Camchain and tensioner seen up close in a cutaway bike engine

Home Travel StoriesAndy's Scottish Expedition

Friends And Finally Scotland

By Andy Gray

Day 2 Llangollen to Warrington 35 miles

What a difference! Overnight there were a few showers and the mist came down. The weather forecast for my intended route looked dire with torrential rain. Messaged Bernard Smith in Warrington and said I’d pop in for a brew and programmed a route. This took me over Horseshoe Pass & past the Ponerosa Cafe where the visibility was almost zero in places. All a bit odd as it was very windy at the top. It then took me down a small road with 3 or 4 gates before arriving at a farm and then a main road.

Once I got to Bernard’s, Ren, Sharon and Andy arrived, we had bacon sarnies and drank copious cups of tea and I’m still here.

Luckily the weather is looking better for tomorrow.

Taken from the roadside very misty and wet hillside and verges in Wales
The building of The Ponderosa cafe on a misty hilltop

Day 3: Warrington to Hoddom Castle (x miles)

Left Bernard’s house while he was getting his morning caffeine fix in clear skies and sunshine, thanks mate ??

Headed up the M6 to the west side of the Lake District to some places I’d never been before.

I got onto the little lanes again which was another ABR Magazine route that parallels the Cumbria long distance path. This headed up the east side of Coniston. Then Skelwith Bridge, Grasmere, Thirlmere, Keswick (I was a day late Sue). Found a little lake at Uldale where I could sit by the edge and eat my lunch before heading out the north of the lakes. Great routes through little lanes which were showing the effects of yesterday’s storm with loads of wet leaves on the surface.

Back on the M6 to Gretna where, as I had plenty of time, I visited the very touristy Blacksmirh’s Forge where I found out a little about the Gray clan. Then it was time to visit the lovely Old Toll Bar Cafe for tea & cake - thanks for the recommendation Nick.

I had planned to visit the Lockerbie memorial garden but I got there just after it closed. Headed the 6 miles SW to Hoddom Castle where there is a large caravan & camping site. I suspect there won’t be a noise issue tonight as I’m the only person camping, the few other people here seem to be in the static vans.

Plenty of walks on the estate but I followed part of the salmon trail which goes by the side of the River Annan. Bumped into two anglers who were just leaving and had only seen one fish all day.

A field falls down into the blue waters of Coniston with a sprinkling of trees and hills
East side of Coniston Water
Looking out over the lakes are dark hills and cloudy skies at Overwater
Lunch stop at Overwater near Uldale
Andy smiles standing in front of a brown "Scotland welcomes you" sign at Gretna Green
I found a sign while riding around Gretna
A long single story white building at Gretna, the famous Blacksmith's shop
2 giant forarms with hands tower over a Japanese couple at gretna
It keeps the Japanese tourists happy
The entrance to the castle at Hoddom
Hoddom Castle
A simple plan of the site where andy is camping at Hoddom Castle
The map of the site. The field at the top where I am is pretty large which gives some idea about the scale of the whole place.
A wooden sign with one option being the salmon trial
It’s a hard life being a salmon
A steel trellis footbridge with wooden floor crosses a river
A fish on a plaque on a wall with impressive weights and sizes recorded on the mounting
They don't get this big any more


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Llangollen Andy starts his trip to Scotland... by going to Wales! It is a long way from London Village to The Highlands though, give the man a break.
Friends And Finally Scotland Day 2 and 3 of Andy's Scottish expedition - and he's only just reached the borders. He's having way too much fun and should be focused on heading North.
Bad Weather, Brilliant Roads Andy's first proper ride into Scotland is proving to be a cracker even if the weather is dire.
Exploring Arran and The Mull Of Kintyre There's wildlife and scenery aplenty for Andy as he explores Arran and The Kintyre Peninsula. "Mixed" weather is keeping him on his toes though.
Easy Onto Mull Andy is taking in the splendid West Coast of Scotland at a sensible pace. From the Kintyre Peninsula to the Isle Of Mull there's a lot to take in.
Walking On Iona Andy is using Shank's Pony to get himself around the small island of Iona. Thing is the island isn't quite as small as Andy's feet had hoped for.
Mulling Around To The Mainland When Tobermory is a major town you know you've been somewhere remote. Andy is making his way up the West Coast of Scotland now.
Bealach na Bà Ain't So Bad Andy is making his excuses for a late start today, but it's all self-inflicted. It's time to be overwhelmed by the not really scary Applecross road.
The Wonder Of The West Coast Andy is up on the West Coast of The Scottish Highlands now, and it shows with his achingly beautiful pictures.
The Wonder Of Even More West Coast Andy is exploring the remote and lonesome shores of the North West of Scotland. Geology, beauty and single track, all in another day's ride in The Highlands.
Out Of The Good Stuff, Into The Weather After The splendour of The Highlands and West Coast of Scotland Andy is now at the top of the country. Is there much to report?
The Scottish North East Coast Andy after reaching the tip of the UK is now meandering his way south along the east coast. Being back in civilisation means proper food in solid buildings.

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