It was a tough long climb out of Keswick to start the dayand without breakfast that’s no mean feat! My hostel was just a room (though it did have laundry facilities thankfully) so I had planned to have brunch in Carlisle, though that was 27 miles away.
My body was used to cycling on no food as I used to eat when I got to work when I commuted in London. I plodded along, nursing my knee which flared up again today taking in the scenery. The rain clouds hovered and I could see further up the valley a mist which brought me rain for the first time on a cycling day on this trip. 7 days without rain and mostly wall to wall sunshine was never going to last! The joy of being on a single track road up in the Lake District is seeing great wildlife. Today I saw a red squirrel! A very rare feat for a southerner like me and the first wild one I’ve seen in my entire life. He (or she) ran out in front of me, I slammed on the brakes and tried to take a photo. He was just as inquisitive about me as I was about him so he poked his head up over a rock to look at me and then scurried away.
Full of happiness I carried on through the (annoying) gates about every few hundred metres along the road. It made for slow progress as in the rain and with the heavy bike I needed to dismount each time.
The road started to descend into Carlisle and I spotted a Sainsburys just in town with a cafe. Perfect brunch. The rain had also made me really cold so I put on the light fleece I had with me to wear in the evenings. As this would then be unwearable later on, I purchased a brilliant wooly knit. It’s so warm, I’m glad of the swap.
Onwards to Gretna and the border of Scotland – a much better welcome than Wales gave. I followed either the NCN7 or NCN74 all the way to Moffat which is essentially a 30 mile climb running parallel with the motorway. My knee and undercarriage was killing me by the time I got to Moffat so a shower, good dinner and early night was on the cards before the climb up to Glasgow tomorrow.