Sunday, 10 April 2011

Lerryn to Launceston - Day Six - Bristol to Cornwall round trip

From Lerryn we followed the back lanes to Couch's Mill and Trago Mills and then headed towards Bodmin Moor, the road gently climbing all the while.  Gradually the road levelled out and we were crossing the top of the eastern end ofthe moor.  All was quiet now as we gently cycled along. Scattered across the moor were ruins of tin mines, relics of a once lucrative tin and copper mining industry.
We reached Minions, which claims to be (and I have no reason to think otherwise) the highest village in Cornwall, at over 300 metres.

As we entered the village we could see on our left the three stone circles our friends in Lerryn had told us about. These were The Hurlers, three stone circles dating from about the Bronze Age. They are believed to have been erected in about 1500BC and so younger than Stonehenge by about 1500 years. And, as this one was free to wander around, cheaper for the two of us  by fifteen quid. We spent a pleasant half-hour wandering around the stones with only the local ponies for company.

By now we were a tad thirsty and were unable to resist a pint at the Cheesewring Pub, so named after the local tor just north from here, comprosed of a pile of granite stones apparently defying nature. In hindsight I wished we had taken the time to detour up for a look. Another piece of unfinished business.

In the pub we had a nice pint of Special from Sharp's Brewery which was far superior to the ubiquitous Doom Bar which can be bought everywhere these days and which I don't rate that highly. It's one of those beers that's tolerable if there is nothing else on offer except John Smiths Smooth or lager. Sharp's has recently been bought by Molson Coors. If you haven't heard of Molson Coors, you wll have heard of their products (I cannot call them beers) Carling and Grolsch. Obviously they think Real Ale is a lucrative market to be in.

Our thoughts turned to where we were going to stay for the night. We were hoping to be able to stay at Glencoe Villa in Launceston. Although we had not been over keen on Launceston last time we visited, we did like the B&B very much. Naturally, being Cornwall, O2 were unable to provide a signal but we spotted that rare object: a rural phone box which did NOT have "Coins Not Accepted Here" plastered on the side. And miracle of miracles! Not only did the phone box take coins, it had a phone directory in it! We stood there in speechless amazement for a while before collecting ourselves together and looking up the number for the B&B. Yes!!! We were booked in, all we had to do was cycle the few miles to Launceston.

The trouble with beer is that it is quite more-ish and so when we reached the Caradon Inn a few miles up the road at Upton Cross we were unable to resist popping in for another one. The pub was ok although we didn't like the modern decor and it lacked atmosphere so we only ordered a half. As we sat at the bar we got chatting to a friendly chap called Pete, who told us he was a builder and farmer. When we told him we were headed for Launceston he said,"Oh don't go down the main road, it's really hilly. I know a better way, which is very flat."
"Oh brilliant," we said eagerly. Pete then directed us down the back road to Rilla Mill.

Ok, it's my own fault. I had an OS map, had I bothered to look at it I would have realised what was going on. And I did think it was a bit odd when one of the other customers, hearing our conversation said, trying not to laugh:"You're not sending them that way, are you Pete?"

It wasn't flat at all of course. It was steep. Down and up.
"Bar Steward," said Mick.

 We felt compelled to call in the Manor House Inn at Rilla Mill to recover before heading on to Launceston and our accommodation for the night.

Me and Prince William at Rilla Mill

Miles cycled today:  28
Total miles: 249

Our route is here

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