A glorious morning, and what a view to wake up to: the mirrorlike waters of Clatteringshaws Loch in the heart of Galloway Forest Park, right there in front of my tent (picture). And all mine: not another soul for, literally, miles. Not quite mirrorlike enough to see my haggard reflection clearly, which after two weeks of cycling is probably just as well.
I went offroad 15 miles through fabulous loch and mountain scenery (picture) along National Cycle Route 7. Being a Sustrans ‘trunk route’, it was quite breathtaking: I had to keep gasping in amazement at how bad much of the surface was. Luckily I have 38C tyres on my tourer, though here, tractor tyres wouldn’t have been out of place.
After a lot more lovely Galloway scenery on back roads – where ‘rush hour’ is a tractor and car in the same hour – I got to Stranraer mid-afternoon (picture).
Stranraer’s clearly not a boom town, and the relocation of the Stena ferry port in 2011 to Cairnryan, up the road, hasn’t helped. Even the poundshop here has closed down. The harbour (picture) was hardly bustling, but the Custom House pub certainly was, with lots of families, and locals, and bike bloggers using the wifi.
Dunbar to Stranraer has been a memorable and very pleasant trip, with some of Scotland’s less-visited but glorious scenery. There were some of the most enjoyable downhills I’ve had in Britain, and two of the most beautiful and memorable campsite (both by lochs). But, er, just as well I didn’t come here for the beer.
Miles today: 48
Miles since Dunbar: 183
Miles since starting at Penzance: 893