Monday, August 15, 2011

St. Austell to Helston

On Thursday we spent an extra day in St. Austell and it was well worth it. We researched our train trip to central England to meet up with Anne and Steadroy Henry, went to the Charlestown shipwreck museum and witnessed a special event at the Charlestown harbor. We met a German family who was catching a train at the station with their bicycles and they told us their experiences on the English trains. We watched them load and depart and are prepared now. The special event at the harbor was a tall sailing ship leaving the inner harbor. The boat must be maneuvered by ropes to turn all the corners since the inner harbor entrance is at a right angle to the outer harbor. The inner harbor entrance is on the left hand side of the picture below. Dave got a video of the event, but we are unable to post it.

On Friday we left St. Austell on the National Bicycle Network route 3. The first 7 miles were off road on a gravel walking path. That was fine until we had to climb over a hill and then it was very challenging and slow. We passed through Mevigissey and Portmellon the next two towns on the coast.

We had to push the bikes up very steep grades after each town. It started to rain after Portmellon and a little further down the road we saw this sight through the mist.

It's a castle you can rent for a vacation! There were also small buildings on the estate for rent (gatehouse, gamekeeper's cottage, etc.). Here is a view of the headlands we came across in the morning.

The next town, Veryan, had these unusual round houses. They reminded us of the Italian trulli and the French windmill houses. The legend attached to the round shape is that the devil can't hide in the corner if there are no corners.

We stopped in Philleigh after 22 very challenging and damp miles. On Saturday we left Philleigh and within a short time were on the 12th ferry ride of our trip. Cornwall has many significant rivers draining to the coast and has utilized ferries to cross them rather than build a lot of bridges.

The ride to Helston got easier as the day progressed. We had left the bicycle route and had selected roads that had reasonable grades. We had lunch in this charming pub in Stithians.

As we were leaving the pub, we met some people who asked where we were going. When we said Helston, we were given a hearty recommendation to try the Stingo ales at the Blue Anchor. Cornwall has many thatched cottages and this one particularly caught our eye.

We reached Helston and checked into the oldest hotel in town, The Angel, which has been in operation since the 1500's. We are going to spend a couple of days here exploring the Lizard peninsula and Helford river estuary with unloaded bikes.

No comments: