Miles: 51.3 (46 on route/progress), Spent the night: Near Auldgirth
The day started much the way yesterday ended, rain and challenges. One challenge was that my front tire had a slow leak, needed to be pumped up once a day. There was a good cycle shed in the hostel/university campus in Carlisle, so I decided to change the tire while it rained, hoping the rain would fade while I worked. It turns that out most end-to-end cyclists pass through Carlisle, so I spoke with a few others as I worked in the cycle shed. The rain kept going when my tire was fixed, so I decided to change my rear brakes as well. Yesterday, I only changed the front brakes. When I finished changing the rear brakes, the front tire I just fixed was flat again, bummer.
I only carried one spare tube, and it still had a puncture from the flat I fixed an hour before. Fortunately, I saw a cycle shop on the way in and marked it on my sat nav, so I pumped up the flat tire and headed to it. On the way, I passed another cycle-camper whose cycling the perimeter of Britain, and has cycled many other places. He pulls a trailer instead of loading stuff on top of panniers.
The guys at the cycle shop were very helpful. I bought 2 new tubes, just in case I had another puncture during the day. It was weird thinking I now have 5 tire tubes, 2 had holes, 2 were ok, and 1 was a spare. You gotta do what you gotta do.
The rain tapered off in the early afternoon. I was just getting into the rhythm of things when I saw a sign welcoming me to Scotland. That really surprised me. I thought the boarder was much further north. It was fun being in Scotland again. The place captivated me when I lived in Edinburgh for a couple of months in 1990.
The southern part of Scotland is mostly farmland, so there wasn’t much to see. But, I knew some great sights would be coming up. A few hours later, I noticed a unique wobble on my bike. It’s become familiar because that wobble means I have, yet another, flat tire. This time, it was the rear tire. I pumped it up and carried on. A couple of hours after that, I started looking for a place to stay. I admit looking for a place to stay is one my least favorite parts of the trip. It’s at the end of the day, so I’m tired and sweaty. There’s also a lot of uncertainty, and even when a place is supposed to be good, I can end up by a road or in a pasture full of sheep poo. I was thinking about that when I past a business that sold campers/caravans. I past it at first, hoping to find a place with my sat nav or maybe a hostel, in a pub that had wifi. Those options didn’t turn out so well, so I went back to the caravan park.
The father and son who ran the place were working in the front. I explained what road I wanted to camp on and how far away I wanted to go, about 10 miles more. The son talked with me and tried to remember some places. The father was busy but mumbled the town Auldgirth, and quickly went back to work. The son recognized the town, and according to my sat nav, it was directly on my route.
It took me a while to find the campground because Auldgirth is a very small town, and the few businesses that are there were closed. I asked some people on the street for suggestions. They pointed me in the right direction, but I missed the “wee bridge” I was supposed to turn on. The folks I spoke with also said there were no showers, but by this time in the evening, that was alright with me. Eventually, I found the campground, called Glenmidge. It’s easily the coziest campsite I’ve seen in years, with tall pine trees on hills around the site, and a stream running next to it. Even better, it did have showers, a washing machine, and free wifi. Best of all, the owners were fun and very, very helpful, Margaret and Hamish. Margaret told me the best reception for wifi was in their … what’s the word … solarium? Patio? I’ll just call it a very nice, sunny room just off their house.
I spent the night writing, doing some business online, and replying to folks on this website. Eventually, I went to sleep to the sound of the nearby stream and wildlife, birds, an owl, and a guy snoring in a tent across from me.