Sanquhar Post Office - oldest in the world
Under the A71 - a good place for a snack and a change of clothing in the rain
Today could be described, by a seriously middle aged rider like me, as 'battling'. The terrain was not tough, but heavy rain and wind through much of the day conspired to make it quite a slog.
Isobel gave me a delicious three course meal last night, and I left Dumfries just before 8.30. It was windy but no rain yet. About 6 miles north, on the A74, the rain came. I donned my waterproofs and kept them on for the next four hours. At first the showers were short, but later in the morning there was torrential, sustained rain and wind.
I had decided to stick on the main road, the A74, rather than using minor roads where possible. Traffic was not too bad, the gradient slight, and it seemed the best plan to conserve energy, as I have been feeling quite tired the last couple of days. The A74 climbs gently for many miles, often alongside the river Nith. After 26 miles I reached Sanquhar, desparate for a hot pie, but none to be found. So I had to settle for a photo of the oldest post office in the world (left).
It was after Sanquhar that the heavens opened, and by the time I got to New Cumnock I was thoroughly soaked. New Cumnock is a depressing small town, with shops drab and/or boarded up. But I was cheered up by a group of school boys who waved greetings at me (I don't think it was abuse!)
After Cumnock and Mauchline (still no hot pie!) I turned onto minor roads - the B743 and B730. The sun came out, and it felt good to be alive, though the south-westerly wind was often almost a head wind as I battled west. At the tiny village of Tarbolton I came upon a bike shop and ventured inside to see if they would loan me a floor pump to up the pressures on my tyres - which they would, but it did not have the right valve fitting (some bike shop!).
I passed Dundonald Castle, and the rain returned, though not too heavy. In Irvine centre I stopped at a large fish and chip shop for an early supper. The attendant took my 20 pound note to the till, but then came back with it, saying the manager wanted me to have the supper on him. He was a very friendly man, who warned me that there was a risk of gales tomorrow which might lead to the cancellation of the Arran ferry. (Forecast this evening suggests it won't be that bad.)
I then struggled into winds along the Kilwinning bypass (dual carriageway) before winding up a few country lanes to my B&B above Ardrossan.
75 miles. Ave speed 10.1 mph. Total ascent: 3330 ft.
Medical bulletin: right hand sore, with numbness in two smallest fingers (predicted); bottom sore but surviving (a little cream used for the first time this evening); knees and legs - tired but OK; brain - still functioning, just..