That was the only word that came to mind to express my feelings about leading this ride. After a week of near zero temperatures, I really thought that few people would dare to venture out this cold, though dry Sunday.
In fact, there was a good crowd at the start: Graham Black, George Sandford, Andy Easton, Roger Floyd, Graham Reed, Julie Lang, Yolande Beriot and little old me - if you care to think of me that way!
The route took us through Hatt, Blunts, Tilland, Doddy Cross, Pengover Green to Liskearde, where we had refreshments in Morrisons. It was after twelve when we arrived and well past one when we left, taking into account the glacially-slow service and the long queue of hungry customers in front of us on arrival. After lunch, Graham Reed and Roger Floyd took leave of us to return to Plymouth.
The rest of us laboured on. Ignoring 'celestial guidance' (as Graham Black puts it) I headed for St Clear and Pensilva, only to find that this took us off the designated route and we ended up on unfamiliar lanes (Rosecraddock). They did, however, take us out onto the B3254 and George immediately recognized this as part of the "Kit Hill Grimpeur" Audax route. So off we went and arrived in Pensilva with little time, if any, lost.
On through Golberdon and eventually to Kelly Bray, where we had tea for six at the Swingletree Pub.
For Julie's satisfaction:
'A swingletree (British Isles) or singletree (North America) is a wooden or metal bar used to balance the pull of a draught horse or other draught animal ...'
Hence the pub sign, showing a 'swingletree'.
Andy left us in haste at 3.30 pm, having to be back in Plymouth by 4 o'clock. Travelling at the speed of light, no doubt, on his Argos, maybe he got back to Plymouth before we had actually left in the morning. The mind boggles.
The rest of us ventured out of the warmth of the pub, shuddering in the cold, and made our way to Newbridge, where we did not follow the old familiar route via Cadsom Bury and over the ford, but stayed to the north of the river, up a steep hill and a long, long, lovely descent to the bottom of Hatt. Thence, up the gentle drag, through Hatt village onto the main road and Tamar Bridge.
The roads were mainly bone-dry and relatively free of water. It's amazing what a few days of dry weather can do.
47 miles on the clock. Can I have a medal?