Return to Whittle Wanderer

Lockerbie, Langholm, Kielder, Jedburgh, Rosslyn Chapel, Edinburgh.
(4 day bike ride)
Fri 03 - Mon 06 Aug 2012

Fri 03 Aug 2012

Fri 03 Aug 2012

Sat 04 Aug 2012

Sun 05 Aug 2012

Mon 06 Aug 2012

NY 1375 8174
Yesterday I cycled to Chorley Railway Station to buy a ticket to Lockerbie so that today I can travel there with my bike to head off into the Scottish Borders. I was surprised to be issued with a ticket for my bike and told that my planned return from Edinburgh on Monday would need a ticket in advance to take my bike on the train. The different train companies have different policies on the amount of advanced time. With my bike and panniers I cycled back to the Railway Station to catch the 09:44am Trans Pennine train to Glasgow but only as far as Lockerbie. While there I needed to buy an Edinburgh to Chorley ticket. The train turned up on time and after getting by bike on board without any problems only to find the cycle area piled high with luggage. A man was sat on one of the pull down chairs but he moved when I pointed to the bike picture behind him.

My bike on the train

I reached Lockerbie just before 11:30am and by the time I’d got my bike sorted the platform was deserted. It was overcast grey skies but quite warm as I set off east along the B7068 towards Langholm. It took a while to get settled in to the ride and the weight on the bike. The first few miles were quite undulating. I had 18miles to the town and once settled in to the ride enjoyed the mostly smooth tarmac and incredibly deserted road. From deserted road I was immediately in to the town.

Lockerbie Railway Station

At a road junction I turned left and rode along the street which had lots of bunting hanging across. Over the bridge I turned left and stopped by the closed information centre. An information board was on the building with details of many notable people associated with Langholm or ‘Notable Locals’ as the board calls them. I continued north along the main A7 for a short way before turning right up a narrow road signposted to Newcastleton. The sign warned of a weak road ahead but on a bike that wasn’t a problem. It was a steep climb at first but a steady gradient. Before the summit there was a lay-bye and an interesting metal structure which was a display of various scenes. The only thing to identify it was a description welded on the bottom saying Jake Harvey 1982 - 84. A sign also pointer to a tall spire on the hill called Malcolm Memorial but no other information.

MacDiarmid Memorial

More research when I got home revealed the following information:

A short path from a parking place leads to the striking memorial to Hugh MacDiarmid. The memorial is the work of Jake Harvey and was unveiled on 11 August 1985. Made of steel and bronze, it is in the form of an open book, highly decorated with images from MacDiarmid's poetry. Nearby is a cairn carrying a verse by MacDiarmid and noting that "Christopher Murray Grieve (Hugh MacDiarmid) was a man of Langholm, a champion of Scotland, a fervent internationalist and one of the great poets of the world."
More information on the obelisk revealed:

Jake Harvey 1982 - 84

The obelisk of the Malcolm Monument, a memorial to Sir John Malcolm who died in 1833. Sir John Malcolm lived from 2 May 1769 to 30 May 1833. He was a soldier and diplomat during the expansion of the British Empire.

I noticed a tidy stone cairn nearby and wondered if it had anything to do with the tower in the distance. A closer look revealed a metal plaque with a lot of text on it. The top being the name Hugh MacDiarmid but the rest wasn’t very readable.

I continued cycling up the short remainder of the hill and enjoyed a flat section for a while then a descent to a bridge and a short climb to a boundary sign saying ‘Welcome to Scottish Borders’ which I was puzzled by as I thought I was already in Scotland. I had a good mobile signal and decided not to descend any further as I may lose it. At a stone bridge crossing Black Syke on the side of Tinnis Hill. I left the road and found a reasonable pitch through a gate. It continued overcast but at least I didn’t get rained on.

Into the Scottish Borders