Borders, Hills & Sunshine

It was blue skies and sunshine as I left Berwick this morning on day 3 of my trip. Yesterdays ride from Amble was 58 miles and so I spent the night in luxury in the youth hostel as it was the same price as a campsite and I hadn't managed to find a wild camping spot along the coast path. It was a misty start yesterday but the sun appeared as I arrived in Boulmer and the afternoon through Craster, Seahouses, Bamburgh and up to Berwick-upon-Tweed was gloriously sunny although still a bit fresh in the breeze.

Boulmer

Bamburgh Castle

Approaching Berwick-upon-Tweed

Today has been a much tougher day both physically and mentally. Taking the Round the Forth route 76 just outside of Berwick I headed north towards Eyemouth. It was hilly immediately and it wasn't long before I made the leap from England to Scotland! My first border crossing, yay!

Welcome to Scotland

There was a strong headwind and each rotation of the pedals seemed to get me only inches ahead. Add in a long hill climb with my beastly heavy load and a tortoise could probably have overtaken me. Don't get me wrong I expected hills but my poor little knees were screaming at me after a few miles and I began to regret not doing a little bit of hill training before I set off. The winding country roads and stunning views in the sunshine did compensate for some of the hills though.

Just north of Eyemouth I met two guys out on a day ride and stopped for a bit of a chat. They warned me that there were hills all the way to Dunbar where they'd started from but it was only 20 miles!! One of them even gave me a few tips on a route in the Hebrides as he'd ridden it a few years ago. These little interactions are lovely. It's so nice to talk to strangers, after 10 years living in London I've sadly turned into a bit of a 'stranger talking sceptic' but out here in the real world meeting and talking to people are the best bits of the day. It's also a fantastic way to make sure that you smile every day.

At my lowest point today I simply stopped, propped up my bike and lay down in the sunshine. I stayed there for a good hour just relaxing and trying to gather the will to get back on the bike. Moments like these will be frequent I think until I've gained a bit of hill hardiness and knee strength but it seemed to help my mood to continue riding.

Snooze spot

I must make a confession, many of you reading this will think that I'm alone on my adventures however when in Sunderland I found a friend who has joined me - let me introduce you to my travelling companion.... Monkey.

He makes a mean brew!

Yes, he's dressed a bit smartly for a 3 month trip on a bike but nevertheless he's jolly good company. We've gotten on very well so far and he's happy to take on some of the trip responsibilities - mostly tea making but a little help is better than none.

There was a lot less coastal scenery today and more inland country roads and I think I've been spoilt for things to look at for the first two days of the trip. I did however get to see my first nuclear power plant today, Torness Point. I looked carefully but didn't manage to see any wildlife with extra legs or a green glow so it must be safe ;-)

The approach to Dunbar was back on the coastline and what a view.

Dunbar

I'm all settled in a very nice campsite now, I think all of this glamping is dangerous, one could get used to a music playing in the toilets and showers. I may even find myself sleeping in there as it will be less noisy than the group of Duke of Edinburgh students in the field next to me!

Home for the night

Well, time to get some dinner on now - Batchelors vegetable rice and roasted chicken bites tonight, mmmmm.

Trip Summary:

  • Miles ridden = 142
  • Ferries taken = 1
  • Ice creams eaten = 1