Disasters: 0 (though for a few minutes Sarah thought she’d only packed one shoe ???)
Saturday started early with a drive to Dumfries. We parked at the train station where the sign showed much rates for non-rail users and told us to pay in the ticket office.
On requesrting a weeks parking the really friendly guy in the ticket office asked if we were rail users. Dilemma time – do I lie or be honest ? The difference is 50p a day for rail users or £5 for non-rail users – a considerable difference that can be measured in multiple pints of beer and a curry !
I was honest for two reasons – 1. I’m crap at lying and 2. I was dressed head to toe in my best mamil lycra – a bit of a give away really !
The guy looked at me and said “I’ll put you through as a rail user” ? RESULT £3.50 rather than £35. What a lovely man and went (I felt) a little way to redress the shit service I’ve had on railways (in the UK) since the demise of British Rail.
The route out of Dumfries was easy and lead onto quiet undulating roads – pleasent cycling though it was taking a while to get used to the handling of a flexible steel Dawes that weighed as much as the sun !
The only thing of note before Thornhill was the number of Red Kites we saw. Beautiful birds…
We dropped into Thornhill for lunch at the Drumlanrig Restaurant. Pleasent staff but a standard “Scottish toastie” with no salad, a few chips and served with thin & flexible metal cutlery. Not great but fuelled us for the next leg of the journey…
While waiting for our toastie we looked at the route and decided it could be improved by missing the A76 section in favour of a visit to Drumlanrig castle. This we did…
Next dilemma was…. 1. Head streight to Sanquhar or 2. Follow the route which does a big loop out to Elvanfoot over some big fuck off hills… we followed the route!
The route out to Elvanfoot rose gently with some lovely scenery to the Dalveen Pass and then levelled slightly to Elvanfoot where we stopped for a Marmite sandwich.
From Elvanfoot the route went to Leadhills and Wanlockshead which is the highest village in Scotland at 1531 feet. We did notice a number to people gold panning in the small rivers !
At Wanlockshead the weather changed to a headwind + rain – joy… The gradient also changed to a negative one for a long run down to Mennock. This descent would have been great on an unladen road bike in the dry but the wind and rain made it tricky. Just before Mennock tgrte was a large wild camp site with about 20ish tents & vans.
From Mennock it was an easy run to our digs for the night at Newark Farm B&B. We were greated by an elderly lady who pointed an infraread thermometer at our heads. Now this was worrying as we’d just cycled there and were sweaty hot ! Luckly we got the “green light” and were allowed in only to be warned about the big fuck off angry Great Dane that really would just attack if it got out !
The room is nice but dated. The old woman booked us a table at the Nithsdale restaurant and drove us there ! Pleasent food, a couple of pints and we were ready for bed – night all…