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Lockerbie to Richmond ..165km …497 from the start …602km in total

Lockerbie to Richmond part I

Lockerbie to Richmond part II

Put simply the most stunning day of cycling I have done in England. Period.

Admittedly we started in Scotland.

However the road from Lockerbie to Gretna was the old road that runs alongside the new multi lane motorway. It made for a quick pace especially as the wind was once again slightly at our backs. However the scenery was benign.

That all changed once we got into England and the border county of Cumbria. Oh my lordy did it change.

Whoever planned the National cycle route no.7 should receive some sort of official recognition. Quiet country lanes passing through impossibly quaint villages with next to no traffic.

Even the rancid odour of freshly manured fields (and there were many) couldn’t detract from the setting.

A couple of unforgiving farmers driving impossibly large tractors almost undid us though.

There were no lack of short steep climbs and equally steep and short descents however the scenery made them all worth while.

On that note (the challenging terrain) and given we were on a designated cycle route it wasn’t really a surprise to see that every village had a public defibrillator ready for use.

The weather was playing its part too. It wasn't until midday that we spotted a cloud. Even this far north they’re experiencing the ”sizzling heatwave” enjoyed by the south as temperatures hit a “massive” 27 degrees C . (Note Aussie sarcasm) (That’s 84 F for all my North American readers)

A sweat drenched jersey cooled by the wind made everything tolerable and as we suffered up yet another steep climb I said to Brent “ It could be worse. It could be cold, wet and that could be a headwind''.

Only mildly interesting was an observation that we made in Scotland which was the Scots rarely put the mileage of a destination on a signpost. The English meanwhile go overboard and do it in fractions of a number.

At one point we found ourselves in the middle of a Ministry of Defence firing range which fortunately was not in use today. Cycling past a shattered army tank lying rusting in a field was a first for me.

From Cumbria it was into North Yorkshire and then the Yorkshire Dales. As disbelieving as I was that the scenery could get any better it did just that.

A 10km climb up Tan Hill which sometimes was as steep as 16% revealed sights that took your breath away.

Atop Tan Hill lies the Tan Hill Inn. England’s highest pub at just over 1,700 ft above sea level. The atmosphere at the inn was very jovial with a mix of cyclists, motorbikers, campers, walkers and no lack of campervans either.

The 30km descent down the other side revealed one postcard / chocolate box type picture view after another. I mean seriously. This was mind blowing scenery.

Everything you’ve ever read about North Yorkshires beauty is true. If not understated. I can also understand why Yorkshire is the breeding ground for so many of the UK’s leading athletes. With this as a back garden I can see how conducive it is to an active outdoor life.

Once we hit the valley floor it was a 15km ride along an impossibly beautiful river that led us all the way into Richmond and our accommodation for the night. Somewhat of an ironic overnight stop given I live 5 mins walk from the one of the other Richmonds in South West London.

The Best Western in Lockerbie may have spun an interesting approach to twin share rooms but their bicycle storage area was pretty special.

It was practically Watership Down part III as I gazed out the bathroom window whilst brushing my teeth.

I will let you do the research of the importance of Gretna in the UK marriage industry. Suffice to say no lack of businesses still dining out on its place in history.

75 meters down the road from our last coffee in Scotland it was the English Border. Noted was the fact that in the lead up to the border all Scottish road signs pointing in that direction simply said “The South”. Not a mention made of England at all.

English road engineers love a fraction.

Cumbrian views

Cumbrian views part II

Cumbrian views part III

Cumbrian views part IV

Cycling through a military firing range was “interesting “. We didn’t hang about.

Not often you pass by a destroyed tank on your daily cycle.

Every village seemingly had one.

With 120 km already cycled on the day the climb up Tan Hill was a mild challenge.

The views from the top were breathtaking.

Rarely had a cold beer tasted so good. And still 30 km to ride.

What goes up must come down. That included one stretch of road that was a 7km free wheel. Ie : no pedalling required.

The hamlet of Whaw. Quintessential Yorkshire.

They love a dry stone wall in Cumbria and Yorkshire.

Some picturesque houses in this part of Yorkshire too.

165 km after leaving Lockerbie. The Georgian town that is Richmond. Pretty special looking town it is too.

Bed for the night.

And of course as ever. After cycling 165km the guesthouse was on the other side of town, at the top of a hill accessed only by cycling up a cobblestone street. Ggggrrrrrrrr.

Despite the last 100 meters it was a simply stunning day of cycling. Arran and now Cumbria/North Yorkshire. GO NOW.


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