Getting lost in Bedfordshire

On the warmest day probably of the year so far (about 20 C) I scrawled down some simple directions for this trip on a scrap of paper: out on the Barton road towards Sandy, turn right into Potton, which has its own brewery, then back via the Gransdens, across the Old North Road and back through Comberton. Of course it all went awry and I forgot to take the bluetooth for the GPS. Looking at the track, I can see if I had just gone another couple of hundred yards at Wrestlingworth I would have found the route back.

Lots of bikes were out today unsurprisingly and luckily only one behind me to zoom past.

The story is rain

The trusty Norwegian weather site predicted rain from 3 am which would stop at 10 am. It was right on both counts and I left Ayr in the dry. But it didn’t predict it would start raining again and rain on and off all day necessitating a hasty climb into the rain suit in a carpark just off the ferry at Dunoon.

Rain on the ferry to who knows where
Rain on the ferry to who knows where

Since then I’ve been wet all day and my spirits flagged seriously rising when I reached the stunning and unusual landscape of Glen Coe. It’s on page 2 of my two page map of Scotland so I have some progress. Driving past a big commercial campsite in Glencoe village because I knew this cool campsite was 4 miles down the road was also very satisfying (for a while at least).

Its not actually raining

This place is stunning and I still haven’t got my head round the amazing scenery here of the loch the mountains and the ever moving clouds. However, clouds mean rain and I jumped insure my just fabricated tent in time to shelter from another shower and write this. I feel I don’t want to linger on this rainy holiday. I remember that the washroom was crowded and the floor was wet and muddy.

Glencoe cloud=rain
Don’t even ask for a caption

I will reach my target of Durness at the top of Scotland but get there tomorrow or the day later. I find the rain very tedious.

Mileage 145.4Average speed 39.6Max speed 76.3Riding time 3.75

Day 2 Cumbria to Ayr, Ayreshire

I made it to Ayr on the west coast of Scotland to the house of a colleague and her family. I slept very well finally waking up at 8.45(!) and got off about 10.30. The going was problem free. I even stopped off at Penryth to buy a cup that I forgot to take. Once in Scotland my GPS did itself proud for once taking me on a twisty B road most of the way from Dunfries complete with goats wandering across the road.

Somewhere there are goats

I stopped by the road in a village and watched a bride and her father driven on the back of a horse drawn carriage off to get wed.

My first site in Scotland

However gps Emily disgraced herself by taking me on a wild goose chase to some pub car park in the middle of Ayr then could not seem to find the place of this newly built house where I was staying: ‘now proceed off road’ she tells me when she has completely given up. Even Google street view shows the wrong house. But I made it, thankful to see a dim hand waving inside as I pulled up rather nervously and noisily in someone’s drive.

Four hours riding with just a couple of short breaks and I feel tired. After today the adventure really begins and I’m not too hopeful about finding these campsites with postcodes alone.

Mileage: 152 Ave speed: 39mph Max speed: 81mph Riding time: 3.9 hours

Gallows Hill Campsite

I finally found this lovely little tents only site. After going up and down this stretch of busy road the owner came out to stand by the road and greeted me by name. We are close to Barnard Castle (something keeps drawing me back there) where I’ve picked up meat garlic and Ginger and vegetables for stir fry from the Co-Op.

Gallows Hill campsite on the way to Ayr
Bertha in Co. Durham

2011 Biking to Scotland

Tomorrow I’m heading north – as far as I can go. Armed with ‘Cool Campsites Scotland’ and most of the usual paraphernalia I drag around on the bike I’m planning to spend a fortnight riding around and camping it up in the western isles and highlands. My first night will be in Co Durham at the auspiciously named Gallows Hill campsite. The site gets good reviews though nearly all of them mention that it was raining. My second night will be staying with a friend in Ayr. She also casually mentioned ‘I hope it stops raining for you’. Its beautiful sun here in Cambridge but obviously raining in Scotland. So, here’s my first holiday on the bike that hasn’t needed ferries booked, currency changing, phrase book purchasing and meticulous planning.