Day 13 – Thursday 23rd August – Castle Carroch to Ettrick Valley
Daily Distance = 58 miles (expected = 50.5)
Total Distance = 706 miles (expected = 652)
Weather: Very hot and sunny with little wind.
Contour: Hilly all day, but much longer, steadier climbs. Bad for your bottom, because you sit back in the saddle and it is difficult to give your butt cheeks a break. Nice descents though make it all worth it.
Early start, setting off at 7.40am. Had a full English breakfast, which was already cooked when we got downstairs. Very good.
Today’s cycling was even better than yesterday. We entered Scotland, up through Ettrick Valley. This is amazing. Some long climbs of around 6 miles each, but then long gradual falls of 6 miles as well. The route follows streams up the hills, and then joins other streams and follows them back down. We only saw about half a dozen cars all day, plus a handful of logger lorries. The latter can be a bit scary when you’re cycling on a single-track road.
We purchased sandwiches (turkey and coleslaw) from Langholm and then ate them while sitting on a stone wall some 10 miles past Langholm. This was the only place we could find to rest our legs, there are no benches this far up the country.
Having done most of the miles by lunchtime we took it slow in the afternoon, eventually stopping at a caravan site just before Ettrick. The owner made us a cup of tea, and offered us seats on her patio, and then gave us postcards to take with us. This is beautiful countryside, high mountains, green fields, and flowing streams. Silent apart from the sound of the stream and the occasion cry from buzzards.
We arrived at Tushielaw Inn, an old coaching inn, at 4pm. The owner was extremely friendly, and we sat chatting with him while he got the bar ready for opening. A very smart twin room, with en-suite. Tea on arrival, and the bikes went in the shed. £23 per person.
No punctures and no breakdowns, and John’s knee appears to have mended itself.
An excellent evening meal in Tushielaw Inn of garlic bread, haddock and chips, fruit dumpling with custard.
At 3.45am I was still awake, with John snoring like a pneumatic drill.