Day 13, Wednesday 4 June, 2014 - Gretna Green to Hamilton

Dist : 134 km
Riding time: 6:51
Total time (including stops) :
Stops: 3
Climb meters up/down 896/855 m

Today was a tough day.
It was difficult waking up and then checking the weather forecast and looking out the window was an indicator to the day ahead.

I left the factory outlet and reception centres of Gretna Green behind, traveling north on A74 on a wet road. It was not raining for a while and in the first undulating 15km, I had the Chinese students from Liverpool on their 125cc motorcycles pass me. They had finished for semester and where on a "big adventure " to Fort William. Next I met another cyclist coming the other way. His name was Peter and he had a load on - 100 lbs including bike (about 45kg ). He gave me a lot of advice about camping, as he had slept on the side of the road overnight and woke at 5:30 freezing. I couldn't bring myself to tell him I was "credit card camping". Peter has ridden from Birmingham to JOG and was on his way back having done 1100miles (1700km). He was a character and was using plastic bags for shoe overboots. We wished each other well and headed in opposite directons.

At Lockerbie, I had morning tea then cycled thru Sherwood Crescent where 11 locals in a town of 4000 died when the fuel tanks and wing of PAN AM Flight 103 hit several houses and left a large crater which become the iconic photo of the PAM AM terrorist explosion on 21 Dec 1988. We were in the US at the time and there was obviously blanket coverage, and the plane had many students returning home for Xmas. This quiet, Scottish town seemed so disconnected from a disaster that redefined airline terrorism and brought the end of PAN AM which was the largest US International airline at the time. It ceased operation in 1991 after 64 yrs.

The road north was quite undulating, and had excellent cycle paths in a number of spots. Some were separate paths which is even better.

I struggled to get to Larkhall, as my hands were so numb I couldn't change gear or brake properly. There I bought some rubber gloves, consumed 6 small caramel tarts and a hot chocolate. Heading back into the north west wind with rain coming down was not pleasant , but my hands were dryer and warmer.

Further out the road, I took a wrong turn and ended up in a road house and took the opportunity to use the hand warmers in the bathroom. There were a motorcycling couple trying to warm up. The were from nth Spain and had gone to the TT as well. The afternoon trip up the M6 would have been wet and cold. They also where going to Fort William

Eventually I cycled into Hamilton and found a hotel. Turns out it is famous for its tapas, which I enjoyed for dinner.

Tomorrow is forecast to be wet, clearing for fine on Friday,