This post recounts the fifth day of my 14 day LEJOG19 adventure, in August 2019. For tips based on my experience, please go to my blogpost How to ride Land’s End to John O’Groats. Read Day 4: Street to Monmouth
This was a shorter and easier day: just 58 miles. But it didn’t feel like it over the first five miles, a constant ascent out of the Wye valley. Just as I remembered from my 2002 ride! This prompted a thought that was confirmed as the days unfolded: I much prefer ‘proper’ hills to ascents that don’t look serious but go on for ever. But the weather was fine, and once we got to the village of St Weonards the riding was more enjoyable. This small place has cannily placed a Land’s End to John O’Groats fingerpost outside its shop. They obviously get lots of people like us stopping to take photos and buying things there!
I was looking forward to our lunch stop at Pembridge, Herefordshire. This village in the Arrow valley, like nearby Weobley, is a gorgeous collection of black and white timbered buildings. We had lunch in Pembridge in 2002 and it proved as lovely this time as I remembered. We sat under the 16th century market hall and took a moment in the sunshine to admire the unusual separate church bell tower. A perfect place to rest on a sunny summer’s day.
The rest of the day was uneventful, with an easy ride to Clun. I couldn’t help thinking of the words of AE Houseman from A Shropshire Lad:
Clunton and Clunbury,
Clungunford and Clun,
Are the quietest places
Under the sun.
Walking over the ancient bridge up to the castle ruins, I knew exactly what he meant.
That said, Clun wasn’t quite so quiet that evening when one of our group, Nigel, was invited to play the ukulele by a group playing in the Sun Inn!
58 miles, 3,858 feet climbing, 4 hrs 18 minutes cycling, 13.4 mph average speed