…….. and I'll take the low road and I'll be in Scotland afore you. So went the song as we road away from Birdoswald. With the sun shining everyone was in high spirits and we set off facing the prospect of a shorter day but with a similar amount of climbing to yesterday. Martyn’s morning briefing text made no mention of the route’s level of difficulty which was a cause for concern for some. As it turned out we need not have worried.
Our first order of business was a photocall at the Scottish border. Rab and Davy got very excited and I am sure I heard them promise a wee malt tonight to mark their homecoming. We’ll see…..
The quality of the landscape was the high point of the day – at least as good as yesterday's but much more enclosed with deep valleys picking their way through and round the hills. Our route took us into Eskdale which is truly spectacular – classic Scottish Borders countryside.
Leaving Langholm the ‘fun’ really started as we ascended the first of the day’s four main climbs. These are not especially steep but at around two miles apiece they are quite long. The trick is to choose the right gear at the start and then pedal at a steady, constant pace to the top. The long sweeping roads with open bends meant that on the downhill sections I was able to get into top gear and go full gas. The only challenge was the quality of the road surface but with so few cars around the full width of the road was there to be used.
In no time at all we were passing by Innerleithen and arrived in Peebles well ahead of schedule. A quick visit to the local car wash meant we could restore our bikes to (a sort of) pristine condition. To sum up, today was one of the best days so far – possibly! And there’s wifi at our hotel.
Miles today 75
Total miles from Land’s End 637 (+ 17)
Miles to John O’Groats 349