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Virtual Lands End to John O’Groats ....Week 3

Friday 3 April March. Tintern Station – Tillington 36 miles Total 279 miles

Today’s virtual ride starts out from Tintern old station, and heads almost due north. The first few miles are slowly inclining, going straight up the Wye Valley until reaching Monmouth. Monmouth is the county town with a very rare medieval gated bridge over the River Mon, on one side of the town. This bridge is rare because most similar bridges have been demolished over the centuries as traffic requirements changed, and here, has been preserved by being pedestrianised with a modern bridge being built downstream. In the 15th Century a major form of employment was the making of Monmouth caps – leading to Capper being a common surname in the area. A Monmouth cap is a knitted cap made from 2 ply wool, which is then felted to make it waterproof, thus popular with sailors and field workers.

It is an undulating ride on to Hereford. An interesting old town, with the town centre now pedestrianised. Main employers in the area seem to be brewers - Bulmers – utilising fruit from the local area; and the Spinning Dog and Wye Valley Breweries.

Sunday 5 April. Tillington-Rushbury. 33 miles Total 312 miles

When Jim and I rode this section in 2013, Jim started off this section with a puncture. Which he fixed!

The ride from Tillington would go through Ludlow, carefully avoiding the dreaded A49. Ludlow is a lovely small town with a fantastic market. Hlud means loud water, and hlow means hill – so means town of the loud water. I have a friend Steve, who has retired from the Underground, and who is now an arts administrator for the local theatre, and company secretary for the Ludlow Gin company. Incidentally, gin is a fast spirit to mature, and their processing equipment can be adapted easily to produce other alcohol-based substances – including alcohol-based hand cleanser. As the Ludlow Gin company is ethically based, they have adapted their equipment to produce cost price hand sanitizer for hospitals and care homes in the Ludlow area, during Coronavirus. Hurrah for Steve and Shaun. Further details on Ludlow Gin facebook page.

Riding from Ludlow to Rushbury (where my aunt lives), is very gradually uphill, until we get to Roman Bank. One tremendous ascent over a ridge, then freewheeling down the hill to the river, then arriving to stay at the former manse. Hurrah.

Tuesday 7 April Rushbury-Welshampton 38 miles Total 350 miles

From Rushbury it is lovely cycling through country lanes to Shrewsbury. Shrewsbury gets its name from Schrobbs Burgh, which translates as a fort in a shrubby area. In medieval times, it made its money from wool. Charles Darwin was born here and lived here for 27 years. It has Ditherington Flax Mill, which was the world’s first iron framed building, yet the town avoided the worst aspects of the industrial revolution because it was relatively remote from other industrialised towns. The lack of manufacturing engineering meant it was not a target for bombing in WW2, so the medieval town centre was not annihilated.

Thursday 9 April Welshampton- Frodsham 30miles. Total 380 miles.

Another lovely day of virtual cycle touring. In 2003, when Jim and I rode this route, we ended up at the Lady Heyes camping site. Here Jim and I met up with our friends Bob and Maurice – who were on a cricket tour to support their favourite team, Essex. Jim had cycled his heavily loaded bike up a steep hill, with a soft tyre and he was just fixing the tyre when they arrived. We had not pitched the tent – but were all hungry for dinner. Maurice and Bob were astonished at how quickly we could pitch the tent – one of the joys of a freestanding tent. Erected within 5 minutes as Jim and I had got the technique down to a fine art, and we had no tent pegs to bang in.

Third week of virtual LEJOG completed. More varied, starting to enjoy riding longer distances.


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