Tuesday, 30 August 2011

St. Agnes- Newquay- Padstow- Rock- Port Isaac- Bude

It was an early start this morning, but the view from 'Ocean Cottage Crew Support Facility' was well worth it. We can't thank Nick and the others at St. Agnes RNLI enough. 
Five miles down the road we paused for a spot of breakfast in a small village. A somewhat unusual combination of a danish pastry and a Cornish Pasty.
We were heading towards the first RNLI station of the day in Newquay.... We enjoyed a great descent from the town down into the small fishing harbour tucked behind the sea wall. 

Newquay RNLI station

Newquay harbour

A couple of photos and short water stop and we were soon slogging up yet more hills (albeit thankfully not as bad as those in South Devon...)

En route to Padstow, the next station, we got a little lost in the maze of Cornwall lanes, but soon found a helpful local lad who put us back on track and we found the station at the end of the Trevose peninsula. 

The small car park and lift block which were positioned on top of the cliffs provided a stunning view down a steep flight of steps to the station below and across the bay. This was certainly one of our favourite stations, both in terms of the building (a recently built station with domed roof and ramp from the station to the water for the boat- see video below) and the setting (incredible panoramic view across the bay and rugged cliffs on either side). 

After a very welcome cup of coffee with one of the crew (and once Rad had eaten most of the station's biscuit collection...) we headed on...

Padstow RNLI station

Padstow RNLI station

Our route to the next Station (Rock) took us through Padstow town- absolutely heaving with people and frankly rather unpleasant. Reminiscent of a rugby scrum- both in terms of the pushing and shoving and the fact everyone was in blue and white striped tops.

We took the passenger ferry across to Rock but as it was low tide were dropped about half a mile down the beach from the slipway. We made the executive decision to try and cycle back up the beach to the slipway, and the firm sand seemed to hold under our fully laden bikes. Unfortunately, by the time we arrived at the RNLI station our bikes were caked in sand and making worrying noises. Thankfully, we were allowed to make good use of their truly phenomenal power hose and our bikes soon looked like new again! 

A quick photo, and we headed on up the hill to (yet another) local bakery for a pasty and shortbread before heading on to our next stop, just down the road (7 miles) - Port Isaac. 

Port Isaac RNLI station

The beautiful fishing village with steep narrow cobbled streets and active fishing industry was quite different from any of the villages we have visited to date. Surrounded by rugged cliffs and hills, and beautiful pastel painted houses that evoked real Cornish charm.

For much of the ride from Port Isaac to Bude, we took the A39- although not particularly scenic, it was the fastest route (averaging about 36km/hr) and got us to our 'couchsurfer' hosts in good time. 

We also managed to drop in on the Bude RNLI station en route to our hosts home, for a couple of pictures and look around.

Graham and Jane Eccles cooked us delicious roast pork and kindly put us up in their sitting room for the night. It still amazes me how people are willing to open their homes to complete strangers for no financial benefit. It really rekindles ones faith in humanity.

After a 110km ride today, including 950m of climb, bed couldn't come soon enough...

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