Amazing countryside, few Internet connections, free parking and plenty of rain – the wonders of the North!
Day 5 – Glencoe to Loch Lomond 47.8 miles 5 hours 7 minutes
Travelling from Glencoe to Loch Lomond provided yet more amazing views, especially with the cloud hanging between the hills.
The main road to Craiglarich follows the river so although the shallow gradient is ‘comfortable’ for pedalling each hill climb goes on for several miles. With the low cloud there were no low flying jets today but there was a military training helicopter above the traffic navigating alongside the road.
It was a damp day for the bikers and once at the Ben More Lodge the lodge radiators may have been a little too hot for drying duties. The smell of almost melting gloves filled the air at one point!
The hotel provides a very warm and friendly atmosphere. At breakfast there was a chap playing the mandolin by the fire – Mr Cowell if you are reading this he needs to release an album!
Day 6 – Loch Lomond to East Kilbride 51 miles 5 hours 23 minutes
A short drive from the Ben More Lodge Hotel was the starting point of today’s ride at Loch Lomond. The extended cycling routes from the previous two days were to reduce the length of this, the longest ride of the trip to East Kilbride.
Following alongside Loch Lomond the traffic began to increase as the riders approached Glasgow. Along with busier roads came a huge increase in pot holes which made life interesting – dodge a pothole or dodge a truck. There wasn’t much room to make a mistake!
The GPS had the route to the Premier Inn set but many of the roads were two lanes, ring roads and very busy so eventually, to save the bumps from pot holes and to get out of the traffic, Karen and Martin headed for some new found the cycle routes.
Soon they were at the East Kilbride Premier Inn, not the right one but not too far away!
Finally at the correct hotel the staff made them feel very welcome and offered to secure the bikes away for the night. The back-up crew were already checked in and had been provided with Easter Eggs from the Premier Inn staff!
Day 7 – East Kilbride to Moffat 50.2 miles 5 hours
Another day in the saddle and it looked like there may be more drizzle to accompany the cyclists on their way! As they set off after another huge Premier Inn breakfast – they needed a good ride to burn some of those calories off!
The route to Moffat was quite easy with some very useful cycle routes running alongside the quiet main roads.
These roads run alongside the A74(M) Motorway so although there were a few climbs and twists along the rooute it was basically a straight dry line to Moffat!
For the first time the bikers beat the back-up team to the guest house! But only because they had stopped off for some hot drinks and cake around the corner!
Day 8 – Moffat to Carlisle 43.8 miles 4 hours 3 minutes
Welcome to England!
It was another straight route to Carlisle. The bikers left Scotland behind as they made their way south past yet more lambs and rolling countryside. The roads were a little busier but again cycle routes played a great part in making it easy to traverse the majority of the miles.
The route went straight past Lockerbie which although a settlement for thousands of years is known for the air disaster on the 21st December 1988. If you get the chance do stop off and pop into the visitor centre. Then afterwards take a walk around the reserve across the road – you may get lucky and see a red squirrel like we did!
Unusually as the border was crossed into England it began to rain – who would have thought?!
For the second time the bikers beat the back-up crew to the accommodation, this time the Premier Inn at Carlisle. And again the back-up crew were feeding their faces before checking in!
Day 9 – Carlisle to Kendal 46.5 miles 6 hours 7 minutes
You can tell when you are reaching civilisation again – your mobile phone always works, there are more pot holes on the roads and you have to pay for parking!
It all seemed to be going so well! By the end of this ride Karen and Martin would have covered half distance across the United Kingdom and they could enjoy a well earned day off in Kendal.
As the weather was looking a little damp it was decided to take the lower route which would still mean they would have to climb up to 1496 feet en-route to Kendal. It would be the A6 all the way and the distance wouldn’t be an issue.
Rain soon started and the wind picked up meaning that they still needed to pedal as they went downhill to maintain their speed.
At the highest part of the A6 visibility was minimal with the low cloud. Riding in these conditions wasn’t helped by the spray thrown up by the passing trucks. It wasn’t pleasant.
To make matters worse their pace continued to dropped compared to previous days and so extended there time on the bikes. This meant they lacked the food and drink for such a long (time wise) ride.
If only the hotel was closer to the north edge of Kendal!
After over six hours in the saddle they finally made it to the Premier Inn and to the much needed warm showers. With the following day a rest day there should be plenty of time to dry out all the bike gear and replenish some energy.
Hopefully they will be ready to progress towards Preston and to their final destination at Lands End.
On yer bike!
Please do visit www.justgiving.com/PlaneTalking to find out more about this charity bike ride – raising money for the air ambulance.