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Day 9 - Ettrick to Perth

semi-overcast 14 °C

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Well rested with the bikes all serviced and clean after our rest day in Ettrick we hit the road again to clock some serious miles today. In total we were cycling from 9.30am to gone 8pm. over 90 miles in total today over some early hills before winding our way down to the valleys of the Forth.

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soon the wilds of the borders were a distant memory as the traffic and civilisation built up as we entered the outskirts of Edinburgh, it seemed to take an age to navigate our way around the suburbs, but we finally made it after playing chicken with several lorries. And we were treated by the sight of the Forth rail bridge as we crossed the road bridge on our way up to Perth.

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Perth is a much bigger city then any of us imagined and it would have been nice to have spent more time there, but unfortunately with the light failing and the Garmin battery out of juice it was down to Wills iPhone to see us home for the last few miles

The site in Perth was called Noah's Ark and as we arrived in 2 by 2 we were glad of a place to call home for the night after a long day in the saddle.

Tomorrow we take on the Cairngorms.

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 13:08 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 8 Temple Sowerby to Ettrick

Scotland at last

all seasons in one day 14 °C

The lovely owners of the campsite at Temple Sowerby kindly donated our site fees to the RNIB. This site, part of a working farm, is one of the best we've stayed at. We said goodbye to "Harriet" the highland cow, who had kept us company all night in the next field.

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We soon passed the site of Hadrian's wall - although in this section there's not much to see. We had sunday roast at a pub in Brampton - I had forgotten it was sunday - you lose track of the days of the week. Soon out of Brampton the roast lunch was telling us to go to sleep in front of the TV, instead of climbing hills, and dad had an attack of the 'bonk' otherwise known as jelly legs, and needed to stop for 10 minutes to replenish the blood sugar levels. After that, Scotland seemed a long time in coming, but we finally got there (see picture).

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I haven't been to the Scottish borders before but it's beautiful country. The road to Eskdalemuir and Ettrick is single track, but newly surfaced - maybe for all the timber trucks. Very easy on the behind after 8 days in the saddle. There's lots of forestry land here, some of it clear cut in swathes. Ah well - it'll grow again in 40 years.

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The last section was an 8 mile descent into Ettrick - hitting over 40MPH!!!! We got to a campsite to find it was the wrong one - the one we wanted was 3 miles further on. Still downhill though. After a false sighting of the mother ship, we finally got to the right campsite, and a welcome rest day for monday. Mick, befriended on the campsite, then had a go at teaching Chris and Will to Fly fish. Will did catch one (without realising it) but it was small and needed to be put back. As he put it he taught that fish a valuable lesson.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 10:54 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (1)

Day 7 - Mellor to Temple Sowerby

sunny 18 °C

We set off today after the Mother ship dropped us back at our previous stop point and immediately started a solid day of climbing weaving our way up past Clitherhoe through Slaidburn and past the Ribble Valley. We headed through the Trough of Bowland (Which apparently is Wiggo's Stomping ground) we did look out for him but we were pretty focused on trying to get through the pretty arduous climbs.

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Progress in the morning was terribly slow with the climbs draining the legs, and we had to stop for some decent Yorkshire grub at a great cafe stop near Slaidburn in the glaring sun as a clutch of ageing bikers from Leeds discussed the merits of electronic vs manual speedo's and the like, (Quite poetic given the setting). Newly refreshed we headed up between the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake district Past Sedburgh, a lovely town dominated by a School we used to play at Rugby whose folklore said that the 1st XV wouldn't wash their kit until they lost a match, I remember playing them in the St Josephs festival with 2 players that looked about 25 years old and a stinking full season mud brown kit.

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We finished up the day to the west of Penrith on a lovely site on a farm with Harriet the Highland cow our only neighbour. She may have prematurely given us our first taste of Scotland, but tomorrow see's us all head for the border.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 15:19 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 6 - Market Drayton to Mellor

overcast 13 °C

Ah - the Cheshire plain. Fast miles again, but no hills for will. The towns passed quickly - Nantwich, Middlewich, Knutsford. The Stockbroker belt and footballers homes gradually gave way to canal towpaths and industrial towns like Wigan and Chorley. Somewhere in the great conurbation (near Leigh?) we stopped for lunch at a pub. We're getting used to asking the bar staff to fill up 8 water bottles. Its so tempting to get a pint of beer, but we all know that we'll never reach our destination if we start down that route. One good thing about burning several thousand calories a day is the licence to eat a great deal more than we normally do - including copious amounts of carbs. We ended up climbing the lancashire moors above Blackburn to our destination at Mellor. We made a rendezvous with the mother ship at the Boddington Arms near the BAe factory. We then drove to a drizzly campsite at Longridge - the nearest we could find to our route. This is the first time we used the chocks on the mother ship to stop her rolling down into the valley. The rain on the roof made it easy to drift into sleep. Tomorrow the delights of Lancashire and Cumbria.

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Posted by LePratt-LeJog 14:52 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

Day 5 - Mordiford to Market Drayton

sunny 20 °C

We had a rest day on Wednesday and spent the day mainly eating and drinking in the pub, getting the bikes cleaned and burned out break blocks replaced. We also have to thank Mark Morrison from the Wye Valley Health facility who treated Chris's knee gratis helping keep him in the saddle.

We began anew this morning fresh and ready to push on into the Black Country. Herefordshire and Shropshire are very flat - hurray! We skirted the "blue remember'd hills" and one giant pimple that could have been a revegetated slag heap. The lack of hills made it boring for Will, who likes nothing better than a lung bursting climb. We found the longest stretch of road in England without a pub. So many villages without a shop a pub or a post office - or anything. They look picturesque enough but what do people do? For lunch we spent about 15 miles looking for a place to eat before happening on a pub. We passed through some interesting towns - places like Leominster and Ludlow. Places where it would be nice to spend some time - but we are on a mission, and we need to clock up the miles. The campsite that evening was by a canal (Shropshire Union) and across the road from a pub - idyllic. We met a fellow cyclist at the campsite who made a spontaneous donation to the cause, as did a passer by in Admaston. Many thanks to them. No animal incidents today - though plenty of roadkill - especially badgers. Its been a good year for them - but not the ones we saw.

Tomorrow we try to navigate a route north while avoiding Manchester and Liverpool - tricky.

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 14:25 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

More Blog entries to follow

sunny 18 °C

We have made it to Ettrick in the Scottish Borders now, but with Beautiful mountainous backdrops comes terrible signal. All is well and we will be uploading the blog entries as soon as we have a reliable signal.

Keep Watching

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 07:08 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged scotland way poor over half signal Comments (0)

Day 4 - Cheddar to Mordeford

sunny 19 °C

On a beautifully cool, but sunny morning the lejoggers set off from Cheddar in the direction of Bristol. The first climb on this, the last day of major climbs before our first rest day, was a long climb up the famous Cheddar Gorge. Watched only by a few goats an some tourists we wove our way up into the Mendips, stopping for the occasional route check. The sun was topping up the tan on the right hand side of all the riders (we will have to do the journey in reverse to even it up) and we finally came to a beautiful vista overlooking the Chew Valley Lake. A long downhill section followed during which Colin tested his bike skills to the limit narrowly avoiding a yapping dog with lemming ambitions and a young horse who was spooked by a bad driver.

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After a short 'course correction' we sailed across the Chew Valley Lake and on towards Bristol. After a few more hills we made our way across Bristol in search of the ZeroG bike store, to replace our worn brake pads and to have Will's lock ring tightened on his cassette, which had been rattling all morning.

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Unfortunately a bike shop is a distraction that all the team can't resist and so we spent about half an hour and more than £100 on various bits and pieces.

When we returned to our quest we were 'blessed' with some genuine Banksy artwork near Bristol City Football Club, before then climbing up a short hill that runs up to the Clifton Suspension Bridge and on towards the old Severn Bridge.

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We took lunch at a delightful Harvester restaurant before then finding our way to the cyclists crossing of the Severn Bridge. It's a windy crossing even on a fair day, but the views are breathtaking and as we rolled across our spirits were lifted in perfect time for some tough but very picturesque climbs that welcomed us to Wales. Galloping past Chepstow Race Course, we then descended into a beautiful valley at Tintern, and stopped for photos by the ruined Tintern Abbey.

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From Tintern we then wound our way into the Wye Valley, via the Forest of Dean and some exciting downhill sections which saw us topping 40mph in places. The Wye Valley will be our host for our first rest day on day five and after an inauspicious welcome (we came across what looked like a scene from casualty, but turned out to be a major incident test for the local emergency services!) we found our way gradually to our campsite and glided to our pitch to the now familiar chant of Wiggo! Wiggo!

Posted by LePratt-LeJog 14:40 Archived in United Kingdom Comments (0)

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