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Wednesday the 26th of July.

900 miles! No wonder I had a sore arse

We got up, dressed and started breaking camp. Dan disappeared while the hard work was being done but was soon forgiven when he turned up with a bacon and egg sandwich from the camp café. Genius bit of resourcing there Dan!

We headed through Newquay and down some narrow lanes towards Redruth. We were lucky to get out of Newquay alive as the coach drivers seemed very impatient. One accident was only avoided because the paint shop had skimped on paint during the spraying of the coach. Had there been an extra layer of paint on that coach and we'd be dead now. If I'd caught up with that driver he'd be picking up his teeth with broken fingers (to paraphrase Alan Partridge).

The profile of the landscape was as yesterday, non stop hilly. They were never particularly big, but they were always steep and as soon as you descended one, you were climbing the next.

Despite this we made good time, no soon had we passed Cambourne and we were in Hayle were we felt was a good place to stop and get lunch. We decided that now we were in Cornwall, we should have a Cornish Pasty. At a garage we stopped to buy water and asked where the best place was to get a Pasty, we were told to go nowhere but Philps'. A mile or so down the road we found and stopped at Philps' for our Cornish Pasty. And what a pasty it was! I had the Medium sized pasty. I couldn't eat it all. It was handed over the counter and as took the full weight in my hand I suffered several hernias. I can't recommend these pasties enough, generous sizes and very tasty. But have the small, its big enough. I think the large must be intended to feed an entire family.

Nearly there

About now we started receiving calls from family members waiting for us at Land's End who asked "Are you nearly here yet?". We were around 20 miles away and got one of these calls every 5 minutes.

We're nearly there too

Just outside Hayle we stopped to take our photo in front of a sign showing the distance to Land's End. We were nearly there and somehow didn't want it to end. We had mixed feelings of excitement, pride and sadness that it would soon be over. We started to soak up the event, reminisce over the last two weeks and just enjoy the last few miles. We joked about the achievement ("it wasn't that far") and for the first time, we all felt that we would complete the ride. It's hard to explain the emotion, the overall feeling at this time was "we'd done it!"

I was a bit worried that we'd get too cocky, lose concentration and end up stacking in a large pile in the road, arriving at Land's End in an ambulance. Fortunately, it didn't happen.

But things did start to get a bit strange now. Cars passing us from the opposite direction slowed and cheered. People were hanging out of car windows and appeared to be cheering us on. We thought maybe it was the Sheila's Wheelers t-shirts giving the game away, but no, it took us a fraction of a second to realise that Bryn and the rest of the welcome party had been talking to people while they waited for us at Land's End.

We were called by Bryn and asked to stop about a mile from final destination and call him so he could get the welcome party together. As we set off following our call we cycled 4 abreast and didn't care if we held up traffic. We'd got less than a mile to go and we were going to savour it. As it goes, we didn't hold up any traffic. We turned into the approach road to Land's End and Dan was the first to spot "a sea of Sheila's Wheelers T-shirts". It was quite overwhelming.

We were ushered passed the gate to the Land's End Centre by the staff with words of congratulation and we could hear the crowd. Bryn didn't just get the welcome party together he had an announcement made over the tannoy. Not only did our welcome party of about 30 or so people turn out, but a good few of the visitors at the centre came out to see what was going on. We were still cycling 4 abreast but were prevented from crossing the line at the same time by an inconveniently parked coach and I allowed Dad to cycle a head so that he didn't ride into the back of it. The noise of the crowd grew louder as we approached within a few feet of the finish line, and then with the sound of hands clapping, the roar of cheering in our ears, we crossed the line. We'd done it!

Apporaching the finish line

It was odd. People we'd never met congratulated us on our achievement. They took our picture and filmed us with camcorders. They wanted to know why and how we'd done it. Such was the friendliness of the people we met there, quite suddenly, it seemed that Team Sheila's Wheelers had grown by 150 new members.

Made it!

We got the obligatory photo taken at the Land' End Post and we signed the End to End book at the headquarters of the End to End Club. We relaxed, caught up with family, soaked up the sun, soaked up the atmosphere.

Once the emotion had settled, we packed the van and set off for a holiday park that we'd be spending the next few days in. I picked up the road atlas that Bryn used in the van and looked at the map of the UK. It seemed an impossible feat that we'd performed. We each sat back in reflection and soon the congratulatory banter became more infrequent until we sat in silence, there was nothing more to be said.

We finally arrived at our caravan and there was one more surprise. The welcome party had put out banners and put the fizzy stuff on ice. We toasted the success of the trip. And toasted the wonderful woman whose name we'd cycled under, my Mum Sheila.

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