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We are all in recovery mode after a busy week, but here are some of the photos from our Bar Yar challenge, courtesy of Stewart. Enjoy the slideshow!
The final day! Blue sky and sunshine welcomed us out of our lodgings and onto a lovely B road that took us into Norwich. We passed a road called ‘The Street’ and wondered whether they should have been a little more imaginative. Our tally of dead roadside animals reached double figures and the combination of Andy’s bright yellow football shirt and Ste’s Dutch-like orange outfit dazzled many dogs and Norfolk farmers alike. Norwich seemed to pass us by in no time and after a bizarre exchange of words/stories/views/Jelly Baby sweets with a taxi cab driver in Little Plumstead we were able to venture on towards the final 15 miles. The narrow A47 wasn’t the ideal way to conclude our epic journey, it required great skill and concentration but we conquered it and then lapped up the sea breeze of Great Yarmouth. Frankly though the only ‘great’ thing about this rundown sea-side town was that it heralded the end of our adventure. We held our bikes aloft as Harry & Stew recorded the joyous moment on camera and then began the journey home – grateful to God for keeping us safe every single one of our 351 miles and for giving us enough endurance and strength each day. So many more stories and funny moments to share, lots of photos to upload, more fundraising money to count, damp clothes to wash, but for now it’s time for bed. And don’t forget to ask Stew about the mushroom soup!!
Following a challenging Wednesday, today seemed a lot easier. A combination of a shorter mileage and flater roads meant that we were able to really break the back of this challenge and reach the 300 mile mark. Ray, minister of Stanground Baptist, joined us for the first hour and we were also boosted by the arrival of Harry who accompanied Stew for extra support and navigation. The contrast in landscapes was really pronounced: the hills of Wales firmly behind us and the flat Fenlands opening out before our very eyes. Lunch in Downham Market was followed by a very wet afternoon’s cycling along the edge of Thetford Forest and finally on to Watton. Ste’s vast knowledge of birds and wildlife continues to impress Andy. The evening was spent playing a pulsating game of pool. Sadly we have to report that the seniors beat the juniors but it was a close finish. Final score: 3-2.
Wednesday was a challenge. It started well with a lovely breakfast at Anna & Catherine’s including pain au chocolat and bagels. It wasn’t long into the journey that we had to fix a broken chain off Ste’s bike. Stewart’s plan to carry a spare bike was very sensible and so he drove on to Lutterworth to get Ste’s bike fixed. There is a compromise each day between quicker main roads and pleasant country lanes and they all add to the variety of our adventure. We reached Lutterworth for some lunch, including a quick look at the momument to John Wycliffe, translator of first English Bible! The afternoon got a bit wet around Corby and Desborough but thankfully by the time we were cycling around the picture postcard villages of Upper Benefield and Oundle we were able to say to each other “I just felt some warmth from the sunshine!” and “look there’s my shadow!”
On entering the edge of Peterborough along the noisy A road we were held back again due to more problems with the chain that we thought had been fixed. This was probably the ‘low point’ of the challenge so far but with the city in sight we were able to press on and about half an hour later we were greeted by Ray and family in Stanground, ready to put our feet up and enjoy a nice meal and company. We have now clocked up over 230 miles and it’s looking good for getting to Great Yarmouth by Friday!
Yesterday we clocked up 67 miles but today we were able to go 10 better and were very pleased with our total! With a ‘Charnwood Smoothie’ from breakfast inside us we soon found ourselves in Bridgnorth and then began the race to get to Stourbridge for lunch! The mild and dry conditions were favourable and we went to visit our families and homes for an hour. The afternoon was hard work due to very wet conditions across south Birmingham but Stewart had picked out a lovely cross-country route for us along some of the quiet lanes of Dorridge, Solihull, Balsall Common etc. Stewart’s expert navigation enabled us to arrive in Coventry in good spirits although we felt like drowned rats following more rain! A nice evening spent relaxing with Anna, Andy’s parents and friends, and of course Peter our very hospitable vicar!
We have been very appreciative of the support of many people – like Matt Brookes cycling about 5 miles with us, like Carol giving us jelly cubes, like Shona giving us Mars Bars, like Ste’s grandparents coming out in the rain to cheer us through Longbridge! God bless them all!