21 October 2010

Carlisle to Lanark

The cold start on Tuesday had nothing on what Wednesday has to offer. We awoke to see both the front of the caravan and car windscreen frosted over. The single upside is that it is sunny, but the very strong northerly tells me there is a bleak day in prospect. I am cold to start with, and it doesnt get better - one of those days when you just dont warm up. The performance of my top-of-the-range heavy weather gloves isn't impressive and I was getting really c0ncerned later into the afternoon when numb fingers meant that pushing the gear levers across was hard going. The persistant wind in my face was so tiring. It's not impressive to find that even on slight ascents I was in bottom gear and struggling to make 15k/h.
The good news is that I d0nt need to worry too much about navigation as the majority of the ride is along the B7076 and latterly, the B7078 that interwine the M6 and M74. These are superb and empty roads, nestled between the main rail line into Scotland and the motorways. Thoroughly recommended if you are heading north and are bored with the motorways.

It seems quite surprising that after only two days after leaving Liverpool, I encounter the "Welcome to Scotland" signs at Gretna. The days when Gretna was the home for runaway marriages are remembered by the signs for the blacksmith's cottage and signs on another building announcing that 30,000 marriages were conducted at that location. Ecclefechan followed soon after and I looked without success for the hotel where we stayed with Bike Adventures on the way to John O'Groats in 2007.
The highlight of the day is at Lanark Racecourse where we meet with old friend Sean Noonan who has promoted the ride among the Lanark schools and resulted in a bevy of youngsters who are kitted out in appropriate gear and ready for a spin around the disused racetrack. Many thanks to the parents and the children from Lanark Primary who turned out to support Seawheeling. What a kind gesture. We completed the day with a fine roast at the home of Liz and Sean - the hardships of the day soon forgotten!

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