Monday, 12 May 2014

update from the borders

A bit behind catching up on my blog due to lack of phone signal, battery,energy and every other excuse I can think of......
It was a rather wet few days leaving Arrochar and cycling down to the borders with an overnight stop in Glasgow. A bit tricky trying to stay with the cycle tracks on the way out of Glasgow (my map had not arrived in time) so I gave up and headed for the roads instead. After a few wrong turns I eventually arrived inbiggar around 7 at night and left the last cycle to the Meggat Stone until the next morning. Enroute I was met by Dan Bailey who had come to join me for a few days, I was very happy for him to relieve me of my bags before the Meggat Stone Hill. Not too long but pretty steep. Thank you to Gordon Smith for the advice to go there and for moving my bike for me. I had company from Dan on Broad Law and White Coomb, very pleasant walking underfoot after the more rugged and steep western hills. It would be a very different story here when the mist was down, although if in doubt follow a fence!
After saying goodbye to Dan I set up camp at Rotten Bottom before the push up on to Hart Fell the last of my eastern hills. Gordon had left some treats with my bike. Chocolate milk shake and coconut rings. You can have no idea how good they were!
From here I spent a relaxing night in Moffat with friend Wendy before getting on our bikes for our cycle. Not even out of moffat and my chain snapped. (note to self, always carry a spare chain link!) John the local postie came to the rescue and also gave some really great directions to cycle over west via the forest of Ae. As well as saving time it was a bonny journey. Said goodbye to Wendy and stopped at Moniavie where a motorbike convention was taking place. A field had been set by for the bikers to camp and they were happy to have me join them, which I did for a few beers in the pub but unfortunately fell asleep after cooking my dinner and missed a really good music night.
Back on the bike the next morning for the cycle to Carsphairn where I was met by Phil and his son Johnathon who took my bike for me and I headed up Cairnsmore of Carsphairn, a quick early afternoon walk before heading west into the Galloway Forest.
I spent the next day walking with my full pack across Corserine to the Silver Flow and the Awful Hand Range, from the Merrick to Shalloch on Minnoch. This area is much more rugged than the eastern borders. A real feel of wilderness. Strong winds were the major theme of the day and it was reall hard work getting across this wild and wonderful landscape. I was lucky to have views come and go until my last summit then the weather really moved in. I spend quite a long time wandering the summit looking for the trig point of Shalloch on Minnoch, before dropping down west to the forrest and hiding in the woods from the downpur. A bit tricky trying to light the stove in the pissing rain!
 Not so easy the next morning trying to pick my way through to the burn which was my route through the woods and I came out looking like a scarecrow with bits of twigs everywhere. 
A hard cycle that morning in very wet weather with all my kit. Crosshill is aptly named. I managed to make it to Ayr before my friends Fi and Alex rescued me and took me to Kilwinning for the evening before dropping me back the next day to finish the cycle. 
The end of theborders section of the walk was celebrated in fine style with showers, clean clothes, steak, red wine and lots of really, really good chat courtesy of Fi and Alex. The Craig Dhonters are doing a fabulous job at looking after me during this journey.
44 hills. Now it's time for a sail.........................................

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