Days 11 and 12

Two big days. Day 11 started at Garstang so added 10 or so miles to the total on the route summary. A fairly consistent days progress along the canals to Lancaster and then Arnside, Morecambe Bay before getting the ferry at Bowness across Windermere and making our way to Grasmere on forest track then road. Unlike the scorching weather the south experienced, we had fairly heavy cloud after Windermere and some rain. A day where it was very hard to regulate temperature, hot up a hill one minute, frozen going down the next. I was exhibiting some signs of a cold at Grasmere but this seems to have calmed down. The sun finally won through in the evening, suggesting a fine start to day 12, which was indeed the case. Today was our longest route – a full 80 miles – a fair bit of climbing early in the day out of the lakes followed by extensive flat In Scotland to end. It was a truly spectacular morning in the Lakes. We had decided to start early at 7.30 and it was a fortuitous decision since we could enjoy the crisp sunshine over an almost windless Thirlmere without being bothered by holiday traffic. Lots of photo stops – and we hope to post the evidence shortly. I am not sure we wanted to, but we had to leave the lakes behind and gradually descend to Carlisle and start burning some miles into Scotland, entering at Gretna early afternoon. There followed some soul destroying miles along the coast road towards Dumfries. We were being battered by the very stiff sea breeze from the Solway Firth on a punishing B roAd surface. And there is just something about dead flat – it is extremely tough on the derrière. Stephen has brought with him something in a big tube which claims to be be able either to nourish and condition your leather bike saddle – or sooth areas which have become somewhat delicate as a result of being on the saddle. I have to admit to having had a certain amount of scepticism about a product which claimed such diverse multi-tasking ability. But the big tube was brought out frequently this afternoon and appeared to do the trick. As did coming off the B road onto a much more interesting cycle path which followed the coastline more directly to our B+B in Dumfries. The day count is now 11 down, 8 to go and if you look at a map we are visually very certainly more than half way which is satisfying. A full-ish day again tomorrow but we’re awarding ourselves a lie in – ’til 7!