Today was a slightly odd affair because while most of the main ingredients of a fantastic day were present (beautiful sunshine, hardly any wind, stunning varied scenery, good food and great road surfaces) we were stuck on A75 for 90% of the 147km that we cycled.
The A75 is the main road that follows the coast and while there are times that it becomes a dual carriageway, for the majority of the time it is a two lane road that accommodates large amounts of haulage, probably going to Stranraer ferry terminal on their way to or from Ireland.
The problem with this is twofold,most obviously the lorries that on the whole try their best to give sufficient distance but still make a cyclist feel a touch uncomfortable at they pass at 70mph. The second is that to minimise our impact on traffic we were forced to cycle one in front of the other, rather than side by side which is our preferred method and usually results in much better conversation and consequentially the feeling that 30km has passed without much effort at all.
The day went as follows and is a good indication to our general plan of attack:
06:30 alarm goes off, coffee in hand ASAP, change, pack up, general tidy of the crew room.
07:00 try our best to be on the bikes cycling, a gentle pace which we keep for 2 hours or 50km.
09:00 breakfast. This is normally taken at some local bakery where we try our best to rack up a surprisingly expensive bill from what seems to be extremely reasonably priced items. Simpsons of Stanraer, located rather confusing in Newton Stewart was today's residence and we ordered the following:
Two bacon, sausage and egg baps
Three scotch pancakes (when in Rome!)
Two scones with jam and butter
Two apple turnovers
Two chicken mayo sandwiches
Two chocolate rice crispy cakes.
Total of £17
Our verdict was that Simpsons were indeed 'Quality Bakers'.
Newton Stewart high street.
Us churning through some miles on the A75.
The only period that we didn't spend on the A75 was the detour off to visit out two intermediate stations of the day: Portpatrick and Strenraer.
Portpatrick was a beautiful little fishing village located at on the western edge of the Strenraer Peninsula.
Portpatrick harbour looking north towards the RNLI Station.
Portpatrick looking south towards some... err... houses.
We took 20 mins rest here and had a snack or two and enjoyed the warmth of the morning sun on our faces. Some old people gave me rather odd looks, possibly because I had unzipped my cycling jersey exposing a little too much of my bobbed shorts and HR monitor. Porno.
The journey from Portpatrick to Stranraer was probably the best part of today's cycle. Gentle hills took us to the crest of the peninsula where we were greeted with expansive views north towards our next station.
Looking towards Stranraer
Stranraer was looking its best in the sun and with glassy flat water, which went some way to making up for the profligate use of pebbledash which seemed to cover every building in site, including the RNLI Station.
A brief skimming competition was a welcome rest.
Our final leg was a 60km amble North to Girvan (back on the A75) which hugged the coast and made way for the classic west coast scenery that we had both imagined is trip would entail.
Looking out to Ailsa Craig/
Our arrival in Girvan is announced by was of our rinsed Lycra hanging to dry in the evening sun. After a little bike maintenance we hit a local pub for supper and enjoyed the feeling of another day done and a few ore adventures ahead.