The Day I Entered Scotland
Distance: 90.6 miles
Ride Time: 6h 10m 23s
Ave Speed: 14.6mph
I had a good nights sleep at the B&B and the breakfast (Full English) was the best yet. I felt much better than yesterday and the sun was shining outside. I also knew that for most of the day I would have a tailwind. Just before I left I slapped on a layer of suncream and the sun promptly vanished behind a cloud.
I found the A7 out of Carlisle easily enough and made good progress.
On the outskirts of Carlisle I stopped at a petrol station and decided to stock up with a lot of food (usually I would just take what I needed at the time and then stop when I needed some more). Later I would be very thankful for this decision because I didn't see another shop until I was nearly in Edinburgh.
I was glad to get off the A7 and onto the B road that ran through the Eskdalemuir forest and here the scenery was beautiful. This was the first time I had been to Scotland and my initial impression was that I had been missing out. There were long but fairly gentle climbs followed by equal descents where I would go for 5 or more minutes without making a single pedal stroke. It would have been possible to fly down these descents with a bit of effort but as I was tired I just cruised down them at 20-25mph.
Just as people had told me the climbs in Scotland tended to be much longer than the ones in south-west England but more gentle. I much prefer these climbs as it is possible to get into a rhythm and I was really enjoying some of the climbing today. On the descents I was very wary of sheep at the side (or sometimes the middle) of the road. The ones that were looking at me were OK because they could see me coming and wouldn't jump straight into my path (I'm presuming sheep don't have suicidal tendencies). It was the sheep that had their backs to me that bothered me because a bike is almost silent and I would get very close to them before the saw me and suddenly bolted. I was just praying that one wouldn't be so startled that it ran out across my path. Thankfully this did not happen.
The final run in to Edinburgh was fast and the only problem was I didn't really know how to get the the youth hostel.
I knew the street name that it was on and that was all. I decided to just keep following signs to the city centre and after a bit of riding around in circles I just happened upon the street name that I knew and from there found the youth hostel. There were no signs though like there were for all the other youth hostels I had stayed at.
The Wilderness of Eskdalemuir Forest
The youth hostel was very nice although due to its huge size a little impersonal. I had a burger and chips in the cafe at the youth hostel then had a quick venture to find the castle, which I walked a little way around before returning to go to bed.
Today my right calf/hamstring felt better, as did my bruised knee. The roadrash on my left knee looks infected though although there is not much I can do other than apply antiseptic cream whilst I am out on the road.