A RETIRED York travel agent has taken an unorthodox route to his own holiday in Cornwall – a six day bike ride.

Eric Walton, 68, a partner at Acomb Travel, completed his challenge of riding over 400 miles from York to Padstow and raised money for St Leonard’s Hospice on Tadcaster Road.

He set off from his home in Strensall on Sunday September 10 and averaged around 72 miles per day, without a day’s rest, and travelled not less than 49 miles in a single day.

York Press: Eric said he got soaked on at least three of the days of his challengeEric said he got soaked on at least three of the days of his challenge (Image: Sam Walton)

Eric said: “There were some stiff hills, especially around The Cotswolds and into Devon.

“On day two, from Poolsbrook to Meriden, I got absolutely soaked near Derby.

“It was still another three hours to Meriden.”

The weather forecast for the day after was dreadful and despite waiting for a later start on his shortest day, within two minutes of setting off, Eric was drenched.

York Press: The trip seemed to take its toll on Spikey tooThe trip seemed to take its toll on Spikey too (Image: Sam Walton)

Eric’s three-times-a-week training rides with four or five pals took him to Hovingham, Easingwold, Boroughbridge, Malton and the Yorkshire Wolds.

However, apart from some company from a hitherto unknown cyclist on the final day, the six-day journey was ridden solo.

Eric’s wife Sam and their dog Spikey joined up with him each evening in the couple’s overnight accommodation – a motorhome - but the cycling enthusiast carried his own food and mechanical supplies each day.

There was one unintentional mid-ride meet in Chew Stoke, near Bristol.

York Press: A well-deserved rest from such a gruelling tripA well-deserved rest from such a gruelling trip (Image: Sam Walton)

Sam said: “For me, the motorhome itself was a massive challenge, just me and the dog in this massive vehicle, pootling down.

“I did get once to meet him and surprise him, which was brilliant but I ended up in the middle of Bristol.”

At first Sam thought Eric he was mad for taking the decision to pedal to Padstow and followed his progress via a synched-up training device.

She said: “I was watching his Garmin every day, thinking ‘ooh, where’s he gone, what’s happened, he’s done a detour, is everything alright’.

“I was coming down the motorway, pulling into just about every service station to check where he was.

“Seeing him coming up Padstow harbour I was elated, just so proud.”

Drinks and a massage were waiting for Eric on arrival.

Eric, Sam, Spikey and four of their friends are staying on in Padstow until Friday September 22.

A JustGiving page is receiving donations for St Leonard’s Hospice and can be found here.

The breakdown of the route, via the ride app Strava, was:

Day 1 Strensall to Poolsbrook (East Chesterfield) - 88.33miles - 3,547ft climbed

Day 2 Poolsbrook to Meriden (Coventry) - 83.77miles - 3,983ft climbed 

Day 3 Meriden to Cheltenham - 57.33miles - 1,355ft climbed

Day 4 Cheltenham to Highbridge (Somerset) - 78.14miles - 4,711ft climbed

Day 5 Highbridge to Okehampton (Devon) - 76.13miles - 5,403ft climbed

Day 6 Okehampton to Padstow - 49.28miles - 2,651ft climbed