Monday, 29 August 2011

Porthlevan- Penlee- Sennen Cove- St. Ives- St. Agnes

Woke after a great night's sleep in the attic room of Blades and Heather's holiday cottage in Porthlevan (a huge thank you again to you both for letting us gate crash your romantic week's holiday down there...!). The sun was shining and we were soon back on the road.

We were pleasantly surprised to find only a few hill climbs on the way out of Porthlevan, enabling us to made good progress and were soon circumnavigating Penzance and shortly afterwards arriving at our first stop, Penlee.

Our arrival in Penlee coincided with the 'Penlee Fish Festival' and the place was heaving. Initially we dropped in at the RNLI boat house, (where Rad had an interesting meeting with a very strange man), but soon realised that the main RNLI station was inside the cordoned off festival area. After blagging ourselves free entry and battling our way through the crowds with our fully laden bikes, we arrived at the station, and met the crew and the Coxswain. We were given a very welcome cup of tea, and were kindly offered a free BBQ if we waited for 15 minutes, but decided to get back on road, and were soon eating our way through the miles again. Next stop... Sennen Cove, down by Land's End.

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Sennen Cove

A steep decent with stunning views over the vast sandy beach, RNLI station and on across the peninsula made for a spectacular arrival. A quick photo, refill of the water bottles (although Rad, who was struggling a bit with the hills, decided he couldn't cope with the extra weight so left his empty...) and we were away again, albeit somewhat slower than our arrival, having to climb back up the precipice-like hill which had taken down us into the bay initially!

The ride from Sennen to St Ives was truly stunning. The sun was shining, and the coastal road, although fairly hilly, provided some incredible clifftop views over the sea, and dropped down through several beautiful villages in the valley bottoms, including St. Just, a stunning village, where we stopped for a freshly made pasty and some caramel shortbread in the sun.

St. Ives RNLI Station

On arrival at St. Ives, we took a few photos of the station, and noticing the number of tourists passing by, decided to do a collection for a short while. An hour later we each had about 5 kg's of money in our collection boxes and, determined not to take this extra weight over the hills on our bikes, set out to find somewhere to change the coins for notes. A very helpful manager at the local amusement arcade offered to help out and we set about counting out the £250 of coins which we had collected, and changed them for notes.
Feeling pretty pleased with our progress on both the cycling front (having covered about 80 km already) and fundraising front, we took an hour to have a look around the Tate St. Ives art gallery. Some truly stunning (as well as some rather dubious art work...) housed in an amazing modern gallery over looking the beach- it was a great break and a very memorable experience.

Patrick Heron at Tate St. Ives

From there it was back on the road to our last stop of the day- St. Agnes. We were already running late (and with some fairly monumental hill climbs at the end this only delayed us further), but one of the crew (Nick) kindly came down when we arrived to let us into the RNLI support house where we were staying for the night. Perched just above a small cove with the most incredible views out to see and along the rugged cliff line, it really was an incredible place to stay for the night.

The view on our way from St.Ives to St. Agnes

Having unpacked, we headed back up the hill by about 50m to the local pub where we settled in for the evening with a couple of pints of local ale and delicious dinner to re-charge the batteries.

St. Agnes Lifeboat Station

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