Return to Whittle Wanderer

Dumfries, Lockerbie, Eskdalemuir, Selkirk, Peebles, Edinburgh, Scotland.
(4 day bike-pack)
Thu 09 Feb - Sun 12 Feb 2017

Thu 09 Feb 2017

Thu 09 Feb 2017
Fri 10 Feb 2017
Sat 11 Feb 2017
Sun 12 Feb 2017
Cycled to Preston to catch 06:40 train to Carlisle then the train to Dumfries. Set off cycling east on the A709. At 9:30 stopped at Lynn's Road bus stop to photograph the old ruin of Torthorwald Castle in a field and surrounded by a moat. Continued overcast busy and uninteresting until I arrived in Lochmaben town.
Carlisle Railway Station

Carlisle Railway Station waiting room

Dumfries Railway Station
and start of my ride

12th century Torthorwald Castle

Torthorwald Castle

Lochmaben and Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce (1274-1329)
The first thing I saw was the Statue of Robert the Bruce outside the Old Town Hall which is now the library. The main street has Robert at one end and the other is a statue of a soldier for the Great War Memorial. Left Lochmaben on A909 with the loch to my right.
The road continued busy and was long straight runs making it fairly dull for cycling. Up a short Rise there was a right bend and the entrance gates to the main Lockerbie cemetery. I rode through the small car park adjacent and then through the cemetery to the far end where there is a Memorial Garden to the Lockerbie air disaster 21st December 1988.
Lockerbie Air Crash Memorial

Lockerbie Memorial
I stopped for a while and took a few photos and several other people visiting did the same. I reached the town of Lockerbie and made a detour to Sherwood Crescent and the small memorial there which is in remembrance to the people who died on the ground when the Jet engine crashed into their houses. Although it is surrounded by a well-tended grass area it is not visible from the road and has no obvious path to it.
Sherwood Crescent Memorial
I left the crescent and join the main road and cycled into the centre of Lockerbie. Just before I turned right I saw a chip shop and decided to buy some. It was £1.80 for a portion of chips and as they had a connection into the chip shop café and I asked the lady could I eat my chips there. She said yes but I would have to have them on a plate and they would be £2.20.
Valley of the Water of Milk
I decided to eat them outside and sat on a low wall by some stone sculptures of sheep. The road was quite busy at first and wasn't that easy with long stretches of climb and descent. I eventually reach the Bridge at Paddockhall and turned sharp left over a narrow bridge and then almost immediately right to follow a narrow lane along the River called Water of Milk.
The weather continued cold and overcast but the views were reasonably pleasant and the wind was coming from my right and causing me no particular problems. I reached Bailieill and stopped briefly to look at an information board about the nearby Hill fort. I didn't have time to see it so continue down and turn left to follow a narrow lane towards Castle O’er. It is a single track road going through the forest and again whilst Pleasance cycling.
Eskdalemuir cafe

Near Castle O’er stopped to have a look at a stone structure by the road making a very loud noise of flowing water. As I peered inside saw it is a storage system with a pipe jetting clear water into the bottom.

Eskdalemuir Community Hub Village Hall
I stopped briefly in a car park to look at another information board about a hill fort just above but once again it was too far to walk in cycling shoes. The road opened up and I had views across the valley and the river below which is the White Esk. I reach the outskirts of Eskdalemuir which is where I'd plan to camp for the night but had no idea exactly where.
Eskdalemuir solar panels

 I had a look at the Bridge by the river but there were no campsites fortunately a spring that is marked on the map was there by the road and I was able to fill my water bottles. I passed the church and its well mown surrounding grounds and onto the Community Hub Building which is the old school. Across from it was a Tarmac car park with some grass area on the far end. This was just big enough at one corner to fit a tent. The Community Hub advertised itself as a village hall and cafe and was open so I went in. I was pleasantly surprised to see how modern and tidy it looked and had a pot of tea for one which only cost £1. I asked the lady behind the counter if the car park was part of the hall and she said it was but that camping there was frowned on. However she told me there was some grassy area to the rear of the hall which may be better to hide a tent on and I agreed. Although she couldn't give me official permission I decided to pitch my tent there and was glad that I did as it was starting to snow. It had been cold during the day with temperatures hovering around 2 to -2 degrees centigrade. I pitch my tent and enjoyed a pleasant evening cooking my tea. Much later on I could hear the large timber lorries trundling along the road and they continued through the night.