Having retrieved our bikes from the hostel shed – from a pile of 14 or so – we headed back south along the lakeside and on to National Cycle Route 10, ie a gravelly track, for 13 miles, across remote moorland to Newcastleton.
This stretch west of the Water feels remote: a very few practical buildings and a lot of foresty not very much.
Most of the time we were on goodish if stony forest tracks, but the most isolated bit of NCN10 was a puddled, muddy, stony, narrow path that had me cursing like someone had refused to top up my pint.
After a shingly drop to Kershope Burn bridge, a sign welcomed us into Scotland.
We enjoyed four miles or so of fantastic downhill, scooting with a tailwind along a reasonably good farmtrack by the burn.
We were soon back in England and facing a stiff climb and succession of Cumbrian ups and downs on back lanes. The weather was up and down too, sunny and warm one minute, cold and cloudy the next.
We were in Carlisle by lunchtime, but failed to get any wifi in the Wetherspoons, which was annoying as we’d had to buy a pint to justify our being there, then another one to justify the first.
With our gear deposited safely in our Travelodge room, we could ride unencumbered to Bowness on Solway, 13 flat miles away, and a bit of a slog into the wind.
Now, this isn’t the finish of the Reivers – that’s in Whitehaven, a further 40-odd miles along some back roads. But it was as far as our Reivers was going, because Bowness has a little pavilion that marks the start of Hadrian’s Cycleway, which we were now going to follow back to Newcastle…
Miles today: 73
Miles Newcastle to Bowness: 115