Day 9 - Patterdale to Dumfries

The overnight rain had cleared by the time I woke up, and I left my B&B about 8.45 with the sun trying to break through the Lakeland clouds. Ullswater was looking beautiful as I skirted the lake and then climbed north over another high hill (1180 ft, my highest point of the day). I then worked my way through some minor roads, past Carrock Fell, and then leaving the Lakes area and heading on small roads towards Carlisle - gently dropping all the time to near sea level. Looking back at the hills, rain seemed to be descending, but it stayed dry for me for the moment.

Entering Carlisle I stopped for a pie, not free this time! Carlisle was the worst signposted city I have been in - not an indication anywhere on my way in, and I had to ask a couple of times to make sure I didn't go round in circles. Eventually I started heading north on the A7 towards Longtown, to avoid the very busy A74. Then west to Gretna where I entered Scotland, having travelled 581 miles from Lands End.

After Gretna I used the B724, through Annan and on west. I was heading towards an extremely black sky. For quite a while it stayed dry, but then the heavens opened. I donned my full set of Goretex waterproofs and slogged on. It was very windy, as it had been most of the day - a southerly which was now a side wind for me as I headed west.

This belt of lowland countryside, not far from the sea, was rather featureless, but it had the redeeming virtue of being flat! Eventually, at 5pm, I reached Dumfries from the south, fairly wet and tired, to be greeted warmly by my overnight hostess, old friend Isobel Docherty, who has promised me a home-cooked three course meal!

Today's mileage: 72. Average speed: 10.9 mph. Total ascent: 3280 ft (1000 m).