As always seems to be the case when we are touring, as soon as we leave the town where we have spent the night we start climbing. The first haul was enough to force us to walk for a short spell but once we got into our stride we plodded on with few rests. We found an open cafe, but it was still too soon after a full cooked breakfast. There was heavy cloud cover and a light rain was falling steadily. Every so often it stopped for long enough for me to remove my waterproof but then a few minutes would elapse and I would have to put it on again. The scenery was still quite spectacular. Some of the hills were in the clouds, but every so often there was enough of a break for us to be able to see the snow that was still lying at the higher levels.
Despite this road being given the grand title of the A708, the most encouraging part is that underneath the direction sign from Moffat is a sign saying “unsuitable for HGVs”. We were overtaken by a few cars, but mostly they were in ones and twos, with prolonged gaps between them. It was a perfect road to cycle and I would love to do it again on a bright sunny day.
After about 12 miles we reached the summit, about 1100 feet up, and then enjoyed the descent to the cafe where, as has been described above, an extremely pleasant surprise awaited us.
The 20 or so miles from the cafe to Selkirk is mostly downhill, and Dave & Perky (how embarrassing: I didn’t think to ask what Perkygirl’s real name is) had mentioned what fun it was to ride on the tandem. The final mile or so is very much up hill and we were pushing the bikes again for some of this. I had to buy some batteries as some of the older rechargeables I had brought with me were not up to the job of providing the garmin with enough power for tasks like increasing and decreasing the scale. As luck would have it, the Co-op were doing a two for one offer and I bought 8 AA duracells for £4.99.
With our new-found powers we soon reached the B & B which is outside the town and therefore already up the hill we would have had to climb tomorrow morning. We asked the landlady about eateries and she suggested the County Hotel. We went there and the food was OK (I had garlic mushrooms and we each had lasagne) but it’s so disappointing when pubs don’t serve ale. Tonight I was too hungry, and the hour was getting too late, for us to find somewhere else, but I just don’t think it would ever occur to a landlord to try and fob a customer off with corned beef when they had ordered steak.