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Day 14 – Friday 24th August – Ettrick Valley to Wilsontown

Daily Distance = 55 miles (expected = 50.5)

Total Distance = 761 miles (expected = 702.5)

Weather: Warm and sunny, but overcast later in the day. W wind.

Contour: Slow, gradual up and down to start, then shorter, sharper hills.


Breakfast consisted of a boiled egg and toast. We set off at around 8.30am, and continued through the valleys. I had a kestrel keep me company for about a mile, as he flew just above my head.

The owner of Tushielaw told us about the long climbs coming up, and he was right. We climbed for 6 miles, then dropped back down for 7, then started again up a 4 mile climb, and a drop of 5.

We stopped for coffee and scones in Peebles, and then bought some tuna sandwiches for lunch. Sat eating sandwiches overlooking the valley on the grass verge. The views continue to be spectacular. At one stage we saw two herons flying together along the river, eventually coming to rest in the branches of a tree, which shook under the weight.

Cycling was harder work in the afternoon and the roads started to get busier, and a much grottier area of the country. Shorter, steeper climbs, and quick descents. Stopped in Biggar for orange juice and the café owners gave us £5 for the charities.

Just before Wilsontown there was a cow lying dead in the field, surely the farmer has noticed!!

Lost John in Wilsontown, he later admitted he did it on purpose because I’d left him behind going up the hills. I have difficulty cycling as slowly as John up the hills, and prefer to get to the top and wait for him. Unfortunately John’s knee is playing on his mind and he takes it very slowly just in case. I’ll try to stay behind him tomorrow.

The B&B, Mansewood Hotel, is a bit of a dump. The town is an old coal mining town. The bar was full of gentlemen watching the racing results on the television, and speaking in a foreign language, which later turned out to be Scottish. £25 per person. Inside the hotel the rooms were quite pleasant, single rooms with en-suite. The restaurant looked very nice, and the evening meal of beef stroganoff, followed by apple pie and ice cream was excellent. When we went to pay the next morning the owner gave us the evening meal free, to go towards the charity. Amazing, the guy must have been struggling to make a living after the mines closed and he was one of the most generous we have met. You can never tell.

I ordered some flowers for Emma tonight to tell her I was missing her and would be home soon.

No punctures and no breakdowns.

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