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Thursday 13th September 2007: “The Borders”

Today’s ride was relatively dull and towards the end quite stressful. I basically followed the motorway all day on an excellent B Road using cycle lanes for most of the whole route. The scenery was initially delightful but gradually became flatter as the day wore on. The perennial noise of the motorway took a bit of shine off the experience as well.

I passed through Lockerbie and Gretna, somehow getting caught in swarms of school kids each time. Gretna was very disappointing as, frankly, there is nothing there except a closed, tacky marriage shop.

I felt a small surge of pride as I entered England, knowing then that I had cycled the length of Scotland. This buzz didn’t last long as the cycle lane instantly vanished the moment I left Gretna and I was forced to take narrow, congested roads into England. In theory cyclists can take the A74 to Carlisle but one glance at that six lane monster was enough to persuade me to detour via Longtown.

On arriving at Carlisle the weather closed in and I felt it would be pointless to continue to Penrith that day. There was no youth hostel accommodation available in Carlisle so we detoured by car into the Lake District and stayed at delightful Keswick. This probably seems like a strange choice but we needed to get a lot of laundry done that evening and guesthouses aren’t too keen on washing clothes for their clients!

I felt quiet disappointed at the lack of progress I made that day but I was encouraged by a phone call from Alex Guite, who completed the LEJOG route very recently, and he told me the best cycling was yet to come. This was the last day of vehicle support so I was a little apprehensive about the day ahead.

Ride Statistics

Started: 10:15 hours
Finished: 17:30 hours
Distance: 66.26 miles
Cycling time: 5 hours 20 minutes
Top speed: 29.0 mph
Average speed: 12.4 mph
Odometer: 394.6 miles

The Border
The Lake District (view from the car)
Delightful Keswick Youth Hostel
Day 1 Day 2 Day 3 Day 4 Day 5 Day 6 Day 7
Day 8 Day 9 Day 10 Day 11 Day 12 Day 13 Back to the map

Copyright © John Collins