Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
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DS28 Approaching Crawford
Approaching Crawford 2
Days S28 - S32                                                                   Southern Scotland
Day S28 - Douglas to Crawford 
Day S27                   A hot bath and a steak pie                    Day S29
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Scottish Highlands
Central Scotland
    Southern Scotland
North of England
English Midlands
    English West Country

Northbound Home
Friday, March 21, 2008

Time of departure: 9.00 am
Time of arrival: 3.00 pm
Place departed: Douglas, S. Lanarkshire
Place arrived: Crawford, S. Lanarkshire

Miles: 13.5
Cum miles: 371.2
Percent complete: 38.2

Bed sign Crawford Arms Hotel and Truck Stop, Crawford ***
Cost for bed and breakfast: 28 ($56)
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DS28 Lambs
DS28 Sheep
Tonight was the third night running that I sat outside my B&B or hotel, and waited to get in. I guess I'm staying at that sort of place! The glass-paneled front door to the Crawford Arms Hotel and Truck Stop is liberally cracked in multiple places, and the lobby furniture is stacked as if it's a storage depot. The outside is devoid of a single welcoming feature - no bench, no menu, no plants, though there are plant pots filled with cigarette butts. If there hadn't been an attempted beer delivery while I waited, I would have said they were out of business. If they hadn't taken my credit card numbers when I made my reservation, I wouldn't have hung around.

But, wait! My room was OK. My b-a-t-h was large, and the water piping hot. The pub steak pie and veg was positively terrific, and downright affordable. Their pint of Strongbow washed away my bad mood. They're giving me a packed meal for tomorrow so that I won't have to wait for the late weekend breakfast service. Pretty good for Easter weekend. I love this place.

I took a path over the hills south of Douglas, because it offered a shortcut to save a couple of miles on the traffic-unfriendly A70. I panted at the steep trail to the top of Pagie Hill (1250 ft) and squelched in mud all the way down the other side, thinking unkind thoughts about the farmer who had locked all the gates and conscientiously barbed-wired all the fences. I am now quite good at climbing over gates. But I'm not sure that the extra effort was worth the miles saved.

It was pleasant scenery, with expansive views that were difficult to photograph. A wind farm to the northwest was working productively given the fierce wind that fortunately came from the north, i.e., from behind me. I doubt I could have reached my planned destination if today's wind was in my face. It made eerie sounds in the woods, caused the trees to shake vigorously, and bowed the telephone wires. With the wind, today was decidedly cold, and there was ice on the trail in places. I was pleased that I had dressed warmly.

The precipitation de jour was hail. It wasn't large and didn't last very long. It bounced off me and never made me wet.

Reaching Abington, I took a country lane to Crawford, meeting two local walkers who preferred to feign interest in their dogs than talk to a stranger. They were the only folks I saw on the road all day.

So here I am at the Crawford Arms, ruefully contemplating my nonexistent social life, but glad of a nice bath and a hot meal.

I have 16 miles to do tomorrow in questionable weather, without a single place of shelter. There are warnings that amateurs shouldn't be on the Highland mountains this weekend. But Beattock summit falls short of that definition, and I'll be on roads. I should be safe, but that doesn't mean it'll be pleasant.

Day S27                                   2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                    Day S29