Sunday, 18 September 2011

Day 6 Carlisle, Cumbria-Peebles, Borders

After another broken nights sleep, I had breakfast with the B&B owners 2 cocker spaniels looking longingly at my plate. There was a guy from Dundee there too who was a long term guest, doing some security work at a building site. His thick Scottish accent made me realise how far I had come and how much I was looking forward to getting north of the border.
Before leaving, I arranged to meet Mark & Lou in Langholm, 20 miles north before we went our separate ways. Yet again, I managed to arrive in Langholm before Mark & Lou! Passing into Scotland was a big boost for me, it was also a cue for the weather to worsen and I got my overshoes and waterproof out for the first time.

Louise went to buy me some energy drinks whilst I sat in the car with Mark and warmed myself through. After a banana and some photos, we headed off and I continued north on the A7. I was originally planning to take the B709 up through the hills but the clouds were low so I decided to stay in the valley and continue on another smooth, quiet A road.

Although the rain continued on and off all day, I was in good spirits as today was my first slightly easier day, just 74 miles and as it turned out, also one of the most picturesque rides yet.

I stopped for a sandwich in Hawick, a typical bustling border town brimming with tartan and cashmere based shops. From here, there were some long climbs out of Hawick and over the hills before descending into Selkirk, the town with the worst road surfaces in the UK. I got through the town without losing any parts off my bike and joined the A707, which was much better, and the views were lovely – the rain had stopped by this point and the clouds had lifted. 

As I turned west to Innerleithen, I was faced with another stiff headwind that made the day tougher than I was hoping for. I arrived at Craiguart B&B a little earlier than on previous days, allowing me to enjoy a cup of tea looking out south over the Tweed valley.
I met up with an old university friend for tea in Peebles where I sampled my first haggis, neeps and tatties of the journey. I then followed this up with a great sticky toffee pudding and finally a measure of Laphroaig whisky.
74.1 miles, 4 hours 48 minutes, average 15.41 mph, 4672ft of ascent

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