After an unsettled night with rain it was calm first thing. The wind
dropped and the tent was surrounded with midges. As I made breakfast
the rain returned and was very heavy for a while but as it eased the
wind increased with the bonus of keeping the midges away. When the
rain stopped I had a wet tent to pack away and I was on the road
around 8am to continue my journey north.
Today is Father's Day
Before long I reached the Samye Ling Tibetan Monastery on the right
and wheeled my bike in to have a look. The main stupa had
scaffolding on it the last time I was here. Today itís clear and
looks splendid. I only saw one man as I wandered around. Back on the
road I continued north with a tail wind to help.
I had a flat section then reached the branch road to the Eskdalemuir
Meteorological Station. I decided to ride up to the entrance gate
even though I knew there was no public access. Back at the road I
continued north and up the steady climb. Part way I stopped at the
Seismological Station but nobody was there, presumably because it
was Sunday morning.
I continued the steady climb in gear 4 and reached the summit with
the 'Scottish Borders' sign. The weather was overcast and fine as I
started my descent. The road was quiet and I'd ridden 10 miles
before seeing the first vehicle and 12 miles for the second. At
Ettrick I stopped briefly at the bridge and road junction before
turning right to Tushielaw.
The road was now flatter with gentle undulations but nothing
difficult. In just over 20 miles I reached the left junction before
Ettrickbridge. This is where I started the steady climb up the pass.
My plan was to camp part way up but I wanted to check out the old
Kirkhope Pele Tower first. The building is visible from the road and
was extensively refurbished over 10 years ago. I left the road and
cycled down the access track to Old Kirkhope farm.
There were lots of dogs around which started barking. A lady came to
the door and I asked if I could have a look at the tower. She said
yes and I asked if it was occupied. It was empty and the last owner
had died. It had now been sold. It was a steep rough track so I
pushed my bike up. I had a look round then freewheeled back down to
the farm buildings. Unfortunately I got a large thorn through my
rear tyre and had to replace the inner tube.
Camp above Killhope
I spoke to the lady again to get some water from a tap round the
rear of the buildings. She sounded Irish but said she was from
Canada. After replacing my wheel I returned to the road and
continued up the pass. I pushed my bike up an adjacent hill to a
flat grassy area with good views including the tower and a mast
where I got a good signal for my phone.