78 miles and 886 metres of climbing
The B&B landlord and landlady were from Kirbymoorside in North Yorkshire. As part of a midlife crisis Mark was sick of being a car mechanic and Dawn was restless; so they bought the B&B after an extensive search. Moffat was delightful as a location but also affordable and when the property turned up they bought it. They were a chatty couple and interesting hosts. The flow of LEJOG cyclists was a nice little earner along with other regulars. In the garage where we stored our bikes he was putting a new engine in an old car for a friend. The ‘friend’ had done them some favour and this barter system seemed to be a way of getting things done round here.
It was climbing from the start although nothing like the Cornwall and Devon hills. We were soon high up in a green and unspoilt landscape. It was terrific. The morning was fresh, dry and bright.
Eventually we fell a 100 metres or more and met up with our old friend the M74 and the old road beside it. We rode that and it rose and fell. It was quite hard work. Peter had alerted me to Scottish road surfaces and in places the surface was nearly unrideable, a bit like going over cobbles. The road wasn’t damaged: it was the use of very large aggregate/stones as part of the top dressing. I feared for my bike as I clattered along. One sign depressed me though…
Hell fire still so far to go! However with the severity of the gradients easing I was not suffering as much and moving well. I record my times and distances and with these heights and distances as a comparison I’m going well. However, for Peter there’s still dawdling to endure by staying with me but on occasion he’ll depart and properly stretch his legs.
In line with the English theme we met up with two cyclists and engaged them in a conversation. They were expats from Morecambe! We didn’t often speak to other cyclists. It was great to talk.
We ate up the miles and started to enter south east Glasgow. The traffic picked up and the sun came out. Oh boy did it! Soon it was sweltering at 28°. On went the suntan lotion! The natives were out in the sunshine looking frankly a little pasty and white. This type of weather doesn’t happen here often I guess. Being a large conurbation we cycled through the suburbs of Larkhill, Hamilton and Cambuslang. The traffic was demanding, switching lanes was always a challenge and the traffic lights came thick and fast. Help was at hand as we turned off to find the Clyde river and a cycle trail.
Before that we’d been searching for a cafe. After over four hours on the road we were parched and I needed a sit down. We stopped to ask a jogger. Yup, he was from Harrogate! We didn’t find a cafe until we were well past the centre of the city. Clearly the Scots don’t do tea and sandwiches.
The trail was quiet, shady and lovely. We eventually entered Glasgow Green, a park.
The river broadened considerably and you could smell the brine.
At last we found food, maybe not what we really wanted but it was vital calories.
Leaving the centre the National Route 75 kept heading west toward Loch Lomond. From the grand buildings of the centre we now had old and empty factory units, bus depots, car body repair workshops and a large BAE site where I nearly hit someone on a zebra crossing! The 75 started to follow the Forth and Clyde Canal. It was no longer a freight barge proposition but looked lovely and had many pleasure craft.
Eventually it was necessary to leave the tow path and head north at Dumbarton to Balloch and ‘the bonnie, bonnie banks of Loch Lomond’. This had many teenage school children milling about as they enjoyed the sun and their holidays. I’m not sure if it was them but often during the day I smelt cannabis as I cycled along.
Amanda at the B&B volunteered to wash our kit and that means some cleaner clobber for the next couple of days. (Our hand washes are successful but not as good.) Balloch was busy but we found a restaurant eventually and had great food.
A bit like on holiday in the Mediterranean we had then windows open as we went to sleep and could hear the surrounding residents still making a din. In the end sleep came…zzzzz