97 miles and 3,672 feet ascent.
After yesterday’s relatively short day of only 61 miles today was the highest mileage day of the whole trip. After a short climb up from Ullswater it was a gentle descent all the way to Carlisle along quieter roads and a flat cycle around the Solway Estuary. At Longtown we made a sharp left instead of the usual LEJOG routes north to Glasgow or through the Borders to Edinburgh. We’ve opted to go up the west coast and so we headed past Dumfries and into the Galloway Forest Park to the wonderfully-named St John’s Town of Dalry, camping at Galloway Activity Centre.
Today’s journey in three words: headwind, long, green fields.
What actually happened:
After being on a high after yesterday, today was much tougher and not nearly as interesting or enjoyable. The best thing you can say is that it was relatively flat. We made an early start from Patterdale and climbed up the hill from Ullswater. We made good time on the quiet country lanes parallel to the M6. In spite of a headwind we rode 31 miles to get to Carlisle for a second breakfast at 10am.
I should say a little about how my body is holding up with the long successive day’s cycling. Actually, after a week’s back to back rides I’m feeling ok. My legs are tired of course but getting more used to the miles with practice. But what’s annoying is that I have a constantly running nose (even though I don’t gave a cold) and my eyes water frequently. I won’t describe the state of my cycling gloves !?!?!
We met my oldest brother and family for lunch at a cafe in Longown; it was really good to see familiar faces. Unfortunately we then turned west directly in to the 15mph headwind which was going to make the afternoon the toughest yet. (Serves us right for going west to Arran rather the north to Glasgow or Edinburgh).
Gretna – and the Scottish border – came and went. The wind stayed unfortunately. The 30 miles from Longtown to Dumfries were really hard work. We refuelled at a Tesco cafe in Dumfries (not recommended, but the only cafe we could find open at 4.30pm on a Sunday) then set out for the final 23 miles. Working up the motivation to get the final stretch of a long ride done took some doing ! We found a good cycle path on the old road out of Dumfries (parallel to the A75) which helped us make reasonable progress. We arrived at our campsite for the night at 7.30pm.
- Meeting family for lunch
- A warm communal area to eat our evening meal out if the cold wind
- Reaching Scotland
And the low points:
- The headwind
- The cafés could have been better
- Farmyard smells !
- 95 miles cycled
- 11.3 mph average speed
- 30.3 mph top speed