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England: Downtime With Family

We were excited to get straight to a week of holidaying with the family we ended up riding for eleven days straight without a break, arriving at Sennen Cove TWO days earlier than expected.  Awesome!  However since we didn’t have wifi or a phone we had no way of letting our family know this.  Small detail.  Our plan was to set up at our campsite, have a well-earned shower, ride onto their holiday cottage and see if they were home.  If not we would hang out on their doorstep until they turned up.  We were going to surprise them good.

I scooted in to get groceries at the last shop before our campsite, stocking up on cereal, bread and celebratory wine, when paying at the counter I was grabbed by a huge bearhug….from my Dad!  Cleave waiting outside with the bikes, and with perfect timing, had seen the entire crew walking up for some grocery shopping of their own.  Dad had then sneaked up behind me.  Surprise was on me!

Sennen Cove was the perfect place to finish our month and a half of cycling England.  Stunningly beautiful in every direction, with rugged craggy coastlines, beaches alternating between rocks and crisp squeaky sand, and wind whistling through the scrubby grass and bracken.





We had picked a campsite only a mile away from their cottage and each day we would join up for road trips, food and wine and then walking or riding back to our tent at night.  We spent the days exploring the nearby towns of Penzance, St Ives, Mousehole and Port Isaac (where they filmed Doc Martin).  Cornwall is a special place as my ancestors from our New Zealand side originally come from here.  This trip in particular Dad had brought some document copies for Godolphin Estate to include in their historic records.



There was a lot of consuming of local produce…


As well as quite a few scones, clotted cream and jam, thanks to our in-house chef.


Cleave also hauled our bikes out in the garden for a full once over, adding new bar tape to his.  There were a few other points we noticed but couldn’t do anything until we could sit at a bike shop.

Completely agreeing that our ride to Land’s End was the definite end, we booked a train from Penzance to Plymouth where our ferry to France would board.  With our family time ending too soon, we packed up the wet tent at 7am in the cold drizzle and rode the last few miles to Penzance in head-to-toe rain gear.


We used the morning at Penzance to drop into a bike store, and as guessed, they confirmed we needed new cassettes, chains and brake pads.  Running out of time though we just bought some brake pads and booked it down to the train station with five minutes to spare.

Arriving at Plymouth we rode round the city trying to find a bike store that could do the work that day but to no avail.  Instead we gave up and did a scenic circle ride around the harbour.



Filling in time window shopping and using the wifi at a Starbucks, we arrived at 9pm to wait in the motorcycle lane to board the overnight ferry to Roscoff, France.


Securing our bikes to the rails with ropes we brought our valuables, toiletries and snacks, leaving most of the panniers on the bikes.  Climbing the stairs four levels up, making our way counting cabin numbers down the corridor, we arrived at our very own two bunk cabin and discovered it had a miniature ensuite which was mostly taken up by a shower!  Showers have seriously become a hot commodity item in our bike touring world and a private, full-pressure, non-button one that doesn’t shut off after 15 seconds is like hitting pay gold.  A highly competitive semi-serious tussle of who would use it first broke out between us….of which Cleave won.  Whatever.



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