TUESDAY 17 JUNE
The day started well - we sorted out which stretches of the route I could cycle alongside Tony on and which roads I needed to take alone to then meet up with Tony later. This will be the routine for as long as I am on the bike.
We left each other’s company at Conisbrough, and I started to climb ( on bike with heavy load ) a very long steep hill. I almost came to the top of it, and tried to change to the very last gear, but CLUNK CRUNCH - something went very wrong, I lost momentum, the bike started to list, I couldn't stop it, and I fell off with bike falling onto of me. Fortunately I fell onto a grassy bank so was not injured except for a left leg full of nettle stings. It was clear that the bike was no longer in working order as something was dangling off the back of the gear section that should not be dangling ( girl speak for ‘ the back mech. had sheared off’ ). I pushed said kaputt bike to the next parking bay at the top of the hill.
Fortunately Tony was not far away and he tromped ( good word indicating that he was probably swearing under his breath ) over various fields to find me at the side of the road with bike upturned ( the right thing to do to inspect - right ? ) and luggage strewn on the side of the road. In the meantime a very kind cyclist had seen me out of action at the side of the road and informed that there was a very good bike shop about 5 miles away. To cut a long story short, I got a taxi ( we do like taxis ) to take me + bike to the bike shop and Tony walked there.
Next challenge was to see that the bike shop was on Tuesdays. OMG - what to do. I asked a nearby lollypop lady about accommodation in the area so that we could be at the shop first thing in the morning, and while I was talking to her holding broken bike the bike shop owner ‘ just happened to be passing’ and called over to see if he could help. Nuff said - he opened his shop especially to fix my bike, and that he did and no charge for labour. It was repaired in half an hour after a cup of tea and some good chit chat - he totally made my / our day ! Name = Dave Marsh Cycles, Maltby.
Now that bike, Tony ( who had caught up ) and I had our equilibrium back we pushed on to Roche Abbey near where we planned to do our first ‘ wild camp’. We were very excited.
I went ahead to suss out any potential lovely grassy meadows with streams running alongside ( for bathing and foot dangling etc ) where we could spend the night. I found none, and none again. We went a bit further but still none - all were either excessively private ( with beware of the dog signs etc ) or were rocky agricultural fields - no good for our brand spanking new Tarptent - Stratospire ( google it ). We came upon the village of Firbeck. The pub had no rooms, no-one who heard me asking the barmaid if they knew anyone who might have a bit of field or garden that we could camp on came forward ( would you believe it ! ).
We did however spot the church + graveyard ! Yes - we phoned the number on the church sign to ask permission to camp in the church grounds, and he said yes - hoorah ! It was a dead quiet night and the neighbours behaved. We had a very comfy and quiet ( ! ) first night ‘ wild camping’. Thank you to the warden who allowed this.
21 miles walked, but have to repeat some of this at a later date due to said interesting take on the day.
Today’s lesson: Some days don’t go according to plan……………