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The blog was written by Lucas each night and any errors may reflect how tired he was!

The Gold Post Box Cycle Blog

Golden Post Boxes

T-1 day  

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

So here we are - sat in Skinners Bottom on the eve of the epic cycle that is the Gold Post Box Challenge - or as we will be calling it from now on Gold Post Box cycle or on twitter #goldpostboxcycle.  I set off at 8:15am from Kingston upon Hull to the station, with friend Neil, helping by driving my excessive luggage. At 8:57am the train departed and I was on route for Cornwall.  I spent much of the journey doing more prep and emails, tweeting, Facebook as well as an interview at Sheffield station with Island FM.  By the time I reached Bristol I had news of a civic visit in Hamble on 3 June (Day 4) at Dani King's post box and Alton Town Council looking to arrange a reception for us later the same day at one of Peter Charles two boxes as well as Helena Lucas agreeing to meet us at her box on Portland Bill in Easton at the end of day 2.

Chris joined me in Bristol - the train about 20 minutes late and I'd swapped carriages after getting on the wrong one with the bike in Sheffield. We discussed what lie ahead and I updated Chris on progress and we then made sure we were following all of the Gold medallists and venues on twitter where possible and tweeted a few more to try and get them to meet us. Helen Glover, who's box in Penzance is the starting point, replied to wish us good luck but she's out of the UK.  Elsewhere, my brother-in-law, Paul Hayes, was busy tweeting Sport relief related celebs about our cycle and asking them to retweet whilst nephew, Josh, was starting the challenge of getting #goldpostboxcycle trending on twitter!  We also saw donations starting to appear online and by email, having now passed £1,000.

Lucas’ bike and luggage on departure!

T -1 Day!

From left Deb King, Derek Walker, Lucas & Chris with Neville King behind the lense on arrival at Redruth

In Plymouth my Uncle Derek (Walker) joined us as part of the support for day 1 and assisted us as we headed to Redruth by train.  We were then greeted by Neville & Debbie King and they transported our belongings to their home in Skinners Bottom whilst we rode the bikes the short distance (a nice leg stretch after 8.5 hours in a train).  We were also joined by Claire (Comber) who delivered our flyers, mugs, car magnets and T-shirts (Thanks to ARCO, Syd's Agri and Lucaskeepsrunning for these).  Debbie supplied some excellent food and I marked up the maps for day one and engaged my brother-in-law to become our PR liaison! I also tried to catch up on emails and twitter - which had gone off the radar by my standards (I am a new twitter user - @lucaskeepsrun).  

So, with everything as ready as it can be, it's time to head to bed and get ready for the morning - maybe one more brew.

Deb, Lucas, Chris and Neville at Redruth station.

Lucas & Chris cycle to overnight accommodation pre start near Redruth

Day 1 - Penzance to Buckfastleigh(Cornwall & South Devon)

All pictures to be uploaded end of day 2 due to need of sleep! Tracker link on home page now correct!

A long day -apologies if this is very typo'd!  117 miles covered and Cornwall needs flatten - far too many hills!  But three post boxes visited, lots of tweets (#goldpostboxcycle) and donations too.  We were also grateful for all the messages of support coming in.

We started with a train from Redruth to Penzance and thanked our excellent pre event hosts, Debbie and Neville King. Support for the day was Claire Comber and Lucas' Uncle Derek Walker.  After cycling straight past the first box, commemorating Helen Glover's gold in Women's Pair Rowing Rowing we headed back and set up for the official start pictures. At 8:30am the tracker commenced and so did we.  A brief stop at Sainsbury's Penzance for a top up of supplies and picture and on we headed for Marazion for a brief stop and picture with St Michael's Mount. At each stop the pop up banner and bucket were out and anyone passing was encouraged to donate and given flyers. We also discovered that Helen Glover had retweeted our tweet from her box!

Chris and I then cycled almost non stop (only stopping to check the map) to Restronguet, with a steep descent into the village in a stunning location where Lucas almost went off the road end and into the sea. The box is located in the wall in the Pandora Inn pub and there was plenty of interest from the pub and passersby.  To date no response from Ben Ainslee, to whom the box is dedicated for Olympic Sailing Gold, but we have his second box on Day 4!  

Back up the 1 in 4 hill and on to St Stephen - 20 miles including some proper Cornish country lanes and a few near misses with cars (one of whom generated a rather "vulgar "(To quote my mother's phrases!) response from Lucas when the driver failed to look and nearly knocked him flying in Truro.  St Stephen doubled up as a lunch stop and enabled more donations to be collected.  It also got a retweet from the Gold Post Box "owner", Jonathon Fox for swimming Men's 100m backstroke S7 in the Paralympics. Two out of three links was a good start and on day 2 we have two out of three athletes meeting us!

It is 127.9 miles on our route to Box 4 at Trull, Taunton, so no more boxes for the day but we enjoyed plenty more Cornish Hills, lots more Tea in our Gold Post Box mugs and two ferry trips over the Boddinick ferry from Fowey and the Torpoint ferry to Plymouth.  Lucas very excited by this as it reminds him of childhood trips to grandparents in Cornwall and he waved to his late Granddad and Nan Walker at Maker church, seen in the distance.  Lucas' Uncle Dave also met the team in Antony near Torpoint to spur them on and top up hot water supplies and a brief stop on Plymouth Hoe featured.

The route also took two wrong turns - one from Boddinick to Looe, where a turning was missed as Lucas and Chris were separated after the former's chain came off and Chris headed on at Lucas' suggestion. Two extra miles covered, but later inadvertently lost when the pair via'd right on lanes from Avonwick to South Brent, up a very long hill and came out north of South Brent and cut off nearly 2 miles.  The exact mileage was unclear as Lucas' odometer reset when they broke the speed limit and set a warning sign off on the downhill to St Austell and Lucas forgot to stop the tracker at Buckfastleigh so it tracked them back to their accommodation!

Massive thanks to Claire and Derek for great first day support (with various shopping requests!) and to Marc and Loz Lapthron for food and beds overnight!  

Helen Glover’s Box in Penzance - the start of this epic adventure

Derek and Claire, day 1 support, with the pair before the official start

Top - Box 2 - Ben Ainslee’s original box in Restronguet near Falmouth

Middle - Box 3 - Jonathon Fox in St Stephen near St Austell

Bottom - Dave Davies pops out to support near Torpoint

Left: With Loz Lapthorn, who catered for us and B&B with husband Marc - our support for day 2

Right: On Plymouth Hoe by the lighthouse.

Day 3 - Easton to Bournemouth via Channel Is (South Dorset & Channel Islands)

We returned to Easton on Portland Bill to commence from where we finished and headed down to briefly stop for  a picture of Weymouth and the port - our first of the London 2012 venues on the route - home to the Sailing for both Games.  We then belted down the hill, along Chesil beach and up to the port for the ferry to Guernsey - but we had left too late from the start and missed check in.  Our attempts to still get on (we had 15 minutes before it departed) failed so we booked onto the 1:30pm boat from Poole.  Our mainland support, Helen and Shane, had a van and Shane (Cougar Security Specialists Ltd)  kindly took us round to Poole after a cup of tea and Lucas had made contact with Mark on the Channel Islands to confirm the change of plan.  Once in Poole we unloaded the items we were to take over and waited to check in, at which point Lucas attempted to do day 2's blog.

Once on the ferry the blog was finished, but the battery died on the laptop and no wi-fi or mobile signal!  Chris has a nap before we ate and both slept after.  With no roaming on Lucas' phone, the tracker was offline as Guernsey doesn't come under UK phone coverage. Into St Peter Port and we were greeted by a photographer as we came up the ramp off the boat (ironically pushing the bikes as we weren't allowed to cycle up the ramp!).  We then met Mark Street, our Channel Island contact and support, had an interview with the Guernsey Press, and swiftly cycled round to the harbour and down to the jetty where a motor speed boat awaited!  John Downing and Alan Hill awaited us and we quickly loaded the bikes onto the small motor boat and off we went. John, our pilot has Cerebral Palsy and used to swim at National level and very much supported the Tree of Hope and Paralympics GB aspect of the fundraising. (Tree of Hope supporting children with Cerebral Palsy).  Barely 30 minutes later we arrived at the jetty on Sark, after a proper speed boat type crossing!  

We carried the bikes up the stairs and then cycled up the steep hill, whilst Mark walked it, to the box on The Avenue.  Sark's Gold box commemorates Carl Hester's equestrian gold medal at the Olympics in Equestrian Dressage Team.  Carl's grandmother, Pam Cocksedge OBE, greeted us, along with Winnie & Bob Parsons (local media and island residents), Karen Le Mouton (Methodist Minister of "The Island Parish" fame) and the sub-Post master, Caroline Langford, who also made us a lovely cup of tea!  Wonderful to meet Carl's grandmother.  As the rain started to arrive, we rolled back down the hill (we had permission to cycle on the hill from the local constable, Lucy), and reloaded the boat for a more bumpy ride back past Herm and Jethu to St Peter Port on Guernsey.  Time for a cuppa with Mark (compliments of the cafe on the harbour side) and then onto our complimentary return ferry with Condor to Poole at 8:30pm. We bid Mark farewell, with huge thanks for everything he had organised. We were also presented with a lovely surprise - a fridge magnet each with our picture at the box with Carl Hester's grandmother - produced in less than thirty minutes of us being there!

On board the Cabin Master announced we were travelling and we popped the banner up and had a number of donations and conversations (and none of the hoped sleep!).  We soon found we had made Poole and were greeted by Helen and Shane and they took the bulky items as we cycled the 5 miles to Westbourne, Bournemouth and our accommodation for the night, a hotel courtesy of friend, Tricia Rutter.  We transferred items to support for day 4 - Pete Meagor's/Morphed Landscapes vehicle and into the hotel, bidding thanks to Helen and Shane.  

Clockwise from left: Chris kips on Condor ferry outbound;

A selfie as food is chosen!;

At the Gold Box on Sark with Carl Hester grandma, Pam Cocksedge;

Chris does some mechanics on the ferry back to Poole;

Lucas encouraging staff and customers to donate aborad the ferry;

With John and Alan on the speedboat that took use to Sark;

Mark, to the left, with us and Pam at Carl Hester’s box;

Chris and I take a picture from opposite angles before we carry the bikes up the steps on Sark;

Above top: Weymouth Harbour, home overnight day 2-3

Middle: Helen, Shane, Chris and Lucas at start of day 3

Above bottom: Overlooking Weymouth and where the London 2012 sailing took place

Day 2 - Buckfastleigh to Easton, Portland Bill (Dartmoor,  Somerset and  Dorset)

We headed off from Loddiswell, where we had stayed overnight, with an extra rider with us for the day, Lucas' brother, Pete Meagor.  Pete had not cycled beyond 30 miles before in any one day but had wanted to do a leg of the challenge, being support for 6 further days. We returned to Buckfastleigh to start from where we stopped the night before.

It didn't take long before our first wrong turn and an uphill climb we didn't need past the stunning Buckfast Abbey.  Our support for the day, Lucas' nephew, Marc Lapthorn, following us suggesting we'd gone wrong!  Back on ourselves and onto the Ashburton road and then cross country through country lanes and into Newton Abbott, a town responsible for Lucas as his parents met there at Seale Hayne agricultural college in the early 60's. Pete was trying to get used to the set up - more bemused by the food supplies than the cycling (he expected carb's, we had lots of sugary stuff!)  On through Kingsteighton and another missed turn and brief back track to the Chudleigh road and then off through the lanes and forest up over Hadron Hill - a lengthy climb through stunning scenery with a drop to Exeter, where we stopped to meet Clive Tilbury. After a tea it was on out to Cullompton and Wellington, Marc losing track of us after he diverted to a shop for some items. Over the border into Lucas’ home county of Somerset  - always a welcome sight!

We finally turned onto the lanes and into the village of Trull for our first box of the day and our first athlete of the cycle - Deb Criddle, who won Paralympic equestrian gold in Mixed Individual Freestyle Test - Grade III.  We were also greeted by Alex McDonald and Jo Cavill, who had travelled from nearby town's to lend support. It was our lunch stop and Deb had even brought hot water and was very giving of her time - also explaining how she needs sponsorship to enable her to train whilst ParalympicsGB fund actual games time (see ParalympicsGB page for details).  A brilliant opportunity to help understand the impact of ParalympicsGB's work.

Day 2 start in Buckfastleigh - Pete in the middle the extra cyclist and support driver, Marc at the front.

With Clive in Exeter

On to Taunton and the half way point and out for Langport - with a minor separation of the cyclists.  Lucas had to keep stopping and dismounting his bike to manually put it in lower gear for steep hills and Pete and Chris carried on but didn't turn left for Langport or hear Lucas shouting loudly "left" - mostly due to traffic.  After a few minutes they reappeared back up the hill to be reunited.   It was then onto Langport, where 3 extra support joined for the remainder of the day - Dave, Lesley and Kaitlyn (Another of Lucas' brothers, sister-in-law and niece).  Heading onto Sherborne, for a tea stop and box 5 marking Peter Wilson's Olympic Gold in shooting.  They would have had a welcome party but Lucas had missed some tweets and the tracker had stopped in Devon due to Lucas' 3G have crashed too! The wonders of modern technology!  No Peter Wilson to meet but had had replied to a twitter message on t-1 day.

From Sherborne it was down to Portland Bill, but with a final tea stop at Forston, where one of Lucas' running club friends' parents' live and he was staying there with them.  Philip Reese, Alan & Gill had a Union Flag flying and with a garden next to a stream, homemade cake with free range eggs and homemade jam in the stunning Cerne Valley. A  lovely welcome and great hospitality and much need break - Pete had surpassed 100 miles too and was still going, despite the hill climbs involved.

On to the final box and stop of the day as night drew - through Dorchester and then up the road refurbished for the Olympics with a brilliant cycle path and down into Weymouth.  A brief circulation of a one way system before heading out to Portland Bill and one final climb of the day through Fortuneswell.  The hill nearly (in his own words) "Broke" Pete.  Anyone who's ben to this headland will know how steep the climb is - and at 9:45pm after 130 miles cycle for over 13 hours, it's not the finish you want.  Lucas, in his defence, had no idea of this hill either, hence it was i9n the plan for the finish!  At the top they arrived at 10:05pm at the sixth box and final one of day 2 - in Easton, dedicated to Helena Lucas' Paralympic gold in Sailing: Single-Person Keelboat (2.4mR).  Helena was going to also be present, but due to the eventual lateness and having a competition the following morning, was unable to.  This reflects the dedication they have to their sport and we are grateful she was prepared to come and meet us.

The highlight of the day though had to be Pete's achievement of cycling 134 miles in the end (not sure where 7 extra miles snuck in as Lucas could only explain 4!).  On 5 hours poor sleep he had covered a very tough days course with some serious hill climbs, maintained the pace set by Lucas and Chris and not quitted.  Massively proud of this and reason to pledge to support Pete's achievement in itself. Many thanks to him for joining us (and he is working on Monday!), to Marc for all day support (a long day with a drive home after) and Dave, Lesley and Kaitlyn for joining us for half the day all the way to the finish and Helen and Shane for transporting us back to our overnight accommodation at Helen's boat in Weymouth marina.  This seemed most apt given stop one on Day 3 is Weymouth sailing venue.  

The day concluded, however, on a sad note when Lucas spoke with friends from home to discover  that friend, Mike Atkins, had suddenly passed away. Mike was very supportive of the challenge and his wife, Pam, and he had been disappointed not to be about to support it.  Mike covered two days of support on LEJOG in 2011, helping change a tyre and took Lucas' favourite picture of them climbing over Rannock Moor in a storm depicting the moment brilliantly - as below.  Lucas is dedicating the event to Mike - a good friend and support and thoughts are with Pam and family.

Pete cycling behind Lucas over Dartmoor

Box 4 - Trull with the Paralympic Gold medallist, Deb Criddle (in blue), Alex (green) and Jo (Black top)

Helen and Chris inside the boat, overnight accommodation day 2-3

Right - in Memory of Mike Atkins

Clockwise from top left - At Peter Wilson Gold Box in Sherborne; Flags out in Forston;

With (from left) Alan, Gill & Philip Reese, Lucas, Lesley, Kaitlyn and David Meagor, Pete and Chris;

Cycling up the cycle path alongside the Olympic road to Weymouth;

Gold Post Box 6 - Helena Lucas’ in Easton, Portland Bill

Portland Bill in the distance as night falls;

Cycling through Dorset

Lucas & Pete catch up on social media in Sherborne (or try to!)

Supported Charities 2014

Day 4 - Bournemouth to Nether Wallop (near Stockbridge) (New Forest and Hampshire)

With support for the day, Pete - Morphed Landscapes

After a hearty breakfast at the hotel we headed off from Bournemouth's west cliff, with Pete Meagor (who cycled day 2) as support for the day.  Chris and I changed route for the first few miles and headed along the Promenade to Christchurch - Chris is a big fan of the water and had been for a walk at 12:30am to the seafront whilst Lucas had been blogging!  The first stop was Lymington and Ben Ainsle's second box for his Olympic Sailing Gold. We then head on through Beaulieu and the New Forest, enjoying the flatness of the route.  However, the road up from Dibden Purlieu to Totton was very busy and a few close shaves with lorry's.  

Having navigated our way across Southampton and crossed the River Test via a route not as planned due to nonexistent signing in the town (backed up by the fact Pete took another route and we never saw him from Lymington to Hamble).  We made it to Hamble-le-Rice on the Solent and were greeted by a local Parish Council employee, Aron. Sadly no sign of Dani King, to whom the box is dedicated for women's Cycling Team Pursuit.  But Royal Mail retweeted when tagged.

Not far out of Hamble (after Chris had been back to the waterside whilst we had a cuppa), we went through the halfway mark for the day in record time.  We then head north and over the South Downs via Bishop's Walthem and the Meon Valley to Alton - fighting a head wind going downhill and on a mission to arrive by 3pm as the town had a few representatives out for us.  We were there for 3:30, not aided by a van unable to use his signals when pulling up to the kerb.  On turning into Paper Mill Lane, Alton we were greeted by the town crier, Stan Whitcher - the best greeting we've had yet.  We were also welcomed by the Mayor - Graham Hill - and his wife and the local press were to hand.  The council had used the opportunity to promote Active Alton, having tweeted as well.  Sadly, Peter Charles, who won Olympic Gold in Equestrian Dressage Team, was out of the UK but did retweet our visit.

Peter Charles has two boxes and his second is in the nearby village of Bentworth, where we headed swiftly for a greeting by St Mary's School children, who had drawn good luck posters for us.  This was also our lunch stop and the children each have been passed a Sport Relief medal for their support. We then had a late dinner (thanks to Sainsburys) just before the first rain of the trip arrived.

The final section took us on towards Wiltshire for an overnight stop in Nether Wallop with a fellow ex-Games Maker, Sue Brisco, and her husband, Dougie. A warm welcome with a sign up in the window and a wonderful spread and hospitality.  A chance to chill for a bit with a slightly earlier finish, though delayed with a cycle through the whole village in error!

Many thanks to Pete for his support - with an element of getting lost involved and plenty of hosting local's pending our arrival.  And thanks to Emily & team at Alton Council and Aron at Hamble for showing their support.

Left: With Parish worker, Aron, in Hamble

Right: The Major, Graham Hill and wife, Chris, Lucas, Town Crier, Stan, and Pete at front, collecting money at Box 10 in Alton

Top left: Cycling in the rain near Stocksbridge

Top right: With the St Mary’s School children

Left: Chris & Lucas welcomed at the end of day 4

Right: Lucas & Chris cycling into dusk

Chris on the promenade;

Heading off to start day 4

Below - Lymington

Day 5 - Nether Wallop to Cardiff  (Salisbury Plain and the Bristol Channel)

We were given a brilliant welcome by fellow Games Maker, Sue Brisco as well as her husband, Dougie.  With tea in bed and a hearty breakfast before John Meagor (Lucas' eldest brother) and daughter, Demelza Meagor (also Lucas's Goddaughter) arrived as the support. John runs Syds Agri Services, one of the sponsors.  The van was loaded and branded with the magnets before they set off, thanking Sue & Dougie. Especially thanks for the homemade cake and the boxes to transport merchandise and food.

The day started wet and didn't improve.  Salisbury Plain was awash as we crossed it, near Stonehenge and up to visit one of the sponsors, Elite Registrations in Littleton Panell. Having been greeted by the company owner, Tony Hill, along with Helen Weeks and Mary, we carried on up to Bradford on Avon and our only box of the day on The Shambles, commemorating Ed McKeever's Canoe Sprint Kayak single 200mNo Ed, but certainly the weather for Kayaking the course all day .  We were also greeted by Lesley Meagor, Laura Andrews and Ros & Freya Knight. Laura's husband, Adrian, dropped the idea for the cycle in Lucas' head originally.  With lunch provided by Ros, it was a nice break despite the rain and we changed socks and tops.

We then headed on through Bath (in  shower!!) and to Brislington, Bristol and Sainsburys where they kindly supplied more goodies and allowed the banner up for more donations. Unfortunately, no locals friends or family made it to meet the us. John caught us up after dropped Demelza home, and onto Aust and the Severn Bridge. We were soaked, having had more heavy rain as we battled rush hour traffic so as we crossed the Severn Bridge we didn't attempt a retake of the picture used as our cover one from LEJOG.  Instead, we just battled the wind, which had caused us delays most the day.  

At Chepstow John met us again and we had a tea stop in the back of his van so we could shelter from the rain, warm up and feel a bit refreshed for the final slog to Newport and then north Cardiff. It worked, along with John's comedy cheer leading from the roadside.  This included him using a traffic cone as a mega phone at one point!  With two miles left the rain finally stopped!  Chris was numb and Lucas not much better, but must add gratitude to Mark Street (Channel Islands support) for the kind lone of his waterproof coat as mine must be sat in my room at home still waiting for packing!

We  arrived at our hosts, Nic & Phil, at 8:40pm and were relived to finally be able to shower and get dry and warm after 12 odd hours in rain.  The day brings the mileage covered to just shy of 500 miles so far.

Thanks to John and Demelza for their support over the day

Top: With Dougie & Sue Brisco in Nether Wallop, hosts for night of day 4

Top right: With Day 5 support, Demelza and John Meagor

Left: Chris & Lucas at Ed McKeever’s box in Bradford on Avon

Below: Elite registrations

Far left: Crossing the Severn Bridge in heavy rain

Left: Chris on the Severn Bridge

Right: View from the van of Chris and Lucas cycle in the never ending rain

Left: Chris, Laura, Lesley, Lucas, Ros and Freya (in pram) at Bradford on Avon’s box

Right: Chris at Sainsburys, Brislington

Below:ohn supports using his loud haler!

Day 6 - Cardiff to Bwlch (South Wales)

After a wash out on day 5 it was a relief to wake and find the sun shining for day 6.  (after we had woken as we both slept in until 7:38am!)  The support crew for the day arrived just before 8am - Lucas' sister-in-law, Rachel Meagor, niece Demelza and boyfriend, Sam Murray Pugh, along with Josh Meagor, his nephew. Car loaded and a farewell to Nic Rooke, husband Phil and the kids who had offered fabulous hospitality overnight, before heading to Cardiff city centre and by 10pm Geriant Thomas' Olympic Gold for cycling Team pursuit was noted at his box opposite Cardiff Castle and then round the corner to our second venue, football's Millennium Stadium.

It was then onto Bridgend, with a headwind and undulating road, it felt like a lifetime as the support crew popped up along the way to take pictures and cheer. The headwind even meant we cycled downhill to try and keep the momentum!  The Bridgend box was located and a tea break had as we sat by Aled Davies commemorative box for his Paralympic gold in discus F42.  After some food we headed on for Swansea - battling headwinds, before arriving at Trawler Road and one of  Ellie Simmonds Paralympic Gold boxes for her swimming 200m medley S6.  The spot was ideal for lunch, Chris ever happy by the waterside whilst Josh made tea (eventually!).  

It was then up the Vale of Neath and a climb up into the heads of the valleys via Hirwaun and the hard climb out of Merthyr Tydfil to Tredegar and the final box of the day, Mark Colborne's Paralympic cycling gold for the C1 3km pursuit.  Mark was also the only athlete of the day to respond on twitter, wishing us luck.

The final stretch took us over the south side of the Brecon Beacons - more climbing as sunset commenced but with stunning views of the black mountains you couldn't complain. It certainly motivated us over the climb and gave us breath taking scenery as we dropped down to Bwlch and our end point. The support team also got some great pictures as we climbed up.  On arrival in Bwlch (Near Brecon) we were greeted by the support team plus Lucas's parents and Aunt, who'd arrived ready for day 7. A meal for all in the New Inn - who were very hospitable, before heading to our accommodation in Brecon.  Massive thanks to Rachel Sam, Demelza and Josh for the support over the day. Great work done getting plenty more donations and awareness.

Top: With Nic Rooke and Amiee

Right: Millennium Stadium

Below: Cardiff box for Geriant Thomas

Left: Ellie Simmonds Box in Swansea

Above: At Tredefar and Mark Colborne’s box

Day 7 - Bwlch  to Cirencester (Wye Valley, Gloucestershire & Cotswolds)

Clockwise from top left:

Cycling through Cowbridge

The support walk from Cardiff Gold Postbox to the Millennium Stadium

Lunch at Swansea Marina

Josh handing out leaflets in Bridgend

Rach checks the map for the route

Chris and Lucas climb up onto the Brecon Beacons near Beaufort

Chris looking back at the views on the Beacons

Chris crossing the narrow bridge near Bwlch

Chris & Lucas near the peak of the Beacons climb

Sam and Demelza with the pop up bvanner in Bridgend

The support team on top of the Beacons as seen by bike!

Josh, Chris, Demelza, Sam, Rach & Lucas at the last box of the day in Tredegar

Lucas & Chrisat the Bridgend Post box for Aled Davies

I should start stating this trip as resulted in spotting and discovering many things not noticed before - such as a canal near Bwlch and that Stocksbridge, Minchinhampton, Talgarth are all towns and Hamble le Rice is in fact  a village. The routes take us round some amazing countryside ad we started meandering through the Wye valley to Hay on Wye and box 16 - Josie Pearson's Paralympic Discus.  Joise had replied to tweets saying she was training and wished us well but we met her sister, Freya and brother in law, Stuart Fiddles, who had a photo with us.  The day had been delayed starting as Chris needed to do some mechanics on the bikes and Lucas was trying to sort emails.  The support for the day was Roger & Frances Meagor (Lucas' parents) and Val Walker, Lucas' Aunt.  

Whilst in Hay, Chris had his chain link fixed at Drovers (complimentary) whilst we gained support from the locals and had a cup of tea.  It was then on to Newent, via Sainsburys Hereford.  The route to Hereford seemed to be into a head wind all the way and very slow - fatigue had hit Lucas (averaging 5 hours sleep a night) and it was the warmest day thus far. A few more snacks from Sainsburys and on down the Wye valley towards Newent, stopping for lunch in Fownthorpe. Very pleasant in the sun, but warm.

A few near misses as we headed to Newent (a lorry cutting us up overtaking on a hill with bend!).  At Newent we were welcomed by Rosie Marks (a friend of a friend) and a local photographer hoping to get some local press for us. Sadly no Charlotte Dujardin, to whom the box is commemorated for her Olympic gold in Equestrian individual dressage.   We had a juice and the box was emptied by the postman!  Then onto Cheltenham, via Gloucester.  We were now 3 hours behind schedule, hot and struggling but finally picked up pace and got to Cheltenham High street faster than expected so the support hadn't arrived!   We were also welcomed by Sue & Jerry Barr, friends from when Lucas lived in the area. We also got a message and retweet from the box holder, Alex Gregory (Olympic gold in Men's Four Rowing.  Lucas, however, got a bit stroppy due to the lack of tea and beating the support team for a second time that day!  (The tiredness didn't help clearly!)

On up the steep hill from Cheltneham to Crickely Hill for spectacular views over to the Malvern's and Evesham Vale, before following the Cotswolds and dropping to make Nailsworth by 9pm approx to see box 20 on Watledge Road and box 21 (or boxes 21a and b) - Old Market, Nailsworth - all being dedicated to Pete Reed, of Means Four Rowing.  Pete Reed had tweeted before and replied and retweeted again wishing us well.  A final tea stop too to give us a final boats to make Cirencester for the night - 3 hours 45 mins later than hoped to Carrie Seaton and a late but welcomed tea.  The support had a takeaway and turned up after getting lost, at gone 11pm.  The car was emptied and we thanked them for their help (and hindrance!).  The route to Cirencester had included a zigzag hill climb to Minchinhampton which gave staggering views of the valley.

A very long hard day but it was dry.  Thanks to Mum & Dad and Val for their support - and appreciate the late nights people are having afterwards!

Above: Josie Pearson’s box in Hay on Wye

Below: Roger and Val encouraging donations in Hay

Above - Val, Roger and Frances cheer on lans in Herefordshire

Below: Arriving in Newent; Charlotte Dujardin’s box being emptied by Royal Mail and with Rosie Marks

Above left: With Sue & Jerry Barr at Alex Gregory’s box in Cheltenham                   Above right: Views over Malverns from Leckhampton Hill

Nailsworth and Pete Reed’s boxes

Clockwise from top left: Roger, Frances, Chris, Val & Lucas at Watledge Road box

Chris and Lucas at box 20

A pair of boxes for No. 21!

The support car arrives at the final box stop

Chris and Lucas at Pete Reed’s Nailsworth box(es)

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