Day 7—Ecclefechan to Ravenstonedale

The inscription on the bridge

Today was a big day. Perhaps most importantly, it didn’t rain at all. This was fantastic, and I am even showing faint signs of a cyclists’ tan. But in addition, we left Scotland and entered England. To mark this achievement we set off together to the bridge over the River Sark that marks the border between the two countries. There is an inscription half-way across the bridge that Rob read out to me, but to be honest I couldn’t make out much at all (see the photo above). I originally thought the inscription was taken from the Burns poem Such A Parcel Of Rogues In A Nation, but Rob tells me it’s completely different, and refers to the name of the structure, which is the Corries Mill Bridge, now a category C listed building. Oh well.

We had cycled the 11 miles from our Ecclefechan hotels to the bridge together, a bit like the neutralised start in the stages of the Tour de France, but as soon as we had taken our photographs, and listened to Andy’s recordings of Three Lions, Jerusalem, and Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance March No. 1 (this was only slightly naff), we headed off at our own speeds. (Although not before John and Jamie changed their shirts to publicise their efforts for the Honeypot Children’s Charity.)

The first part of the day was pretty uneventful. At one point we cycled along the narrow path that I cycled along in 2018 and fell off. I was pleased not to do so today.

The great thing on these rides is to decide where to have coffee and lunch. As I have said before, I am a fan of having coffee at well over 33% of the ride, and then lunch at about 66%. This means that the distance to be covered after lunch is easily manageable, and makes sure we get to the next hotel around 5:00 pm. So we had coffee at 28.8 miles (38%) at a pub with the unlikely name of Fantails. The meal was slightly unusual because the pub served only coffee, and we had to get our carbohydrates at the nearby village shop. I had a bar of chocolate; I have been missing chocolate!

As the day wore on things became hillier and hillier. I was OK until lunchtime, at 1:30 and 46-odd miles, when a sausage roll, a pear, and a kind of energy bar thing were a great help. I had the sense that the remaining 30 miles would be manageable. But it was tough going, and especially the last 15 miles, which were inexorably skywards. But I eventually managed the last 100 feet of elevation and rolled into the Fat Lamb.

It turned out that the Fat Lamb isn’t putting the heating on, so I put my washed wet clothes into the hotel’s drying room. When I came back after dinner they were nearly dry, so I’ll give them another 30 minutes.

Maybe tomorrow I can be more inspired! But for now here are my stats.

The route

We cycled 76.7 miles, and climbed 4,744 feet. My weighted average power was 109 Watts, my average speed was 12.3 mph, and I used 1980 calories.

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