Saturday 19thMay 2007
Cliffs End to Canterbury
Today we are making a start on an end to end trip of the UK visiting Cathedrals along the way. We will not be doing it in one session as there is the garden to attend to back home - and when your back is turned the weeds grow twice as fast! The intention is to travel from the SE of England to the NW of Scotland over a period of about 4 weeks (but a week at a time) - taking time to look at the scenery, the wildlife, the architecture - and possibly finishing sometime in 2008.
Last time I did an end to end trip I started at Lands End - so a suitable place needed to be chosen for this Tandem trip. It didn't take long to find Cliffs End on the map. This is about 15m east of Canterbury and although it is the official start we actually started from Canterbury - where we had left the car at the first B&B. The weather was fine as we made our way to the coast calling in at Sandwich and having a bite to eat at "No Name Shop" in "No Name Street" in the middle of the town and watching a May Fair procession pass by.
Setting off again for the coast "we" made our first navigation mistake - well I must confess it was me who got it wrong! Following cycle route 1 northwards was not a good idea as we discovered after more than 2 miles as the route turned westwards. So we retraced our tracks back to Sandwich to find the road north to Great Stonar and along the cycle track to the coast at Pegwell Bay where the hedgerows were full of poppies, and onto the nature reserve at Pegwell with views across the bay to the cliffs at Cliffs End. With 20 miles on the clock we were at the start and we celebrated with our second tea stop of the day.
We could now start our journey to the west and it wasn't long before we arrived at the village of Minster where we parked up outside the church, sitting on a bench eating our lunch, and watching a wedding party disappear into the pub opposite for their meal.
Not being fully conditioned we were already beginning to feel tired as we began the last part of the ride back into Canterbury. We needed to be back for about 3pm to give ourselves time to look around the Cathedral before it closed for the day. We were back on route 1 now and it should have been plain sailing into the city - but who made another error in the map reading!? Not too serious this time - it meant we had to use the main road for longer than intended - and we arrived back well before 3.
The Cathedral history dates back to AD597 when St. Augustine became the first Archbishop. The present church dates from 1070. The cathedral is well known for being the place where Thomas Becket was assassinated on 29th December 1170 - but he was one of four archbishops of Canterbury who were murdered. For more detailed information on the Cathedral use this link to the Wikipedia site or this link to pictures of the Cathedral
Leaving the Cathedral we made our way along to Westgate, which has stood for six centuries, and marvelled at the skill of the double decker bus drivers driving their buses through the arch - a very tight fit! The designers of this arch had a lot of foresight!
And then back to the B&B for a well earned rest before venturing out for our evening meal.
The mileage so far was 45.4 miles.