Devon and Cornwall
So, another year over for The Chain Gang, and time to start planning for 2010.
Thanks to everyone for a terrific 2009. I struggle to convey the feeling I get when people who have cycled with us before come back again. And again.
Of course we try and run great holidays. Sometimes it works better than others, but when old customers ring up it is a magical feeling, and 2009 was probably our strongest ever year for returning customers. “Thank you” doesn’t express it, but thank you anyway.
What are we planning for 2010? Something that we should have done years ago. We’re going to run week-long tours in our back-yard, a tour of Devon and a tour of Cornwall. I’ve done a lot of the preliminary research, what I call ‘book learning’, and I’m already very excited.
You might imagine we should all know our home county well enough to show people round it for a week, but it isn’t nearly true. Our tours will have to feature the same characteristics as our tours in France and Italy – beautiful countryside, quiet roads, good hotels, great local food, and very interesting places to visit.
Devon and Cornwall have got all that in spades, but discovering all the incredible things on my own doorstep has been great fun. Like the Lost Gardens of Heligan, the ‘Eden Project’, Clovelly, and looking at Dartmouth, Padstow and the amazing open theatre at Minnack, through the eyes of a visitor.
I’ve got to spend the next three weeks tearing around the South West of England finding hotels, great restaurants, checking opening times, planning the quietest routes, exploring cycle paths and trying to avoid the worst hills (we do actually try to avoid hills you know – it’s just very difficult in Provence and Tuscany).
I’ll let you know about the most exciting things I find during my travels, and with luck by the end of November I’ll be able to tell you all about our new tours of Devon and Cornwall.