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Saturday 20 April 2019
09:30 - 17:00
Day ride (Car-assisted): The Granite Way Easter Special
Sunny and hot
37 miles (▲ 587m ▼ 587m)
3 Participants: Tao Burgess, Dillan Edwards, Michael Jones
Today was the first of our two Easter Special day rides, organised because Jude couldn’t get four days free for our usual cycle tour. Tao could not get all three bikes in the back of his Volvo V70 Mark 2, but Michael’s bike rack solved the problem. We left around 10.10 and drove over the moor to Tavistock where we parked in Bedford car park at 11.08. It was a lovely warm, sunny day, and it soon turned into the hottest Easter for a while.

Michael suggested buying pasties as he hadn’t brought a packed lunch, but Tao thought we didn’t need them as he was sure we would find somewhere along the way. He had planned the route today, which broadly followed the national cycle route, sometimes on stretches of the old railway line but many times not. The section after Peter Tavy was delightful – not far from home yet it resembled some kind of paradise. There was a lovely little bridge over the river too.

We lost track of the cycle route signing at the junction near Moorland Hall hotel, but soon we were riding through some lovely moorland scenery, with a good track over open moorland on the approach to Lydford.

We got to the Lydford Gorge National Trust at around 1.35, parked outside, walked through the shop and down to the café on the lawns. They had pesto, pea and mozzarella paninis that looked nice, so we had one each, but it turned out to be quite small, and the “salad” was just a few tired-looking watercress leaves huddled in a corner of the plate. Still, it tasted good, and the brownie and coffee Michael also had was good.

We sat inside near the counter as there were no vacant shaded seats outside. While Tao and Michael were talking, Dillan, who had a good view of the counter area, interrupted us and said the person in the queue looked very much indeed like Emma Watson. Tao and Michael each took a look and agreed that she did. She was with a woman who looked like she could be her mother, and a hasty check on the internet confirmed that it was indeed Emma and her mother. They both went outside and sat in the garden near the window. Emma was wearing a baseball cap and good quality clothing with brown boots. Nobody went up to speak to her and they left after 20 minutes or so. Dillan went to use the facilities and overheard people talking about whether it was actually her, and Tao followed her out and saw her leave in an Audi A6. What a very special occasion. We took some photos on the table outside the tearooms.

Michael was feeling a bit under the weather with a cold, but he was feeling a bit better as we left at 2.20 so we pressed on towards our intended destination, Okehampton, along the Granite Way cycle path, not really expecting to get to the end. The path was on a slight climb all the way to Okehampton.

We found what to Michael looked like the perfect café near Meldon Viaduct, and an ideal place to stop before heading home, but Tao was keen to go to the end “just to say we had been there”, so we pressed on for the final few miles. When we reached the road we went to the café in Okehampton station and enjoyed jugs of cold water, coffee, jaffa orange cake and a very welcome rest on the station platform.

It was 4.15 when we finally set off again for the journey back to Tavistock – way too late really considering how far we had come. Going back was easier, being mainly downhill, and google found an easier route back from Lydford that only required a 140m climb before a very long downhill. It was a lovely cool evening, which made things a little easier, and we got back to the cars by around 6.40. Michael was shattered as he had not really been well enough for a ride of this length, but he had made it back somehow, so achievement unlocked.

Tao and Dillan loaded the bikes up, then after getting meal deals from Morrisons in Tavistock Tao drove us home via Plymouth, getting us back extremely late at around 8pm. It had been a very interesting and memorable ride, and one that I am sure we will repeat in the not too distant future.
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