Thursday, July 16, 2015

Flat, Grey and Windy

Following the heartiest of hearty breakfasts, the first kilometres of day five were hard work. Weather forecasts became a gloating reality, and an already grey sky knitted itself further together to make a solid, drab wall in the sky. Accompanying gale force winds, for once not emanating from my vicinity, swept from the waters edge and continually smothered us from the right. Progress was slow but admirably steady. Continuing south along the coast, safe in the knowledge Em was close behind, I slipped into a thigh-powered trance. The winds became a blur, and my legs not my own. This delightful witchcraft lasted a fair distance, until I was awoken by the odd sight of an Italian Bistro in this remote part of Scotland. Turning around to enlighten Emily with this discovery, I discovered she wasn’t anywhere to be seen. I waited, and waited, and mildly panicked. Phone signal was intermittent, but strong enough to show six missed calls. Puncture number one. Happily, there were no other cyclists or tourers to witness our fumbled attempts to rectify the problem. Broken tools, make-up brushes posing as tools, and a discovery that Em’s spare inner tubes were the wrong size, resulted in our heading to a conveniently located hotel bar for a coffee. After mild dithering, a cappuccino, and a green tea, I cycled to the next town with Em’s wheel, and Em followed with the rest of her bike in a taxi.

With the wind ever increasing, and new weather warnings in place, we decided to head to the haven that is Kilmarnock, and re-access the situation there. Already leaning heavily towards the ‘fuck it, lets stop’ line of thought, this was cemented as we inadvertently found ourselves bouncing along a motorway somewhere between Irvine and Kilmarnock.

Last night represented the final night of our pre-booked accommodation, a blissful Air BnB stopover with, by chance, other bike-touring enthusiasts. A massive pasta dinner, followed by apple crumble, and wonderful tales of Helen & Ed's cycling adventures all over the world, all made for a sweet evening. One of their pearls of wisdom was simply going with the flow, and of knowing when to cut losses. The 'when' was 3pm. The 'where' was just outside Kilmarnock. Battling the perils of the wind, repairing flat tyres, and my niggling painful ankle, had seen us grow weary. So, as we received the news that we'd missed lunch, and the Fox Bar Restaurant & Hotel kitchen wasn't open till 5.30, we inquired about a room for the night with an air of contented resignation.

At the local pharmacy we purchased Deep Heat, and once the kitchen was open we ordered steak pie, and macaroni cheese. In the room we re-routed tomorrow's pedalling, and looked for accommodation in Gretna Green.

Km's completed: 58.8
Pedalling time: 2.59hrs
Average speed: 19.6km/h
Wind speeds: 40km/h
Punctures: 1

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