Stats for the day:
92 miles at an average of about 14mph - best progress so far - we went past our target of Great Salkeld and carried on to Temple Sowerby - ahead of schedule for the first time (only by about 7 miles)
Total ascent about 3,500 feet, two thirds of this in the last 22 miles
Calories consumed about 5,000 (including a treacle sponge)
Saddle sore status: I think about 5 for both of us (Andy on improving trend, Charles seemingly heading in the opposite direction - Lanacane will sort it out)
Unprovoked small dog attacks 1
At last some decent weather. It was a damp and misty start on the moor as we left Crawfordjohn, but things improved as the day went on and we managed to get a bit lobstered in the afternoon. Eddie the owner of Redmoss Hotel sent us on our way with a hearty “truckers’” breakfast, the best start to the day we could have had. The Redmoss Hotel really is the place to stay if you find yourself in the area - a real gem. The best place we’ve stayed so far. Eddie even sorted out Charles’ washing.
Steffi and Cara stayed behind a while, giving Cara the chance to take Paddy the Yorkshire Terrier for a walk, or maybe more the other way round. This came to an abrupt end when Paddy led Cara into a room where a guest was sleeping. Cara came back with lead but minus dog.
For the early part of the ride down to Loch Lomond we followed the NCN74 route, which was great. It’s a superb cycle track, especially the bits with a red surface like am all-weather tennis court. You have to keep your eyes open for changes in direction, or you’ll miss a nice stretch between Ecclefechan (careful with the pronunciation, there) and Gretna. The hedge-lined road runs through lovely rolling arable landscape, eventually turning west alongside the Solway Firth.
We met Steffi and Cara at Ecclefechan for the usual picnic lunch. We found a nice hotel at the bottom end of the village on the right hand side (if you’re travelling south). We can’t remember its name, but it’s worth a stop. Charles resisted the temptation to earn a few bob by taking over the Neuro-Linguistic Programming workshop that was going on in the hotel.
Going through Gretna, we crossed the border into England. Luckily we ran into a cyclist who knew how to find the new B road that runs parallel to the A74(M) from Gretna to Carlisle - that saved us 4 or 5 miles. This road was the scene of our first dog chase incident. A small black dog launched itself from a garden and managed to bite Andy’s bike.
Past Carlisle the going got tough, and we climbed about 2,500 feet in the last 22 miles of the ride. We’d decided to extend the ride from Great Salkeld to Temple Sowerby, so it felt good to bank the last few climbs and save ourselves from having to do them in the morning. Then it was time to lad the bikes on the car and head back to the Premier Inn at Carlisle - Penrith was booked out. Very kindly Premier Inn gave us the two rooms gratis in support of our charity.
To bed for an early night ahead of tomorrow’s challenge. We have some serious climbs through the fells of Cumbria and Lancashire, nearly 90 miles to do, and it is forecast to be our first hot day. So we’ll have to make sure we take on plenty fluid. See, there is no weather condition we won’t complain about, apart from cloudy but dry, 15 degrees and a following wind.
To view pictures of Day Five click here