Friday, 22 July 2016

LEG 7 - DAY 5: Gorleston - Harwich

With only three days left of our trip, we woke this morning and for the first time in seven years had a very leisurely start! Bliss... We were not due to meet the Peloton who were coming to join us for the ride back to London until 9am, so we made the most of the fantastic breakfast at the Cliff Hotel (many thanks again to Panos for putting us up there).

With Will Holland and the peloton cycling from Norwich (about 25 miles away), we met up shortly after 9am at Gorleston RNLI, for a quick photo before getting on the road together. Now 8 cyclists in tops with another joining us tomorrow and two more on Sunday.... In addition we had the Craig and Archie (RNLI Crew from the Thames) in a support van, and Frank adding additional support. Quite a team! 

Our ride today took us south along the Norfolk and Suffolk coast lines, through some stunning countryside and beautiful villages. 

If there is such a thing as a perfect cycling conditions, this could have been it: Blue skies, sun, 10mph tail wind, 24 degrees, and gently undulating countryside trough beautiful farmland. 

Lowestoft was our first station of the day- a bustling harbour and small port where we took a quick photo and topped up the water  before forging on. It took some getting used to riding as per of a larger peloton having only had the two of us for the past 6 expeditions...

Southwold was only a little way down the coast. A stunning market town, where we were later to have lunch, and the RNLI station at the river mouth- a beautiful stop. 

A small passenger ferry (rowing boat), with the politest ferry man we have come across to date, took us across the river- 4 at a time-and kindly gave us free passage. We were soon under way again, churning across the Suffolk countryside.

Aldeburgh was our penultimate station of the day. The very welcoming crew gave us a tour of the station and boat (without doubt the most immaculate and highly polished we have seen to date- the 24 year old Mersey Class Offshore Lifeboat that looked cleaner than the day it was delivered!) The station was in a beautiful spot on the beach, and we all had a bit of a break before heading on.

Between Aldeburgh and Harwich (our final station of the day, where Rad and I would be spending the night on roll mats), we had two further ferry connections across river estuaries. The first (Felixstowe Ferry) we made comfortably while the second and bigger crossing from Felixstowe to Harwich was a little tighter, so a few of the Peloton pushed on ahead, and the Ferry man kindly waited a little after the final run of the day to take us all across. 

A great day, through beautiful scenery- edging ever closer to the finish line. 

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