey’s end beckoned the distant view of Glastonbury Tor drew us like a magnet pulling us over the finish line. Another wonderful days cycling in perfect cycling weather, warm, slightly overcast and only occasional wind. It was a far better day than I could have hoped for when waking this morning feeling weary and stiff despite having had the best and longest nights sleep of the trip.

We didn’t manage the support today as well as we could, again ‘losing’ Trev at a point when we were hungry, in need of a break and getting low on water. We considered a coffee shop break in Glastonbury but it was getting late so Owen came to the rescue. He had an old (in the sense that he had known her a long time 😃) friend who lived in Street. So he phoned Helen and 20 minutes later we were sat on her patio have a much needed rest and a hot drink. Perfect. It transpired that she was in bed when we rang not feeling 100% so apologies Helen for disturbing your rest but thank you for coming to our rescue.

We finally made camp (little more than a farmers field with the most basic facilities) at 8:00, our latest arrival.

We do have a TV for entertainment in the evening and only once has the reception been poor. We also spend a lot of our downtime posting messages, sending emails and chasing sponsors. On a practice run earlier in the year when Bob and I hit the road for a couple of days with Trev and camper van in support we somehow managed to discover that all three of us were closet Norman Wisdom fans. So Trev brought his box set on the trip and so far we have watched The Square Peg, A Stitch in Time and the Bulldog Breed. All three are classics although I am not sure Owen agreed. You’re too young mate to appreciate our Norman.

Tomorrow we head for Bude and the sea – our first sighting since day 1 – and we are being joined by our wives this evening for the final leg to Lands End.

The weather looks set fair.

Miles to go 170


About Oval Balls

Middle aged and sport loving who loves his wife, children, granddaughters, and family. Other joys include the theatre, travel, reading, writing, walking, good food, great wine, fun friends and life generally. I never thought that I would embrace the "social network" to the extent of reading other peoples blogs, let alone writing one myself. Twitter too. But as you can see, or read, I have been converted.
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8 Responses to The ups and Downs of Wiltshire and Somerset, oh and Norman Wisdom!

  1. Sharon Barber says:

    Enjoying your blog, thought I could share that Norman Wisdom was a relative of my ex husband, small world !!keep up the great work s

  2. Guy says:

    Now you can start to think about how good it will be to finish – very wise of you not to have allowed yourself even a little think about it up to this point. From our conversation on Saturday the fun was something of an unlooked for bonus though the early weather clearly was not. Keep on keeping on – you know you can do it.

  3. Anton says:

    Am reading Day 10 post in the usual cafe in Castillon after a cycle ride bearing no resemblance whatever to yours.
    Meandering along valley road for an hour certainly not worthy of sponsorship but I mention it because it will be familiar to Chris. I took about 10 mins longer without Chris to pull me along. Definite signs of strain in French economy here. Gilbert says the country is going a la mure He didn’t reckon much of the French defence shipping 3 tries against la Rose although I was alarmed by the English pack myself. Experiment perhaps. Well must go. Have a good one. On,on. Anton.

  4. fred says:

    wow you have made progress and in double quick time it would seem. I’m not sure just how long it is to take you but what a magnificent journey you have had along with those who have supported you from the start. Looking forward Chris to hearing about Bob in the eighties hope you haven’t forgotten as I have been waiting for this one. Best of luck for todays effort.

  5. Dave says:

    Good to hear you are enjoying yourselves more, now with the end in sight.Can you now confirm it is tough Oup North !!!.
    Well done all.

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