Day 21, 7th June 2011, Dumfries to Newton Stewart

We left this morning under a threatening sky, and within a half hour were drenched by a cold, soaking drizzle, that lasted about 40km, until we reached Castle Douglas. 

As we rode into town, Roz had a puncture, our first on this trip, so we pulled off into a convenient bus shelter to fix it.  This took about 10 minutes, by which time we were bone-chilled.  We bailed out into a café for about 45 minutes until the shower had blown through, and we had warmed up a bit.  The coffee was mediocre, the cake not fresh, but I live in hope of improvement.

We left town, continuing to follow National Cycle Route 7, and had a dry ride for most, but not all of the rest of the day.  There is not much choice of roads in this part of the country, and eventually we ended up on the A75.  Normally we avoid these A roads, but things conspired against us.  Route 7, even for a bike route, takes an unusually idiosyncratic and convoluted path through here.

The section of the A75 we rode on is a coastal road, and pretty.  It is flat, and while busy, populated this afternoon by very courteous and considerate drivers.

Before coming to the A75, we had been riding through some quite exceptionally beautiful hilly country.

We were trying to reach Stranraer today, which would have been a big ride in the best of conditions. 

As we rode into Newton Stewart we were again hit by a shower, and then hail. It was only 4.00pm by the time we arrived, but the weather was still threatening, it is 40km to Stranraer, and, we were told, the traffic was going to pick up as people hurried to catch a ferry. Stranraer is a major ferry port.

So we bailed after 91km.

We found a B&B, and by the time we had checked in, were seriously cold again.

B&Bs in Scotland may turn out to be a bit of an issue.  There seem to be plenty of them about, but we can’t yet read them.  Our host in Dumfries explained that he does not subscribe to a star rating system, as he thinks they are a rip-off, and sure enough, most B&Bs don’t.  Neither of the B&Bs we have checked into are attractive from the outside, but both of them are exactly what we need, and run by pleasant and accommodating people.

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