Saturday, 10 November 2012

Borders Cycle -Eyemouth -Paxton

It's been a long week at work but today dawned with crisp blue skies and low winter sunshine. Just the sort of day to forget the routine, breathe deeply and pedal. I packed the LHT with coffee and cake, then loaded it all into the car and took a drive down to Eyemouth. Free parking at Gunsgreen and I started cycling from the harbour, which of course is sea level...I never learn.
The pull up out of Eyemouth along Victoria road was memorable! I shifted down too quickly and my cadence was too high. Just relax and push little circles. I soon got to the village of Ayton and took a pic at the gate to the castle.

The little break to take a pic was all I needed to slow down and pace myself. Just as well as the next three miles were all climbing including a few granny gear corners. If anyone wonders why I fitted cyclocross tyres to the trucker the next pic is a perfect example of my reasoning.

Quick stop to look back. The darker blue on the far right horizon is the sea, where I started this fun.

The climbing continued up on to Lamberton moor. As I passed a farm this noisy lady came out to greet me. I stopped to chat but she had to protect the farmyard and bark as noisily as she could. In the usual Border Collie way she avoided eye contact. Always deferring to the human.

Further on I spotted this bunker. At first I thought it was a water reservoir but the door in kind of changed my mind. Pretty bleak spot for a bunker.

It was cold on the moor but I love the openness and the big skies. The wind was pushing against me so I was glad to start the descent deep into Border territory with the Cheviots in the distance.

At the wonderfully named Clappers I spotted this old Ferguson. The gearbox seemed a bit dodgy but otherwise it was looking good.

Oh no!  A quick turn around and I headed back into the safety of Scotland.

 I also headed back onto some very poor roads but still a great place to be.

Then the track really did get poor. Single track to a bridge over the Whiteadder Water.

All the effort was worth it. A beautiful stretch of meandering river, water cut rock and glorious Autumn colours.

After the bridge I pushed the LHT up the muddy track on the other side to the village of Paxton and then on to Paxton House. It's a fine example of a Georgian country house. Commissioned by Patrick Home and designed by James Adam with interiors by Robert Adam and furnishings by Thomas Chippendale. In 1760s Scotland you really couldn't get much better than that and some would argue you still can't. The romantic part of the story is that it was built to impress a Prussian Heiress. She wasn't impressed, so no luck Patrick. It also advertises itself as having a tea shop. Time for a break.

Unfortunately there was a sign asking for £2 for parking and £8 for entry to the house and grounds. Anyone who knows me can imagine my reaction to this. I hopped over the fence, took a picture of the house and made a tactical retreat. £10 indeed! You missed out on that one Prussian heiress.

On I cycled feeling a bit tired after missing out on a bun. I began to question my frugal ways as I climbed back up from another crossing of the Whiteadder Water. Fortunately at the next junction there was a wee shelter that looked like one of the local bus stops.

Feet up, bran scone and coffee in a little wooden shed... great eh?

Back on the road and on to Foulden and it's Tithe Barn. It was used to store grain that was made in payment to the church.  There's another at Whitekirk near to home.

After the barn I turned left and started to climb again. A slow couple of miles and I finally caught sight of the sea again. Time to put the Buff on under the helmet as I planned a fast descent and it wasn't getting any warmer.

I eventually got back to Eyemouth harbour and cycled along the pier between the harbour and the Eye Water, and crossed it for the final time by the little foot bridge.

Back to Gunsgreen. This house is another Adam building but this one was built for John Nisbet a local 'merchant'. That's a euphemism for Smuggler. The house is supposed to be full of secret hiding places and tunnels. I'll have to get around to visiting one day...depending on the price. 

A great day out. The climbing was harder than I expected but that's the way with the Borders. I lived there for a while and I still have a great fondness for the hidden valleys and open moors but I'm going to have to get the fitness up if I want to enjoy more of it.

Home time. I've missed out a few miles and pics of a diversion I took. I'll try to post that little interlude during the week.


  1. Perfect. That route looks and sounds ideal. It sure would be nice to ride up there one day.

    1. It was a lovely route and I will definitely visit again. Scotland is beautiful but those gravel roads, rolling prairies and predictable weather look pretty good too.

  2. Will make the next ride Ped -:)

    1. Your Fargo would have been ideal. Have to get out for a ride sometime soon.

  3. Looks like you had a great weekend of riding ped, i wouldn't worry about the fitness if you keep getting rides like this under your belt, great post.

    1. The time in the saddle was no problem, about 4 hours. Just feel very slow on the climbs, but I wasn't in any hurry. Hope you got out on the long-board on Monday.

  4. As it happens i got about 3 hours surfing, the waves were very small 1-2 feet but clean and still good fun.