Climate Explorers

Day 14 – Conquering a World’s First Journey: The Isles of Scilly Water Bike Crossing

After 14 days, 1,200 miles, 60,000 feet of elevation and LOTS of food, the final day of the Pedal 4 Park journey has come. Across the two weeks of cycling we have experienced all sorts of weather, injuries and bike mishaps, but none of this mattered as the team rolled out of their tents at 5am ready to cycle across the water to the Isles of Scilly. The team would be crossing from Sennen Cove, right next to Land’s End, and pedalling all the way to Porthcressa Beach on St Mary’s island.

Our cycle team stayed the night at the Lower Treave Caravan and Camping Park which was only a few minutes away from Sennen Cove. Once all their tents and essentials were packed up it was time to make their way down to the cove and pump up the water bikes! As we travelled to the cove there was a thick mist around the coast, making us a little concerned about the weather for the crossing. However, as the sun rose the mist started to settle and it became clear that we were in for another sunny day! Not only was the sun shining, but the water was calm. Again we had struck gold with the water conditions and we were confident that the cyclists would make it across without any trouble.

Setting up at Sennen Cove. Photo Credits: Ollie Axon

Similarly to the Orkney crossing, our team was joined by a support vessel to ensure their safety on the water and make sure the conditions were suitable for our team. Supporting us over to the Isles of Scilly were two awesome water experts, Jack Carter and Glenn Eldridge. Jack is the owner of Coast Boat Trips Cornwall, taking visitors out into the Cornish seas to spot various wildlife and attractions along the coast. Glenn is the runner of the Oceans Sports Centre in Carbis Bay, where he offers a variety of activities and tours to make the most out of the Cornish waters! As you can tell, both these guys are very familiar with the waters that our team were about to cross and we took all their advice onboard as we prepared to set off. 

Getting ready to board the support vessel. Photo Credits: Ollie Axon

Setting off at around 8am, our team estimated that the crossing would take around 11 hours. As the distance was so much longer than our previous water crossing, it was near impossible to predict the conditions for the entirety of the day, and we all know the British weather can be very unpredictable! The larger distance also meant that our team would need to make sure they had all the food, water and first aid supplies for the day with them, as they wouldn’t come across any coffee shops on this cycle…

Out on the calm sea water. Photo Credits: Ollie Axon

Once the cyclists were on the water, the support crew headed over to Penzance Harbour where they jumped on the Scillonian ferry with the entire team’s bags. The ferry across only took 2.5 hours and our eagle eyed team could just about see our cyclists from the deck as we sped ahead of them. Once docked in the St Mary’s harbour we were joined by a very exciting guest! Wally the walrus has been popping up along European coastlines for the past few months, and today he decided to welcome us onto the island. It is thought that Wally, an Arctic walrus, has travelled over 2,500 miles around Europe looking for his home. We don’t quite know how he has ended up so far from his natural habitat but we were happy to see him basking in the sunshine as we stepped onto the island. 

Wally the walrus! Photo Credits: Gav @ Osprey Imagery

With the support team on the island, it was now a waiting game for the cyclists to arrive. The beach they would cycle into was no more than a 5 minute walk from the harbour, so our support crew got to enjoy some time on the beach as they waited. It came as a surprise when the team received word that the cyclists ETA was 4 o’clock, about three hours earlier than we had expected! It wasn’t long before we saw the support vessel turn the corner, followed by Alex P and Isaac on the water bikes! Our excited support team jumped up to wave at the cyclists and soon a crowd had gathered on the beach cheering on the team as they came closer to the finishing line. With Isaac and Alex P on the bikes, Sal, Lukas and Alex E all jumped into the water to swim alongside them. The extra pairs of hands came in really useful when the bikes got caught up in some seaweed, but they escaped the tangle quickly. The closer the cyclist came to land, the more noticeable the big grins on their faces became. Not only had our cycle team conquered the well-known JOGLE, they had completed a world’s first expedition, travelling from the furthest corners of the UK and then some! With only a few more metres to go, Lukas, Alex E and Sal climbed up onto the water bikes and the cyclists crossed onto the beach together as one awesome, but very tired, team!

Crossing the finishing line! Photo credits: Amber Jade.

Stepping onto the beach our team was overwhelmed with emotion. It is surreal to think that in 2 weeks we had travelled all the way from the Orkney Islands to the Isle of Scilly, and manage to all stay in one piece! It didn’t take long for the fizz to come out and the team celebrated in true expedition style. The rest of the day was spent exploring St Mary’s and more importantly relaxing on the beach. For the cyclists they would go to bed tonight knowing that they wouldn’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn AND they wouldn’t have to get on a bike for a long time! 

The celebrations begin! Photo credits: Amber Jade

At this moment the Pedal 4 Parks world’s first expedition finished, but by no means is our environmental journey over! Over the course of this trip we have met with numerous environmental advocates to learn more about the issues being faced in our UK national parks and green spaces. For this journey we also partnered with National Parks UK to support the protection and awareness of the stunning parks the UK has to offer. It is our mission to understand what problems these spaces are facing and share with you all the ways we can work together to prevent them. Alongside Skyrise Productions we will be producing our film 14 Day South: Over Land and Sea, so you’ve not heard the last of us yet! 

Filming in action on the island. Photo credits: Ollie Axon

Every incredible journey has equally incredible people behind it. Alongside our five cyclists was an incredible film and support team who offered their time to document and support the Pedal 4 Parks mission. You will find all of their awesome faces on our team page! We were also blessed to have been supported by our sponsors, endorsers and the simple kindness of people. THANK YOU! Together we are making a difference and let’s keep it going. The more people who know about our journey and mission, the bigger the impact we can have. The journey for Pedal 4 Parks has only just begun, so stay in touch and keep your eyes peeled for the next steps! 

The Pedal 4 Parks dream team! Photo credits: Amber Jade.

What you can do to help…

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Check out our most recent blogs…

Day 11 – Misty in the Moors: Exploring Exmoor and Dartmoor National Parks

Day 12 – A Warm Welcome to Cornwall: From Devon to Newquay

Day 13 – The Last Day on Land: Reaching Land’s End 

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