Day 6 – 12th August
Auldgirth – Dumfries – Gretna – Carlisle – Penrith – Shap – Kendal – 89.1 miles
Today did not start well. We were late getting away mainly because I had developed a problem with the gear change on my bike. It had steadily got worse yesterday to the point that the chain kept coming off. No way was that bike going to get me up Shap Fell, so we decided that Trev would take it to a bike shop, I would ride my 30 year old hybrid reserve bike and Bob and I would manage without support for as long as it took.
Trev came up trumps, took the bike to Halfords in Dumfries and a nice man called Graham sorted the problem in no time. In the meantime, on my shire horse of a bike I took a wrong turn out of the campsite and managed an unnecessary 3 mile detour. Fortunately within 20 miles my bike and I were reunited otherwise I would still have been cycling this leg at midnight.
Despite an inauspicious beginning the day has been fantastic. During lunch at Gretna the skies cleared and the sun came out. You have no idea how good it felt to have the sun on our backs. Up until now sun cream had been top of my list of useless items I had packed. Now? it’s a pair of swimming trunks. What was I thinking!
The afternoon was glorious, through Carlisle, over the Solway and down to Penrith. Another lovely town. But the highlight definitely the climb up Shap Fell. Not as testing as Glencoe (except maybe from the opposite direction) but just as satisfying. At 1600 ft the summit affords a panoramic view to die for and with not a cloud in the sky we were treated to a spectacular one. What a privilege.
The descent is just as exhilarating and needless to say we made good time to Kendal, finally reaching out camp site at 6.30. Exhausted but very happy. It was a wonderful day and we were treated to amazing views. Views that coined “Jerusalem”.
We have met some interesting characters on our trip so far. Ben in Fort William and Tommy in Tain. An engaging young man spoke to us today just outside Shap. He was wearing an England rugby shirt and we talked to him about rugby. Bob asked him if he played. No he replied, “I’m from Shap”.
The star of the day though was a young lady we encountered just short of Shap Summit, pushing a bed. Yep, you have read it right. Pushing a bed ……… from JO’G’s to Lands End. Unbelievable, and makes our effort look pathetic by comparison.
This evening we were visited by Trevs cousin Ray and his wife Sue. They brought a Red Cross parcel, shepherds pie, gravy, vegetables, red wine and flapjack. Fantastic, and a huge thank you to you both. Lovely to meet you.
Owen Pates and his wife Jodie had also left a lovely card and a bottle of bubbly at the camp site for our arrival to mark the fact we were half way there. Such a kind thought and a fitting end to a fantastic day – a day that Bob and I dubbed ‘sore arse’ day!
Miles to go 550