Marazion - Plymouth - Manchester (Stalybridge)

Published: May 30th 2015
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A beautiful morning in Marazion
Another big driving day today as we made our way from Marazion, Cornwall to Stalybridge, Cheshire. Bernie asked Ken to calculate the journey with and without a detour to Plymouth. It was only going to add half an hour to the travel time (plus whatever time we actually spent in Plymouth!) so we decided that we could call in for a very short visit.

Plymouth has a long military association which goes back to 1588 when the ships of the English Navy set sail for the Spanish Armada through the mouth of the River Plym. In 1689, in the time of William III, the Devonport Royal Dockyards were built in the Hamoaze area on a section of the River Tamar. Both the Tamar and the Plym flow out through The Sound into the English Channel. The Endeavour, the Resolution, the Adventure and the Discovery were all victualled (supplied) by the naval dockyards at Plymouth before departing on the epic voyages of discovery in 1768, 1772 and 1776. Plymouth's other claim to fame is that it is the last spot that the Pilgrims set foot on British soil before sailing in the Mayflower to North America.

On arriving in Plymouth we headed for the Barbican. The Barbican is the name given to the western and northern sides of the old harbour area of Plymouth and it is one of the few parts of the city to escape most of the destruction of The Blitz during the Second World War. Her Majesty's Naval Base, Devonport, the largest naval base in Western Europe, is one of three operating bases in the United Kingdom for the Royal Navy. In fact, while we were walking along the top of the Barbican a naval helicopter circled the area before landing inside the naval base. It was a quick drop off or pick up though because it was on its way again before we were!!

During our short stop in Plymouth we tried and failed to imagine what it must have been like to set sail for the Spanish Armada or in search of Terra Incognita Australis or to establish a new colony in North America? In this day and age of GPS it is virtually impossible to travel to an unknown destination. Some places are still remote, but imagine sailing from England in the 32 metre HM Bark Endeavour searching the vast expanses of the southern oceans for a great southern continent!! Cook was excited by his 'trusty friend the Watch' which enabled him to chart longitude with incredible accuracy. I can't help but wonder - what would he think of GPS?!

After a ridiculously short visit to this city steeped in history we had to return to the car and set the Sat-Nav for Kath and Albert's address in Stalybridge. We sent Kath a text message to say that we expected to arrive at about 5.00pm and asking if we could have potato hash for dinner. After weeks of eating out we were looking forward to a home-cooked meal.

From Plymouth we continued on the A38 to Exeter where we picked up the M5 which would take us to 'The North'. We didn't stop again until the services at Gloucester. This proved to be a good choice as the services at Gloucester have only recently opened so it was all very new and fancy. The food is all sourced from local farms and we were quite spoilt for choice. Usually when you stop for food along a motorway you resign yourself to having to eat a very ordinary packaged sandwich. Not so today, there was an almost endless of array of food and all of it looked really appetising. We still chose sandwiches, but at least they were fresh and tasty sandwiches!

Travelling ever northwards we continued on the M5 until it flowed into the M6 between Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Unfortunately, the further north we travelled the heavier the traffic became. The only point of interest as we travelled north was coming up behind an escort car warning that it was following an 'abnormal load'. Yep, it's not often that you pass a tank on a flatbed truck!

At Junction 19 we left the M6 when Ken directed us to take the exit and proceed on the A556. This took us across to the M56 which in turn flowed into the M60 ring road around the south of the City of Greater Manchester. About this stage a message arrived from Kath - 'Will you be here for tea?' Oh dear, it seems that my text message as we left Plymouth was not delivered. I rang to say that we would be arriving shortly. Kath asked if potato hash would be OK for tea. Wow, without even receiving my text, Kath was making potato hash. I guess we have devoured it enthusiastically in the past so Kath knew it would go down well.

The traffic was heavy, but flowing pretty well so, before we knew it, and much to Bernie's relief after nearly eight hours of driving, we were pulling into the Tesco carpark at Stalybridge to pick up beer and wine so as not to arrive empty handed at Kath and Albert's!! Shortly after that we were parking the Yaris in the driveway at our home away from home. Albert had a beer in Bernie's hand before we even unpacked the boot!! He had certainly earned it after driving all day.

A lovely, relaxing evening - a delicious home cooked dinner followed by a couple of games of cards ... and a few drinks, of course! Kath won at 'Jo' and Bernie had an unprecedented win at 'Blobs'.

Steps for the day 6,364 (4.33 km)

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