Hike Northbound through Britain with Daryl May
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DN37 Bike path
Days N34 - N39                                                                 Southern Scotland
Day N37 - Beattock to Crawford
Day N36                   Over Beattock summit                              Day N38
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Southbound Home
Thursday, April 26, 2007

Time of departure: 8.15 am
Time of arrival: 3.45 pm
Place departed: Beattock, Dumfries and Galloway
Place arrived: Crawford, South Lanarkshire

Miles: 16.6
Cum miles: 590.5
Percent complete: 63.7

Bed sign Holmlands Guest House, Crawford **
Cost for bed and breakfast: 30 ($60)
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DN37 Bike and road
Martin Brown, who cooked me a most healthy and tasty meal last night, persuaded me to have a more healthy breakfast this morning than the usual fried eggs, bacon, sausage and the like. Now this traditional British breakfast is not good stuff, but so far I've felt that I needed more than the typical B&B alternative, which is usually just cereal and toast, and perhaps yogurt or fruit but in limited quantities.

But Martin prepared some really good oatmeal porridge, with course-milled oats cooked slowly on the stove, mixed with plump raisins, and then fresh fruit and yogurt, and some quality brown bread with ginger marmalade, and tea. If I could have had this every morning, I could have lessened my fat and cholesterol intake considerably.

A very occasional alternative to eggs is smoked haddock or kipper (smoked herring). While I like these, the salt content isn't good. 

I walked ten miles continually uphill today, as I headed over Beattock Summit.  It was mostly a gentle one- and two-percent grade, with only a few steeper sections, but the length of the climb took its toll. The weather was brilliantly clear, but initially cold enough to be called crisp.  In the afternoon, it warmed up.

I had booked a B&B in Crawford, a good distance from Beattock considering the pass.  Just before the top of the pass, however, there was a sign indicating that it was just six miles to the more distant town of Abington, which I knew I could still do. I considered canceling my Crawford reservation and continuing to Abington.

At the top of the pass, however, another sign said eight miles to Abington, which was more consistent with what my map showed. Yes, that earlier six should have been a nine. That was not an error to bother a driver much, but it represented over an hour's extra time to a hiker.

The scenery was beautiful, a mixture of woods and pastures mainly on hillsides. The valley that the road followed had the babbling River Clyde at times right alongside. The road itself had little traffic, and all day had a bike track next to it, sometimes quite separate from the road itself.  Here I met a biker determined to get healthy after a stroke caused by a drinking lifestyle, though he was still overweight. He was on a 35-mile ride today.

Jenny's call arrived as I rested in the sun on a grassy bank with a view of sheep on a hillside meadow. She was taking care of things back home, relieving me of most decisions and worries. She'd received the journal that I had emailed from Lockerbie, but hadn't read it yet.

After a modest descent, the topography changed to "rolling hills", and I found myself struggling to get as far as Crawford.  Here, as with Beattock, my accommodation was at the far end of the village, which in Crawford's case sprawled over a mile. I was more than ready when I checked in to the Holmlands Guest House, which is a large old house with generously sized rooms. I think the word "manse" may be apt. But initial impressions weren't good - and I was getting experienced after five weeks of continuous “B&Bing” at reading the signs.

My struggle at the end of today's hike involved my legs, but not the knees.  My calves and feet ached.  During most nights, my legs recovered from the punishment I gave them, and I'd found - when waking to urinate - that the pain had eased by midnight or so.  But, recently, this recovery had occurred later and later.  This morning, my legs were still painful at breakfast. This was not a good trend. At first I ascribed it to hard road surfaces, but wasn’t sure that the surfaces had changed much recently. Then I realized that ten miles uphill might just be the cause for this particular set of overnight aches.

Maybe it was time for a day off?  My last was 25 days ago.
Day N36                           2007 and 2008 Daryl May                          Day N38