A Scottish C2C over 3 sunny days at Easter.

Brandane

Rain; It's not big and it's not clever!
Location
Costa Clyde.
During the cold and wet winter months, I came up with this route as the basis for a Scottish Coast to Coast, from my home town of Largs, Ayrshire; heading east and finishing just across the border in Berwick on Tweed.

Fast forward to Easter weekend 2015 and the opportunity suddenly came about to do the ride. Although I would have preferred to leave it a month or two to get more miles in my legs, everything else fell into place - no work; a dry weather forecast with a favourable westerly breeze, and no other excuses getting in the way. So it was decided on Friday night to head off the next morning! It was all a bit rushed with getting the Tricross sorted for its trip, and then a search on laterooms.com for a B&B at the first nights stop in Carstairs, Lanarkshire. A distance of about 50/60 miles per day seemed reasonable - doing it in two days would have been a bit much for me and I don't like rushing on the bike.

Saturday 4th April dawned and as promised, the sun was out. Still a touch chilly, but let's not complain: when the rain is absent in the west of Scotland it's a bonus. Kept the load as light as possible so managed to easily keep the luggage requirements down to my Carradice saddlebag, and made use of the new bagman quick release frame I had bought for it. Loaded up the Tricross, and booked a night at the Village Inn, Carstairs. Left the house and got to the end of my street when I realised that there was something amiss with the normally very smooth runnings of the Tricross. Sounded like the chain wasn't running smoothly on the cassette, but only on the high gears. No time for faffing, so back to the house and transferred the luggage to the Trek MTB.. Not a great start to the day, and a good reason why it is essential to have more bikes than you really "need".

After the slightly delayed start, I headed south to Fairlie, and then over the familiar Fairlie Moor to Dalry. This is a killer of a climb, and I hoped it would be the hardest that I would come across on the C2C (it was!).
Saying goodbye to the west coast from the Fairlie Moor:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20001_zpsfgcgutjn.jpg


The route as far as Strathaven was all familiar territory to me, so no problems with navigation, and it was all downloaded onto Garmin anyway - although that doesn't always mean no problems, as I discovered on day 2! Whilst climbing the Fenwick moor towards Eaglesham, I heard my phone ringing in my saddlebag, so stopped to answer it. It was the Village Inn at Carstairs, apologising that due to circumstances outwith their control they would be unable to honour the booking I had made that morning on laterooms.com.. Wonderful; especially as there is not a lot of choice in that area. I decided to carry on regardless, and hoped to find something in Lanark. Long story short - after a visit to Tourist Information and 2 hours in Lanark, it was obvious the place was full. So .... plan B. Return home by train and abandon. Strava day 1.

I was home by about 8pm, and had a re-think. This was too good an opportunity and we might not get another dry weekend; this being the west of Scotland in summer time. So on Sunday morning I swapped bikes from the MTB to the Trek hybrid, got back on the first train to Glasgow (9.00 in summer, an hour later in winter!) and then a connecting service to Lanark. I was in Lanark for about 11:15, a bit of a late start for my liking with 60 miles to pedal on unfamiliar routes. So no time for hanging about, off I went following the breadcrumb trail on Garmin. Not a great route to start with, along a busy A road south out of Lanark, but soon it took me onto some nicer minor roads - and hills; lots of HILLS!

Onwards to Biggar where I hoped to pick up the Tweed Valley cycle route, which allegedly exists and runs right to the English border. Alas, they forgot to signpost it in Biggar, and despite my enquiries no-one I spoke to had ever heard of it. So I was back to relying on Garmin; always a dangerous thing to do IME.. It directed me along a path beside a river. So far so good, I thought; this must be a tributary of the Tweed. A few miles further on and it becomes a soggy, muddy bridleway - and continues like that for several miles. It was uncycleable in places. I could see a road running parallel to the north which is the one I am sure I SHOULD have been on, but there was the small matter of a river between us, and no bridge. So I persevered on this all the way to Broughton:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20011_zps5d6rmjpg.jpg


Once in Broughton things were much improved and I got back on tarmac, on quiet minor roads. The River Tweed was looking good, and I spent the next few hours going along its banks:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20004_zpsbmvosfoc.jpg


Of course when planning a route along a "valley" you tend to forget that a valley has big hills up the sides of it; and that is where the minor roads take you! This was a more typical view of the river:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20024_zps4dlcnucf.jpg


My favourite part of the day was the 5 miles of flat cyclepath running alongside the river between Peebles and Innerleithen, bliss:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20023_zpshpeq3j6e.jpg


I arrived at my hotel in Melrose about 6pm. It was the Waverley Castle Hotel which is one of those "grand back in the day, but now a stopover for Shearings bus tours" type places. I opted to have the £15 for 3 courses dinner at the hotel as the town was a hill too far away for my tired legs! As it turned out, dinner was excellent, the Guinness was OK, and the shower fantastic. My only complaint was the heat in the hotel was stifling, obviously set for the majority of the clientele who were cracking on a bit. I slept with the heating off and the window open and was still sweating. Strava day 2.

Day 3.....
Was up for another shower and into breakfast for the opening time of 8am.. Breakfast was not bad, but not generous enough to see me over too many hills. I was on the road for 9am; another sunny day. Started off following the Tweed again:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20029_zpslxie0hw6.jpg


Soon it was up and down a few hills, but after Kelso things levelled out for the most part. Crossing the border presented no problems; they let me in OK and were happy to take foreign money:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20030_zpsr4xbns0t.jpg


A castle that "they" used to use for keeping the good guys out!
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20032_zpsmhnahkyl.jpg


I over estimated the mileage to Berwick, as it turned out to be only 45 miles which meant I was there for early afternoon. I rode past the train station to the harbour, looking for somewhere to do the traditional dipping of the rear wheel in the water, but there weren't any slipways that I could find. Rather than carry the bike down a ladder, I had to settle for these photos:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20036_zpsb7rwydne.jpg


Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20037_zps0wakzcpt.jpg


After that it was back up the hill to the train station for the 2.20pm train to Glasgow, and connection to Largs. It took just over 3 hours to do the return journey :ohmy:. Strava day 3.

That's that one off the list then. Next?? :smile:
 
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ScotiaLass

Guru
Location
Middle Earth
Brilliant write-up, thanks for sharing!
 
OP
Brandane

Brandane

Rain; It's not big and it's not clever!
Location
Costa Clyde.
[QUOTE 3630895, member: 9609"]Wish I had known you were doing this, I would have joined you for a few miles. You have had a wonderful couple of days, although I see the harr was in down at berwick, stayed beautiful all day inland.

Your picture at Norham was interesting, I took virtually the sama view a week ago for the picture competition thing LINK

what was your exact route ?[/QUOTE]

The haar only appeared a few miles from Berwick; otherwise hardly a cloud for 3 days. Some sort of personal record :laugh:.
The report has now been updated with links to the Strava routes.
 

Pat "5mph"

A kilogrammicaly challenged woman
Moderator
Location
Glasgow
Great report, extra kudos for not giving up after the accommodation hurdle!
How did your bike stay so clean after the muddy trail to Broughton?
 
OP
Brandane

Brandane

Rain; It's not big and it's not clever!
Location
Costa Clyde.
Great report, extra kudos for not giving up after the accommodation hurdle!
How did your bike stay so clean after the muddy trail to Broughton?
I thought I'd better do something with the bike before I got to the hotel in Melrose, otherwise it would have been spending the night chained up outside. So once the mud had dried I scraped the worst of it off. It must have worked as they let me wheel it through reception and into the porters room for the night! :smile:
 
Good write up and ride. I was down round Biggar and Broughton on Sunday on the bike. It looks like you followed the old railway line from Biggar. I have a plan to do most of this route in a day but starting from home in Motherwell. I'm just looking at the train times back from Berwick. Did you have to book your bike on the train from Berwick?
 

Chopper62

New Member
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20001_zpsfgcgutjn.jpg


The route as far as Strathaven was all familiar territory to me, so no problems with navigation, and it was all downloaded onto Garmin anyway - although that doesn't always mean no problems, as I discovered on day 2! Whilst climbing the Fenwick moor towards Eaglesham, I heard my phone ringing in my saddlebag, so stopped to answer it. It was the Village Inn at Carstairs, apologising that due to circumstances outwith their control they would be unable to honour the booking I had made that morning on laterooms.com.. Wonderful; especially as there is not a lot of choice in that area. I decided to carry on regardless, and hoped to find something in Lanark. Long story short - after a visit to Tourist Information and 2 hours in Lanark, it was obvious the place was full. So .... plan B. Return home by train and abandon. Strava day 1.

I was home by about 8pm, and had a re-think. This was too good an opportunity and we might not get another dry weekend; this being the west of Scotland in summer time. So on Sunday morning I swapped bikes from the MTB to the Trek hybrid, got back on the first train to Glasgow (9.00 in summer, an hour later in winter!) and then a connecting service to Lanark. I was in Lanark for about 11:15, a bit of a late start for my liking with 60 miles to pedal on unfamiliar routes. So no time for hanging about, off I went following the breadcrumb trail on Garmin. Not a great route to start with, along a busy A road south out of Lanark, but soon it took me onto some nicer minor roads - and hills; lots of HILLS!

Onwards to Biggar where I hoped to pick up the Tweed Valley cycle route, which allegedly exists and runs right to the English border. Alas, they forgot to signpost it in Biggar, and despite my enquiries no-one I spoke to had ever heard of it. So I was back to relying on Garmin; always a dangerous thing to do IME.. It directed me along a path beside a river. So far so good, I thought; this must be a tributary of the Tweed. A few miles further on and it becomes a soggy, muddy bridleway - and continues like that for several miles. It was uncycleable in places. I could see a road running parallel to the north which is the one I am sure I SHOULD have been on, but there was the small matter of a river between us, and no bridge. So I persevered on this all the way to Broughton:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20011_zps5d6rmjpg.jpg


Once in Broughton things were much improved and I got back on tarmac, on quiet minor roads. The River Tweed was looking good, and I spent the next few hours going along its banks:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20004_zpsbmvosfoc.jpg


Of course when planning a route along a "valley" you tend to forget that a valley has big hills up the sides of it; and that is where the minor roads take you! This was a more typical view of the river:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20024_zps4dlcnucf.jpg


My favourite part of the day was the 5 miles of flat cyclepath running alongside the river between Peebles and Innerleithen, bliss:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20023_zpshpeq3j6e.jpg


I arrived at my hotel in Melrose about 6pm. It was the Waverley Castle Hotel which is one of those "grand back in the day, but now a stopover for Shearings bus tours" type places. I opted to have the £15 for 3 courses dinner at the hotel as the town was a hill too far away for my tired legs! As it turned out, dinner was excellent, the Guinness was OK, and the shower fantastic. My only complaint was the heat in the hotel was stifling, obviously set for the majority of the clientele who were cracking on a bit. I slept with the heating off and the window open and was still sweating. Strava day 2.

Day 3.....
Was up for another shower and into breakfast for the opening time of 8am.. Breakfast was not bad, but not generous enough to see me over too many hills. I was on the road for 9am; another sunny day. Started off following the Tweed again:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20029_zpslxie0hw6.jpg


Soon it was up and down a few hills, but after Kelso things levelled out for the most part. Crossing the border presented no problems; they let me in OK and were happy to take foreign money:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20030_zpsr4xbns0t.jpg


A castle that "they" used to use for keeping the good guys out!
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20032_zpsmhnahkyl.jpg


I over estimated the mileage to Berwick, as it turned out to be only 45 miles which meant I was there for early afternoon. I rode past the train station to the harbour, looking for somewhere to do the traditional dipping of the rear wheel in the water, but there weren't any slipways that I could find. Rather than carry the bike down a ladder, I had to settle for these photos:
Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20036_zpsb7rwydne.jpg


Scottish%20C2C%20Easter%202015.%20037_zps0wakzcpt.jpg


After that it was back up the hill to the train station for the 2.20pm train to Glasgow, and connection to Largs. It took just over 3 hours to do the return journey :ohmy:. Strava day 3.

That's that one off the list then. Next?? :smile:[/QUOTE]
 

Chopper62

New Member
Excellent description of what seemed like an eventful and most enjoyable few days cycling. I have cycled with Brandane before and he does well to keep up ;-)
Well done, good effort!
 
OP
Brandane

Brandane

Rain; It's not big and it's not clever!
Location
Costa Clyde.
Did you have to book your bike on the train from Berwick?
Yes, but only about 30 minutes prior to departure. Obviously it depends on whether there are other bikes already booked on that particular train. It was Cross Country trains, with spaces for 3 bikes.
 
OP
Brandane

Brandane

Rain; It's not big and it's not clever!
Location
Costa Clyde.
Excellent description of what seemed like an eventful and most enjoyable few days cycling. I have cycled with Brandane before and he does well to keep up ;-)
Well done, good effort!
Not quite mastered the quote/reply facility on here yet? :laugh:
Good to finally see you on here, oh follicly challenged one ;). You never know, this site may broaden your horizons and you might manage to get that bike past the Inverclyde boundary signs. You will of course need to work on the fitness first :okay:.
 

Bobby Mhor

Wasn't born to follow
Location
Behind You
Not quite mastered the quote/reply facility on here yet? :laugh:
Good to finally see you on here, oh follicly challenged one ;). You never know, this site may broaden your horizons and you might manage to get that bike past the Inverclyde boundary signs. You will of course need to work on the fitness first :okay:.
Even I can escape Inverclyde:okay:
PS Yon is some hill you did first, I walked over it ONCE and that was enough....
 
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