Day 21 – 29/7/2010 – Back to England: Edinburgh to Hesket Newmarket, Cumbria. 108 miles

Route plan for the day’s cycling:

Sunny weather continued as I began to make progress southwards towards England. Getting out of Edinburgh was a little tricky and at one point there were so many potholes one after the other that my front bag bounced off its bracket and along the road! After a few curious looks I fortunately had no trouble rescuing it and nothing was broken.

Once into the countryside, I climbed up a long hill into the Moorfoot Hills of the Southern Uplands. From there the cycling was very picturesque, reminding me of the Yorkshire Dales, with expansive hills and valleys. At Innerleithen, a small town popular with walkers, I stopped for an ice cream. Further south the scenery was similar – all remote and sparsely populated.

View from near Mountbenger

View from near Mountbenger

Another Southern Upland view, near Mountbenger

Another Southern Upland view, near Mountbenger

I came across a cyclist part way in, who I joined for five or ten miles. He had cycled from Melrose and was aiming to go 30 miles – after 30 miles he would turn round and go back (to make it a sixty mile return trip). We found a very scenic spot to have a picnic lunch before going our separate ways.

Lunch stop

Lunch stop

Typical Southern Upland landscape

Typical Southern Upland landscape

The road south led through Eskdalemuir and past an intriguing landmark – Kagyu Samye Ling, a Buddhist monastery and training centre situated curiously in a remote spot alongside the River Esk- but I did not stop to explore it. Once I reached Langholm, it was straight down the busy main A7 towards Carlisle. Crossing the English border brought a tremendous sense of achievement – I felt like I was nearly home (although I still had another 250+ miles to go).

The English Border!

The English Border!

South of Carlisle a steep road took me to the border of the Lake District in Cumbria, which was my aim for the day and after having cycled over 100 miles I started looking for a place to stop. At Hesket Newmarket, I noticed a pub and shortly afterwards spotted a campsite sign. I pitched in the campsite which was very reasonably priced and very welcoming. I then showered and went to the pub for a fine meal of scampi and chips and started talking to some locals – they seemed very impressed with my exploits and one suggested I would make a fine leader in the armed forces! I enjoyed three pints of freshly brewed ale, “Old Doris” being my favourite. Even Prince Charles has drunk beer there during a visit in support of the “community spirit” of locals who set up a co-operative fund to stop it from being sold.

Approaching the Lake District National Park

Approaching the Lake District National Park

Lake District view

Lake District view

View to Caldbeck Fells

View to Caldbeck Fells

After an excellent evening I retired to the tent for my first night on English soil in eighteen days!

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