Route plan for the day’s ride:
The day began wet, with strong winds that impeded my progress. The scenery was nevertheless quiet, remote and picturesque. I met a couple of cyclists on road bikes who I kept pace with for a few miles, but they weren’t travelling far. I shortly turned off towards Beggarmans Road and the high fell pass from Oughtershaw to Hawes. This was a steady climb and on the approach the wind really slowed me down even though the gradient was shallow. Nearing the 588m summit, the road increased in steepness and it felt surprisingly cold in the rain and wind.
The descent to Hawick was steep and slightly scary due to the side wind which was attempting to blow me erratically across the road. Soon after Hawes, another steady climb on the road to Kirkby Stephen took me across the Cumbria border from where I enjoyed a long descent to Kirkby Stephen, stopping to explore a little ruin called Pendragon Castle.
At Kirkby Stephen, being a Sunday, I had a pub carvery for lunch but I didn’t find it especially friendly so opted to eat outdoors on my own! After Kirkby Stephen I braved the busy main road to Penrith for about 10 miles before turning off on the B road towards Brampton. My original intention was to take the long pass through Teesdale over to Alston, but after the previous day’s hills I decided against the detour and bypassed the Pennines to the west. This was a fairly picturesque route, with views east to the Pennine escarpment and west towards the Lake District.
When I finally reached Brampton, it was only 20 miles to the Scottish border, so I made quick progress through Longtown until I crossed into Scotland at Gretna Green, three days in. I bought a fish ‘n’ chips and upon discovering the Gretna campsite only took caravans had to go 9 miles further up the road, to Annan campsite. Here I met a touring cyclist doing Land’s End to John O’ Groats for charity, and coincidentally was also from Gloucestershire. We talked and discussed our cycling experiences.