Over Shap to Scotland
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We started today's ride by following National Cycle Route 6 from Milnthorpe to Kendal. It was great to be on quiet country lanes again, even if some steep sections meant that I had to use my small chainwheel for the first time since Friday.
Today was the warmest day of the ride so far, with bright sunshine most of the day. However a headwind slowed our progress at times.
After a short stop in Kendal to stock up on food, we rejoined the A6 for the long climb up Shap Fell. This is a long slog up to 1400 feet, though not particularly steep, and it was mainly a case of selecting a low gear and preparing to stay in it for a ten mile climb.
At the top (where motorists parked in the lay-bay were waving to me in salute) we paused to enjoy the view before starting a fast descent to Shap village. There we stopped for takeaway coffee from the village shop. Then on to Penrith for lunch in the main square.
We continued north from Penrith along minor roads to Carlisle, where we decided not to stop: we would keep going and take our tea in Scotland!
The A74 between Carlisle and Gretna is currently being converted to a motorway and cyclists are now prohibited. When construction work is complete an all-purpose road (that cyclists can use) will run alongside. However at present all cyclists have to follow a diversion via the A7 to Longtown and then the A6071 to Gretna. This forced us to ride several extra miles on relatively busy roads.
At Gretna we entered Scotland. At the border crossing we met another group of charity End-to-enders resting besides the "Scotland welcomes you" sign, one of whom kindly agreed to take a photo of us.
We then stopped at a cafe at the "Gretna Outlet Village" before continuing along the B727 to Dumfries via Annan. We faced quite a headwind along this stretch, blowing straight off the Solway Firth.
At Dumfries we checked into our guest house for the night, and enjoyed dinner in a nearby Italian Restaurant.
Vital statistics: Mileage: 90 miles. Average speed: 13.3 mph. Total mileage since Land's End: 549 miles.
Tomorrow: Day 8 Dumfries to Largs