A ferry, a world famous golf course and a town remembered for the wrong reasons.
Throw in quiet bicycle paths, beautiful weather, a stunning coffee, lovely newly laid roads, and scenery out of this world and that was the day that was. Oh and a tailwind all day.
The view from the breakfast table wasn’t shabby.
Our hostess in Brodick is from Northern Ireland. Combine that accent with 23 years of living in Scotland and it would be fair to say I didn’t understand a lot of what she said. Suffice to say that when she mentioned the phrase “best you get your skates on if you want to make that ferry “ I luckily understood what she meant. The 8.34am ferry to Androssan had become the 8.20am and we were still wiping our plates at 7.50am .
We made the ferry, against the odds, and 50 mins later were dumped in Androssan.
Goodbye to the Isle of Arran. I WILL be back.
Our 5th and final ferry of the trip. Amongst the trucks and cars the bikes looked like small toys.
When you arrive in Androssan you are in Scotland “proppa“. Lots of older
men with tattoos of anchors on their arms and nicotine stained fingers. Plenty of houses decorated with pebble dash and no lack of workers clubs harking back to a bygone era. Iceland and Poundland stores and not a Waitrose to be seen.
The ride south to Ayr was along tree lined purpose built cycle paths. Which was a good thing because there was plenty of traffic.
Before getting to Ayr we passed through Troon. Home to the British Open Golf Championship every 7-8 years. Stopped for a coffee which was a good thing as it turned out to be the best flat white I have had since leaving London.
If you’re ever passing through. Stop and tell them Aussie Nick sent you.
Our route actually took us through the gates of Royal Troon and across the 6th fairway. Quite surreal really. Can’t imagine that happening anywhere else in the world.
At Ayr the route leaves the coast and heads south west inland towards Dumfries and Lockerbie.
The first 20km was along a horrific section of busy road. However at Coalhall we turned right and soon we were pedalling across undulating terrain on impossibly quiet roads. This was Caledonian Cheese country .
Leaving Ayr and inland we go.
Passed over stunning streams and rivers and we were constantly wowed by the scenery.
For much of the afternoon ride the scenery was this. Constantly.
Vibrant colours of the Scottish countryside.
Did I mention the beautifully paved roads which combined with a tailwind and a warming sun made for a stunning afternoon ride?
The author and a choice of directions to take.
By absolute pure chance we decided to turn right at the signpost above and lo behold one km later stumbled upon this gem of a hidden establishment. Drumlanrig Castle. In the middle of absolutely nowhere. If you didn’t know of its existence you’d never take the time to travel the small country single lane road to get to it. Amazes me how life’s choices (choosing to go right instead of left at the signpost above) lead you somewhere you’d never have believed otherwise. I‘ll let you Google it’s history.
What I can tell you is that within its estate is Great Britain’s largest Sycamore Tree. Over 300 years old too.
Just one of many lovely scenes I stopped to take a photo of. For no reason other than it made me smile.
Lunch was in New Cumnock. If you looked closely at my route you’d see we did about 6 laps of the high street looking for somewhere that served food. The only thing missing from the high street was tumbleweed. Best Cajun chicken wrap I’ve had in a very long time. The owner had great delight in telling me that her chilli and salt potato scone had recently hit the regional newspaper such was its popularity.
By days end we had clocked a long day in the saddle and were feeling sore. However all pain has to be put into perspective.
The Gardens of Remembrance. Lockerbie. The final resting place for 243 passengers and 16 crew of Pan Am flight 103. (December 21,1988)
Best Western Hotels redefining “twin share”. Could be interesting if we both turn to face each other in the night. :-(
Thoughts and stats of the day
”Arnold Clark“ has an absolute stranglehold on the car leasing business in Scotland
My guesstimate on the percentage of cars in Scotland leased through Mr Clark - 33%
My guesstimate on the average yearly income of a resident in New Cumnock - Whatever social security is in Scotland
Number of midges encountered - 0
Number of times I asked a local a question - 9
Number of times I asked a local and only understood half of what they said - 9
Room temperature of the Best Western “Sure Rest” hotel in Lockerbie - 400 degrees.
Number of air conditioners in above mentioned hotel rooms - 0
Number of times I thought “Wow, that’s a pretty special view“ - 47