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CORNISH CLASSIC

Barney journeys back to his Cornish roots to bring you this West Country classic ride.

Long has my family boasted of ties to Cornwall, despite our predominantly Northern roots. My mother and grandmother were born there. My aunt lives there. My mother, sister and niece are named after villages there. We regularly used to holiday in the deepest, most inaccessible parts of the county. My childhood memories of Cornwall, then, are of massively steep hills, dropping down to dark, shadowy coves. Of pebbled beaches surrounded by massive, imposing rocky edifices. Of scraping bare feet on barnacles. Of watery ‘cola’, toweringly high hedges, and an almost visceral sense of claustrophobia. No wide open places here, no expansive views. I never remember feeling more inside a place, almost under it, as I did in Cornwall.

And when I grew older, and found a calling of sorts on two wheels, I never really considered the place worthy of visiting to ride. I’d fallen in love with the wide open, with majestic vistas, with mountains and sky, and above all, with space. And as cosy and comforting as my childhood experiences of Cornwall were, ‘space’ was not high on the things I felt the place possessed.

But, of course, there comes a time when preconceptions need to be challenged. There is a keen riding community in the far, far south west of our beleaguered isle, and they must perforce have some fun stuff to ride, mustn’t they? Well, it turns out, of course, that they do.

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About Singletrack

Editorial: Echo Chambers International Adventure: Folgefonna Sunrise UK Riding: Guiding Light Column: Jason Miles International Adventure: You Should Never Go Back… Or Should You? Interview: Chris Akrigg Column: Finding The Lines Classic Ride: Cornish Classic Column: Ode To Climbs Bike Test: Staff Rides Interview: Cedric Gracia International Adventure: What’s Zermatt’er With You? Column: One Last Run International Adventure: The Frigid Secrets Of Ukraine Last Word: Game Plan