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Tuesday the 18th of July

Art work at Gretna Green

Our digs were a bit out of the way, but clean and pleasant. And we enjoyed another darned fine breakfast. We set off for Abington to pick up our trail. One of the staff at the hotel told us that Abington is the highest town in the UK. So we felt sure that today would be mostly downhill. Apart from few nasty climbs it was indeed mostly downhill as we headed for our next overnight stop at Carlisle.

Our route took us down minor roads running alongside the M74. The result was a fairly traffic free morning with motorised traffic favouring the motorway. It was also surprisingly rural and though we could hear the noise of the heavy traffic from time to time, we were still able to enjoy the views. This morning we saw yet another chapter in the story of Danís bad luck. Adding to the problems of his exploding knee and stacking, now his cycling shoe is jammed in his pedal. We think heís lost a screw from his cleat and heís unable to unclip his right shoe from the pedal. Whenever we stop he has to take his shoe off leaving it attached to the bike, which annoyed Dan, but gave us another opportunity for some serious mickey taking.

We made our lunch stop at Lockerbie, at pub, or rather hotel called the Kings Arms. It's situated smack in the centre of the town and did great food. They also locked our bikes in a store room for safe keeping. Iíve never been to Lockerbie before. If you ignore the industrial units (and no town is without itís industrial quarter) to the north of the town itís well worth a visit, having a village kind of atmosphere.

Setting off again we set our course for Gretna Green. We didnít see too much of the village sort of skipping over the top. But we did pass the Blacksmiths which had some rather interesting artwork dotted about, and a tartan shop.

The Tartan Shop at Gretna Green

A mile or so down the road we hit a big milestone, we left Scotland. Scotland had looked after us so well (apart from the idiot construction worker who tried to get us killed) and I was sad that weíd left. Above all, I was going to miss the scenery and the friendly people all too wiling to help. And if really pushed to find more Iím going to miss haggis and the beer, 90 shillings is a stunning pint. But Iím really not going to miss the midges. Scotland can keep itís midges.

Edward and Gary Cross the Border

We took a few pictures next to the ďWelcome To EnglandĒ sign and set off for the last few easy miles down country lanes. At least, thatís what our map told us. What our map didnít tell us is that there was no entry from the nice country lanes weíd elected to cycle down to our hotel (Hotel? Quite a lofty description for a Travelodge). So after cycling up and down the lanes for half an hour or so we ended up on the A74, which is a motorway in all but name and legal status.

And so do Dan and Matt (Edward on the left)

Never mind, it was just for half a mile or so and we were now set for a meal, a beer and an evenings rest, though not before cleaning and lubricating the bikes.

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