Tuesday, 25 August 2009
Day 11: Brampton to Traquair
Today was another gloriously sunny day, right from the outset. My planned route for the morning took me across the line of Hadrian's Wall just a few miles out of Brampton. However, I'd been misled by inadequate research and an inaccurate map; it turned out that there were no easily-visible remains in the area (despite the village's promising name of Walton). Two friendly locals told me that the nearest place to see anything was a few miles to the east, near Lanercost. Off I went, glad that I had my paper maps with me, since the GPS wasn't showing any of the roads at all, and a signpost at a T-Junction only had directions back to Walton. Nevertheless, the section was definitely worth a visit, having a partial turret and spectacular views to the south, as well as the nearby ruins of Lanercost Priory.
I returned to Walton the same way, as the map I was using didn't show all the lanes either, and I didn't much fancy getting lost. The detour had taken exactly 10 miles, and here I was only about 3 miles from Brampton and it was already nearly half-past ten! The rest of the morning was spent on lots of empty lanes which constantly undulated up and down, making it very hard going. Eventually I made it over the border at just past midday, and at last I was in Scotland! A while later I arrived into Langholm, feeling pretty tired and still with 42 miles left to go. After a chat with a fellow Brompton-enthusiast, I had a relaxing meal at the first pub I came across. Then I picked up some food for the evening (guessing I'd be too tired to venture out) before setting off again.
The road from Langholm to Traquair (the B709, although with only extremely infrequent passing traffic) was in stark contrast to the lanes of the morning. This was a well-surfaced, mostly straight road which had steady climbs followed by long relaxing descents (usually of several miles). The scenery along the road was spectacular as well, with striking mountains, huge forests (much of the infrequent traffic being logging trucks) and the River Esk for much of the way. The biggest hive of activity seemed to be at the unexpected Tibetan building complex located about half-way up the road.
After the fifth and final long climb on the road, it headed downwards for several miles until I finally reached my destination of Traquair at about 5:45pm. It had been a long and quite tiring day - no more 10 mile diversions for me from now on!
Distance: 77.2 miles
Total ascent: 1893m
Cumulative distance: 674.4 miles
Interactive route map and profile: http://ridewithgps.com/trips/1910