Christine by the camino plaque at Plymouth
Christine by the camino plaque at Plymouth

The alarm curtailed our short night’s sleep at 04:30 and we went to unlock our bikes in the garage. Christine had bought a secure locking device for her Roberts tourer to anchor it to the floor with a D-lock. When I bought my SJS Rohloff equipped bike, she fitted a similar one for me but never gave me the key. She unlocked her bike and then tried unsuccessfully to unlock mine. The she thrust the key at me to have a go. I noted that it bore a big K and it was a Kryptonite lock, so it must be the right key.

Then the key sheared off in the lock.

It was 05:00, we had a train to catch at 06:01 to catch a connection to Plymouth and then a ferry.

There was no alternative but to grab my Dawes World Tour, which has served me well but is now rather old and battered and downgraded to a commuting machine. I’d not serviced it for a long time, but it would have to do. I transferred my panniers and off we went.

It was a very cold and windy but mercifully dry morning for the seven mile ride to Bangor station. As we approached a farm along a country lane, a fox darted across the road just a few yards ahead of me.

The Virgin Pendolino was lightly loaded as far as Crewe, where it filled up. After a punctual arrival at Euston, we rode to Paddington for the 11:05 to Plymouth, a more spacious and comfortable HST, and enjoyed the ride through the rolling Wiltshire countryside and on into Devon and the spectacular Dawlish sea wall section. It was a pity about the grey misty weather.

On the way, Christine suddenly remembered that her coiled bike lock was also Kryptonite, and she’d been using the wrong key in the garage. Murder was not far from my mind at this point.

My World Tour headset was loose, which didn’t trouble me on my commute but I was unhappy about embarking on a long tour in that state, so we headed for Devon Cycles. The sign said “Closed Wed” but it was firmly shut despite this being mid-afternoon Tuesday. So it had to be the Bike Hut section of Halfords. They were really helpful, fixing my headset and replacing a missing bolt from my pannier rack without charge.

We proceeded to the guest house, Berkeleys of St James, not as posh as it sounds but quiet, comfortable and with secure overnight storage for the bikes. The owner recommended Veggie Perrins to eat, a vegetarian Indian restaurant, which was OK but nothing special. We looked at the famous Hoe with its many plaques commemorating historic voyages, including the one in the photograph featuring the scallop sign of the camino.

Plymouth to Santander by boat