A very straightforward day today. I set out at 9am, cycled 101 miles and got back at just after 5pm. I did not mow any lawns and I did not do any archive work.
I went down the A7 and turned off to Kirkpatrick Fleming where I turned down the old A74 to Gretna. I had a very welcoming day as I was welcome to nearly every place I went through. This was an international trip and I found myself welcome to England though what I would do with it, I just don’t know. I went from Gretna to Carlisle down the new service road they built when they upgraded the Cumberland Gap to motorway. I was delighted to see a flock of lapwings or peewits on the Solway shore as they have been very rare round here lately. There was a lot of lorry traffic on the service road which was explained when I saw that the vehicle check area on the Motorway was in use.
At Harker, I left the new road and headed across to the A7 and then down past the Houghton Garden Centre to Linstock. At the Linstock roundabout there were a number of police cars for no reason that I could see.
As those who went through Carlisle in the old days know, there is only one bridge across the Eden, but I used this footbridge in Rickerby Park and then I slipped through the centre of Carlisle and out the other side with very little bother. I climbed out of Carlisle and took the road that runs parallel and close to the M6 on the West side.
Shortly afterwards I passed the back entrance to my brother Andrew’s second home, the Southwaite Services. As you can see, if times get hard he can stop staying at the Travel Lodge and start working there instead. There are always vacancies.
After 40 miles, I stopped at this handy pub in Calthwaite. Unlike the phantom PH in Dalton yesterday, this one was open, did serve beer (Speckled Hen, half pint for medicinal purposes only) and also a nice cup of coffee and a plate of home-made blackberry and apple crumble with custard. Not the most common order at 12 noon by the expression of the man behind the bar.
I headed onwards to the motorway roundabout at Junction 41 where, in order to make the full 50 miles out, I swung round and headed up towards Sedbergham.
This was God’s own country or at least my own country as every second place was called Hutton this or Hutton that. There was Hutton Roof and Hutton in the Forest but when I got to a sign saying Hutton End, I thought it was time to turn back and head for home.
Heading for home was made more pleasant by the fact that the wind, though very light, was now behind me. I whistled along the first few miles but, needing some fuel for the journey home, I was pleased and excited to see a set of buildings with the bold sign “The Pot Place” but discovered that it in fact sold pots and nothing much more stimulating.
However it does have a very pleasant tea room and there I had a plate of “Highland Soup” (from the Albanian Highlands I think, since it was like no soup I had ever eaten in the Highlands of Scotland, though it was very tasty) and of course a reasonably nice cup of tea (usual complaints apply).
I retraced my route and when I got to Linstock, I saw what had caused the police presence on the way out. It was quite a sight. I didn’t like to hang around and rubber neck too much so I can’t tell how much damage the lorry had done.
After this excitement, it was back to Gretna where I took the opportunity to marvel at the grandeur of the River Sark which provides the boundary between England and Scotland.
Thanks to the wind, I wasn’t too tired at this stage but somehow the last 17 miles home still proved quite an effort. When I arrived, my bike computer told me that I had done the journey home 2 minutes faster than I had done the journey out. This so-called negative split is always pleasant to achieve, however small, because it shows that there is still a bit of life in the legs at the end of the day. The whole journey took 6hrs 38mins of cycling time at an average of 15.3 miles and hour. I thought that was quite satisfactory as I have only gone faster over 100 miles when I was on prescription steroids for polymyalgia and on steroids you simply never get tired at all.
As a footnote I should say that I was told I was welcome to Scotland when I went through Gretna on the way home, so now I have two countries.