Hike Southbound through Britain with Daryl May
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Old Brig Inn in Beattock, by Telford
DS31 Old Brig Inn
DS31 Dog nose
DS31 Snow scene
Days S28 - S32                                                                    Southern Scotland
Day S31 - Lockerbie to Gretna 
Day S30           At the Scotland-England border            Day S32
  Southbound Home
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Scottish Highlands
Central Scotland
    Southern Scotland
North of England
English Midlands
    English West Country

Northbound Home
Monday, March 24, 2008

Time of departure: 8.45 am
Time of arrival: 3.30 pm
Place departed: Lockerbie, Dumfries and Galloway
Place arrived: Gretna, Dumfries and Galloway

Miles: 16.5
Cum miles: 419.2
Percent complete: 43.2

Bed sign Hazeldene Hotel, Gretna ***
Cost for bed and breakfast: 40 ($80)
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DS31 Carlysle DS31 Ecclefechan Hotel
Thomas Carlysle was born in Ecclefechan
DS31 Trees
Sometimes one gets ahead of oneself. For several days, I've been anticipating crossing the Scotland-England border. That thought prompted all sorts of plans and calculations.

But I hadn't yet crossed the border. That little matter became important today, when I walked 16 miles to get close, and it wasn't easy. My ankle hurt all day, and the miles seemed so hard. Here in Gretna, I'm finally close enough to see England across the Solway Firth and the River Esk. But today was like paying off a debt for a toy already broken and discarded.

I think I've walked 420 miles in 31 days for an average of 13.5 miles/day. I calculate 550 miles still to go, which will take 40 more days at the current mileage rate. That would have me finish on May 3 seemingly in plenty of time for a May 14 flight home.

But there are several buts. But what about rest days? But what about injuries? Can I keep up this pace with a seriously-aching ankle? I want to allow time to visit friends. And so on.

Basically, I think I'm right to take a short route, and look on May 3 to May 14 as a necessary pad, and not as time that can be spent on Offa's Dyke or the Lake District.

By the way, I hope I haven't omitted to explain that my May 14 ticket becomes totally invalid on May 15. Also, to buy a new ticket when I'm done walking . . . the price of a walk-up one-way fare in the high season is exceptionally exceptional, and best avoided.

It was cool today, but calm and intermittently sunny. There were snow flurries, and snow has settled on surrounding high ground. But there was no problem hiking in these conditions. I'm a-hoping we're going to get some sun and warmth soon.

I'm now in the Hazeldene Hotel in Gretna, which is another of my old hangouts, as was the Templeton B&B at Lockerbie last night, where Shona Black and I carried on talking where we left off last April. I recommend both places. The price at the Hazeldene was negotiable in the off-season and is good for a decent hotel which it is. But Shona's place was quite as nice, for less, and it's going to be difficult for anyone to beat her strawberries at breakfast, and her poached egg with a coriander sprig garnish! Small luxuries sweeten life.

On the northbound hike last year (see day N34), the route between Carlisle and Gretna was a most unpleasant matter of walking on the very shoulder that was being hardened to turn the A74 into a motorway. I've been warned that the work is still in progress. That's bad news, but even worse news would be that they've finished but not provided a non-motorway side road. In that case, I might arrive at the south end of Gretna only to be diverted to Longtown, where the second road bridge over the Esk is situated.

Rather than risk that extensive diversion, or the construction on the A74, I think I'm going to Longtown from where the Hazeldene is - which will keep the extra distance down to just three miles. The route includes some dedicated bike track, and looks pleasant enough. Anything is pleasant compared with the construction I faced on the A74 last year.
DS31 Lockerbie church
Lockerbie church; and a sign showing that highway maintenance has been privatized here
DS31 Highway maintenance sign
Day S30                                     2007 and 2008 Daryl May                                        Day S32