Things are starting to blur around the edges. Unless I consult a map I’m finding it difficult to recall our route in relation to time and notable events are jumping around from day to day. Maybe that’s a good thing. A sign that I am relaxing into the trip and enjoying the moments as they happen rather than the anticipation. I suspect the memories will come later.
Things that stand out in my mind over the last few days are endless bluebell woods and carpets of wild garlic with their slightly sickly accompanying smell. Great big blousey bushes of gorse in vivid yellow flower dotted all over the landscape and the roadsides. Riding for hours along the shores of Luce bay to the sound of waves lapping on the beach and yet more aromas. This time it’s the rich smell of the sea and all it conjours up of past experiences from beach holidays to rock pool hunting or sitting on harbours watching the boats come and go. There is always the sound of birds. Sometimes woodland, sometimes shore and sea birds but there is never silence. It’s been a joy to hear skylarks regularly and watch the newly arrived swallows prospecting for nesting sites.
Views across the Solway Firth, Wigtown and Luce Bay have been stunning at times, even on the flat grey days that don’t lend themselves to photographs. Today was pretty special too as we looked out at the amazing spectacle of Ailsa Craig and the first glimpse of the Isle of Arran. Despite the endless ups and downs choosing to ride the coast was definitely a good decision.
We have had our first really challenging day of rain but it ended on a dry but breezy note and we have diced with death on both the A75 and today on the A77. Five more miles of thundering juggernauts and crazy coach drivers and we should be clear of the busiest roads as we take the quieter coast road to Ardrosssan and our second ferry of the trip.
The Solway coast was delightful for the most part and today we circled the northern half of the Stranraer peninsula on roads free of traffic and in glorious sunshine. Gill spotted a deer as it bounded across the road and later we came across a cow licking her calf which she had given birth to just moments before. A duck escorted her many tiny ducklings across the road, panicking at the sight of us on our bikes and crouching down so we might not notice her.
Everywhere there are signs of new life, even the flies that land on us are using us as their travelling passion parlour. It is these magical and unexpected delights that stay in the mind and come back to make us smile at the end of the day. (Well maybe not the mating flies)
Last night we camped on top of a cliff next to the ruin of Dunskey Castle and tonight we are on a run down Holiday Park just outside Girvan. The former was magnificent, if a tad breezy. The latter is depressing but it’s somewhere to sleep and the showers were hot. The variety is what makes it all so exciting and worthwhile.