Monday, 17 September 2012

Carperby to Lochmaben - Wednesday 5th September

Today was always going to be a hard day, today I had enough.

Castle Bolton, Wensleydale
Looking south in Wensleydale
The day started well, bit of a brisk breeze in Wensleydale, but light winds were forecast so I left going east initially to Castle Bolton and then up over the hill to Swaledale and Reeth, turning east to ride the length of upper Swaledale. This is a beautiful valley, but the road hugs the lower slopes and consequently bumps up and down 50 feet or so. Towards the end the climbing accelerates until it ramps up over the top. As it did so I could see a yellow top in the distance. It took me some time, but I caught the fellow cyclist who I shocked as I pulled along side and said hello. I think he was in his own private hell. At least we could see the top. The wind grew stronger as we reached the summit. It had been there all the way up this east-west orientated valley coming down from the west, but at the top it was really quite strong. The descent was fantastic, 35mph, a faster speed tempered by the winds blowing me about.
Reeth in Swaledale
Upper Swaledale towards Gunnerside
Upper Upper Swaledale beyond Keld
Hello Sheep

I have taken to saying hello to all walkers and cyclists I see. Most say hello, some blank me. The walkers doing so is odd, they really don’t see me as existing. Cyclist’s do generally acknowledge each other, but their has been a change from a gesture with the hand to an exaggerated sideways nod of the head, the sort that is often accompanied by a wink, but I see no wink from behind those shades. I also grin madly at dutch cars and I usually get a wave, and on the more scenic roads motorcyclists often nod to a mad grin. I do enjoy trying for some reaction!

View Down to Kirby Stephen

As I headed north towards Penrith the wind turned to the north, and the light, 5mph, winds forecast remained moderate and at times fresh. I battled on, into the wind, and the rolling countryside until at 45miles I had enough. I started a climb and my body said to get off and have a sit down. There was nowhere to sit, but my head liked the idea. I decided this was not the time or place and rode on slowly and nursed the dilemma to Temple Sowerby where I sat out of the wind in the bus shelter, ate and sent plaintive texts. Denise had already text me and was waiting for me, on the wrong route, she was on the 2010 SEWN up route, but that was soon corrected and we were to meet in 15 miles.

I rode on, deciding that 500m in 5 days was enough, but that I wanted to ride on, and I really did want to ride across to Ptilochry. My body is hurting, my knee, my arms, my feet. So the plan at present is to ride to the ferry tomorrow, in as short and easy way as possible, which could still be 100miles, I will check shortly. Then shorten the final two days and do less loopy bits later. This may well change!

Carlisle Castle
Carlisle eventually came and I found the cycle route I missed last time, complete with a curious bridge to cross a main road with steps and a lift either side. This sustrans route took me up a one way street the wrong way, and instructed me to walk 50m along a road. I am a cyclist, not a walker, these shoes are not designed to walk in!
I headed on north to Gretna (don’t bother, really don’t) and was now in Scotland. It was flat to Annan, but climbed slowly on quite roads to the pub/B&B. Wifi is laid on, but my PC can’t see it. So hopefully I will get 4 blogs posted tomorrow, when I have a more reliable wifi and more time to lie in. Now to replan tomorrows route.

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