Sunday, 23 September 2012

Lochmaben to Dunoon - Thursday 6th September

The route replanned to the most direct option whilst avoiding major hills and roads was still over 100 miles. Hay Ho, it seems far less hilly and maybe the wind will at least not be in my face today.

Out of the hotel and turn off the B road onto a rolling section which I balanced against additional mileage. It is the wrong road, but before I turn I see a red squirrel appear at the base of the tree, run into my path, then beat a retreat back up the tree. U turn back up the road and then back on the next side road 30 yards on. This one has Highland Cows.

Short section of cycle way
I come down to the A76, and I am due to travel a mile up it then turn off onto side roads to run parallel to the A road, but in a more up and down way. The road is much quieter than expected, lorries yes, but not many. I’ve been on busier B roads. I decide to stay on it, use the tail wind and hope for a better road surface, I could always opt out later.

I climbed slowly, and with the top came a head wind, poor roads and then a junction with the A70 to Ayr. The road remained poor, the traffic more intense and more lorries, but I was rolling down hill, and went with it.

I rolled on into Ayr. The people of Ayr, judged by their driving seem angry and impatient. Perhaps it was the wind, or the desire to leave that drove me on, but I left heading north as 20mph +.

 The way now became a combination of cycle tracks and minor roads to avoid the principle dual carriageway up the coast. I would have stayed on the Sustrans route but as ever it is not that direct, running around the promanades and promintaries,

Golf Course

I passed some golf course at Troon. Doesn’t look that special. Then a lady on the path, Golden Retrievers, 7 of them. I stop and we chat. The dogs show their character. 3 want to say hello, one have a lie down, 3 others are eating grass, chewing sticks and sniffing.

Denise had been off to meet a friend at her house during the day. On her way up the coast she had been stopped she thought by the police. Turns out it was the Council’s Environmental Health officers, four of them, testing the diesel car for smoke. We passed. 15 mins of panic and bewilderment she was back on the road chasing me

The tailwind stayed with me up the coast, but presented a challenge coming into Ardrosson. The sea wall one side, the railway embankment the other, the tides in and it has a tail wind. The waves are confused, but not enough to stop the odd one smashing into the wall and sending water over to the embankment. I proceed with caution, watching the waves and avoiding the worst of the spray. A car driver sees me coming and points the camera my way. I aim to spoil his fun. One mightly wave comes over the top, time to push on, I see a couple of inches of water and sea weed, great lumps of kelp on the road. I pause and wait for the water to run back, and I’m off to safety.

Finally I find Denise, parked facing the sea in a layby. Food and off north. There is a tail cross wind and it is flat. It’s panning out to be another 110m mile day.

It’s getting late, I hope the ferry will still be running. It is clear there is industry here, I pass main gates to factories, but I am running so late I only have cars and regular buses to contend with, but all is well.

I arrive at the ferry and hide in the bus stop waiting for Denise and watching the ferry run in. Denise arrives as the ferry does. Great timeing as the next one is an hour away.

Today was far longer than expected, so much for going the short route. At least it was flater, and their was a tail wind. The route could have been more pleasant, but it was pragmatic and I overall it was ok, except of Ayr, I would skip Ayr.

Today I crossed for the second time my SEWN up route and took the same ferry, tomorrow is another day.

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