Sunday, 6 November 2011

Gem Bridge again

Recently I cycled out to check on how the clever people were getting with building the bridge. As per usual,   I cycled up the Plym Valley Trail, and opted to cycle on the road, up the really steep hill near Clearbrook.

It was actually quite misty and the view from some vantage points along the route was very mystical. I had time on my side, and I was armed with a large flask of coffee, which I enjoyed during regular stops.

I've cycled this route so many times, but probably for the first time I paid any real attention to the sign where the tarred trail ends, and you have the option of continuing along the old, unsurfaced track bed, or along the road, to Clearbrook.
If you know this cycle route, then you'd probably also know that there are two trails between Plymouth and Tavistock, namely the Plym Valley Trail, and Drake's Trail. The two meet somewhere in the vicinity of Clearbrook, but as you can see in the picture  above, there is a Drake's Trail sign affixed to the left support post of the sign. There also used to be one just outside the gate post at Shaugh Halt, but that one has since disappeared.

Anyway, I digress. From here it isn't very far to Yelverton, from where I headed off towards Horrabridge. I cycled down Drake's Trail from Horrabridge, along the old train track course. One unexpected benefit of the heavy plant equipment and trucks that have been rumbling along here is that the track surface has been compacted very well!

Before long, I crossed Magpie viaduct, and shortly after came to where the track is blocked off at Stickleback bridge. I suppose I could have opened the fencing to go through, but I didn't want to interfere with anything, so at this point I turned around, and started cycling back.

I soon encountered a lovely couple, who were out walking. They were going to have a look at what progress has been made with the bridge, and were quite open about their intentions. Apparently, they do so most weekends.

They left the trail to follow a footpath running parallel, and I tagged along. In no time at all we were in a position where I could take these photos.


To be honest, I was rather underwhelmed by the progress, but I must qualify that: Gem Bridg is a seriously brilliant piece of engineering and I'm quite certain that there are a great many factors impacting on the progress, often outside of the control of the construction team.

What I'm trying to say, in a rather clumsy way, is that I am not at all criticising the crew that is working hard to build this bridge for us.

Despite this, I was rather hoping to see more progress, and yes, I'm quite aware that I'm getting impatient. Hopefully it won't be long now!