Tuesday, 19 May 2015


"Where are we going today?" asks Dagmar. "Yatton" I reply. "That's 130km" said Dagmar "I thought that this is to be a slow journey". "It is to be a slow journey" I reply after some thought. "Perhaps, that's too far. Let's see what happens".  We have a mighty breakfast at Route2 cafe and then set off in a cloudburst.

We travel through Exeter and are amazed at how good the cycle routes are. I enjoy reading maps and took Exeter Cycle Map with me.  It is completely reliable and I find the road out easily.  The rain stops and starts regularly but as the day progresses, it eases off as the clouds are blown away by a heavy NW wind. We reach Cullompton and find a welcoming cafe next to the library. The lady behind the counter tells us about good cycling in Cambridge but is shocked that we are cycling to Ireland.  Our cycle route takes us past Tiverton Parkway train station whose car park is full with everyone paying £6.20 per car.  Cycling is free and we soon find ourselves cycling alongside the Grand Western Canal. The water is clear, ducks, moorhens and swans are everywhere and the countryside has developed a rich deep green colour. Dagmar enjoys our Devon banks

"Is this why English people are so polite?" asks Dagmar, "The lanes are so narrow that cars keep having to reverse to allow overtaking.  Roads are not this narrow in Germany". We then arrive at a canal that links Taunton to Bridgwater.. Here pedestrians with their dogs move over as we cycle past. Everyone says "Thank you" so Dagmar names this as the Thank You Canal.  For me, this is very reassuring.  The main frustration which embarrasses me in this country is when some cars overtake cyclists too close and this is a bad English driving habit. We arrive in Bridgwater in a strong headwind having cycled 55 miles and decide to stop overnight. Tomorrow we go to the beautiful Somerset Levels

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