Well refreshed and with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon rolling comfortably around my stomach, I set off from Oakhampton on Day 2 of the Devon Coast to Coast. My destination - Plymouth. Forty odd miles due south.
The first 10 miles or so follow the Granite Way, another disused railway line. With some gut wrenching vertigo inducing viaducts to cross, and with glimpses of the Dartmoor hills in the distance, what a gorgeous introduction to my second day.
At Lydford traditional country lanes are joined, with a little more up and down as the moors are skirted. Passing through the beautiful married villages of Mary and Peter Tavy the route continues onward into Tavistock.
After a rather civilised cappuccino stop I looked out for signs to the Drakes Way. My (over?) confidence of following the route successfully up to this point, led to a mile or so detour. But having safely negotiated the maze of industrial and housing estates, I was back on yet another traffic free old railway line.
The Drakes Trail goes through tunnels, more viaducts and wooded cuttings, all within sight of the moors. A steady climb raises to Yelvecote followed by a steady 10 mile descent into Plymouth.
This last stretch tested by powers of politeness more than most. My cheery greetings were generally met with silence and/or indifference. Path etiquette was ignored by increasing hordes of unruly families. Still no abuse but my obsequiousness was running very thin indeed. As I reached the outskirts of Plymouth more and more day trippers blocked my way and more and more of the arse end of Plymouth was revealed.
As an end it was mildly disappointing and would lead me to do the trip the other way round if ever I was to repeat it. Finally though I reached the docks and journeys end.
There is always a tinge of sadness when an adventure ends and this is felt more keenly when you have the mother of all trips to get back to the car in Barnstaple.
Step 1 - an hour and a bit on the train from Plymouth to Exeter (please don't forget to book your bike onto this train - extremely limited bike spaces)
Step 2 - Half an hour wait at Exeter waiting for connecting train
Step 3 - an hour on the train from Exeter to Barnstaple (can't book bikes on this specifically. Good luck!)
Step 4 - back to the B&B in Okehampton to pick up my bag
Plenty of time to reminisce on a weekend adventure. A proper challenge for my burgeoning cycling fitness. Some of the best countryside travelled at a pace entirely of my own reckoning. A trip never to forget.