kipperfish: (Willow be bad)
[personal profile] kipperfish
Land's End to John O'Groats Day 9 - Keswick to Moffat 73 miles (total distance travelled 603 miles, 383 to go)

So, given all the brexit happenings this year, and the fact that I am now in Scotland, I don't know whether you need to have a passport or sign a waiver or something before you read this post. To that end, you read this at your own risk!

We were back on normal form this morning with a wakey wakey climb out of Keswick that seemed to be trying to make up for lost time on the previous two days. Before it started, I think I waved at Goose Poo Island for Claire, but I could equally have been waving at a completely different island. So, in my mind it was the right one, and I felt good about it. The climb however, well, it felt never ending. Occasionally it would make you think it was done by flattening out, and even putting in a few slightly downhill sections, but that was only to lull you into a false sense of security as round the next corner, or over the next lump, you could see the next part of the rise. I'm not too proud to admit that I got off the bike and walked up a couple of the steeper slopes!

By morning brew, I'd completely tapped out of all energy reserves, and I mainly remember slowly drifting down the grass, on my bike, being told "you can stop here!" and not remembering what I was supposed to do next. Having remembered to get off my bike, I then only just remembered to lay it down gently before Royce called out "Someone get that man a cake!". Nothing like making an entrance at a Brew Stop :-)

After that, the road went downhill for a while, before flattening out all the way through Gretna Green, where you'll be sad to learn that I didn't elope with any of the tour - in fact, I don't think any eloping happened at all. Seems rather a waste really. We came all the way to Gretna Green, and no-one had a whistle stop wedding.

The rest of the way took us past various small villages, with signs to Dumfries (a place I've heard of) a constant sight. We also went past Lockerbie (another place I recognise, mainly because of the plane crash in the 1980's), before finally trundling into Moffat.

We had our first Sam brew stops today - Sam having taken over from Rob a few days ago, and I have to say that whilst they aren't as good as Tina's, he did crack out the lemon puffs AND the Battenberg cake, which made the morning and afternoon cuppa a very nice experience.

Moments of note of the day: well, the obvious one gets first mention. We went past a building today that housed "The Devil's Porridge Museum". Apparently, and very disappointingly, this is not a museum about porridge. It is in fact something to do with a munitions factory in one of the world wars, so I was told at dinner tonight. It completely ruined my image of the place being some satanical worship area where the Devil himself appeared to people in their bowls of porridge, and whether you had golden syrup, fruit or just sugar in it determined the type of message you got from him.

We also went across a level crossing today. It was totally calm, and absolutely nothing happened. Well, except for the fact that after I had gone across the first piece of track, the alarms suddenly started going off, which startled me somewhat, and it was then a sudden dash to get to the other side before the gates came down. I managed this, with one of the people I was with, but the other two were stuck the other side of the crossing, so with nothing else to do, we sat there and waited for the train to come through. The brew van also arrived at the gates and waited for the train, but much to the disappointment of the two on the side of the gates with it, Sam did not crack open a box of biscuits for them. The train duly went past, and I forgot that the gates would go up again, and was nearly chinned by them!

The final highlight, the Welcome to Scotland sign. Now, when we went to Wales, we flirted with it a bit and left pretty quickly, before going back for a bit of seconds a day or two later. With Scotland, I think we'll be a bit more faithful, and rather than having the proverbial one-night stand before heading back to England, I think we are here for the long haul, which is pretty much what tomorrow will be as it is our first 80 mile day. And guess what, it starts with a climb!

I was nervous when I started writing this entry that we wouldn't get much sleep tonight. I had just got back from our group meal, walked into our room, and the smoke alarm suddenly went off. The owners of the B&B came in and told me in no uncertain terms that it was going off because of smoke, and glared at me as though I'd lit up a cigarette right there and then. After checking that there was a) no smoke, b) no smell of smoke, and c) realising that I was telling the truth that I wasn't a smoker, they reset the alarm, left me an umbrella with which to do the same thing if it went off again, and went away. 10 minutes later, it went off again. I reset it. 10 minutes later, I looked up at it, and I think essentially looking to piss me off, it went off again, but this time it would not reset. The proprietors then realised that it might be faulty, so took it down and took it away! Still a bit miffed at the earlier assumption that I had caused it when I walked in, as it felt like they had clearly seen me with 20 lit cigarettes in my hand!

Still not in John O'Groats yet.

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