Travellers' tales: To Land’s End, post-lockdown

Gillian Sheath cycled from the north of England to its South Westerly tip

After the pandemic restrictions eased last year, I decided to cycle from my home in Cheshire to Land’s End. Social distancing measures were still in place but you could stay in someone else’s home. So I phoned friends and family and managed to secure 15 nights of bed and breakfast. I planned my route with an AA Road Atlas, looking at places about 50 miles apart.

I set off for Land’s End on 3 September 2020, cycling via Shrewsbury, Stourbridge, Birmingham, Worcester, Bristol, Clevedon, Taunton, Budleigh Salterton, Totnes, Lostwithiel, and Penzance.

On the back of my bike, I had a small poster stating ‘Land’s End for Alzheimer’s Research’. I was stopped many times and given money. Once, while cycling uphill, a passing motorist gave me a £5 note. It was like receiving water on the Tour de France! People were so kind. I was tooted, waved at, and applauded. Other cyclists found it hard to believe I was cycling with my own luggage, with no support vehicle, and that I was a retired woman.

I have happy memories of my two weeks on the road: no punctures; generous people; sunshine; birdsong; my first sight of the sea; the marvellous view of St Michael’s Mount; mist turning to sun; cows; flowers; and tea and cake in local cafés. Friends I hadn’t seen for years were so generous in providing meals and comfy beds. I also raised £2,200 for Alzheimer’s Research in memory of my mum.