Friday, 25 October 2013

A Borders Cycle and a lot of rain

Firstly, my apologies for the images on this post. My Pentax Optio has charging issues. I eventually found an old 3mp Vivitar 'camera shaped object' at the bottom of a cupboard. On reflection, I could have used my phone to make an equally insipid record of the ride.

But lets concentrate on the cycling; My boss has been twisting my arm to take some time off so I booked Friday and a train ticket to Berwick upon Tweed. That's in England, so this post has a cross border, international traveller type theme!    Aye...

I caught the 09:28 from a very wet Dunbar station. The journey south was mostly a glimpse of flooded fields and miserable looking sheep as the train clattered it's way along the coast and cliffs. At Berwick I unhooked the trucker from it's storage compartment and struggled onto the platform.
The above photo is a cast iron support from the station canopy. The London North Eastern Railways date back to Victorian times (although LNER was a conglomeration in the 1920s) when steam ruled and Britain had an infrastructure to be proud of. As the doors closed behind me there was a hiss of brakes and the electric warmth and light of the train continued south. I stood on a very wet and windswept platform and wondered what I was doing.

There was nothing else to do but put on the waterproofs, get on the trucker and start into the 30mph gusting wind, driving rain and interminable hills.

Thing is, half an hour in and I was in my own little cocoon of damp, spinning away, watching the countryside pass by and feeling so relaxed with the world.

After a pedal along the Tweed, then the Kelso road, I turned off to Paxton, then cut back and started the steady two mile climb to Lamberton Moor.

To add to the torrential rain, I was now climbing into the clouds.

This was the best attempt at a smile I could manage.

Eventually I descended through Ayton and on into the fishing town of Eyemouth. The easterly winds will build a sea over the next 24 hours so most of the fishing boats were tied up.

A very big prawn and the fish market in the background.

Stopping to take a photo reminded me how wet and cold I was so I found a cafe that would accept a dripping cyclist and dried out beside a radiator with coffee and cake. Half an hour and the cake was long gone but I was still nurturing the dregs of coffee. The waitress had given up mopping the floor around me and I knew I had to drag myself back out into the rain.

The next ten miles were actually quite pleasant. I thought I would be climbing up from the coast to Coldingham on a road I know well, but instead the signs pointed me onto little used lanes across the moor. I still had to climb, but there were no traffic worries.

No I didn't see any Red Squirrels, but the colour of the trees was amazing. Unfortunately the rain got the better of the camera and that's the last of the photos. The rest of the cycle was mostly in the mist until the descent from the moor to Pease Bay. I set a new best on the trucker with the computer showing 37mph with me tucked in and grimacing at the needle like rain. Not surprisingly I couldn't stop for the turning down to the bay, so shot on to Pease Dean and the over to Cockburnspath. The rest of the route home was pretty familiar and quite uneventful. As I entered Dunbar the rain stopped, and as I turned onto the last few yards to home, the sun came out.
I think my cycling shoes might be ruined, I am without a camera, the cycle computer is telling me I am averaging 70mph whilst standing still, but it was a great trip.


  1. Great writing Ped!
    The words make up for the lack od pics due to the weather.

    I don`t know any other bloggers who get rain ride pics around here so don`t dispair!, it is a challange to do a blog with pics with a cheap regularcomact camera!, you did well! -)

    1. Cheers Bruce, the cycling was good but it was really frustrating not having my usual camera. Perhaps the lack of images made me think harder about the words.

  2. Gadgets - don't you just love them - until they go wrong ;-) I would have been tempted to cycle down to Berwick with the wind and catch the train back, I don't like wind.

    1. I have much simpler needs than the gadget designer.I just want a digital compact with a 50mm lens and manual settings. As for the weather, I'm already remembering the trip with a rosy tint!

  3. Peter,
    It looks like an interesting ride and a good one overall, except for the 'minor' rain episode.
    The 70 MPH reading on the computer cracked me up. So funny!
    Why is there a warning about Red Squirrels?
    Peace :)

    1. Hi Chandra, unfortunately the little native Red Squirrels have become quite rare due to squirrel pox and competition from American Grey squirrels. The signs are to encourage motorists to slow down. In some areas little squirrel rope bridges are strung high in the trees to help them cross roads safely.