Friday 6th April
I am sat writing this watching the lighthouse on the Mull of Galloway (the most southerly point of Scotland) fade into the darkness of night. It is blowing a gale outside evident by not only the noise of the wind but everything that moves being blown with it.
Unfortunately this wind has been against me for a lot of my cycle today. I started near Kirkcowan this morning and was in ‘go-slow’ since the moment I woke up. I was tired and everything was taking longer than usual. Andy, Sherry and I sat around the kitchen table eating porridge and I decided to cut a bit off my route when they told me of some nice roads that headed straight towards the west part of the peninsular. Foolishly I thought this would mean an easy day, that was until I realised these nice roads were straight into the headwind!
It didn’t matter too much, I was wrapped up and the slower I cycled meant that I wouldn’t sweat and eventually get cold, so that was the order of the day, cycle slowly, don’t sweat, endure the wind and enjoy the view. And wow was I in luck! The rolling hills looked beautiful, artificial, almost like someone had drawn a round mound on a piece of paper and it had come to life, filled with the usual sight of sheep with their lambs and in these parts the Galloway cattle. I saw some gaggles of both Pink Footed and Barnacle Geese overwintering here ready to go back to their colder climates for the summer months, watching groups of geese in the sky has become a feature of everyday cycling. As I reached a wooded area it was not long until I saw a couple of Red Squirrels, this was the second time in two days and having never seen a red squirrel before I felt so lucky. The tarmac was rough and with the constant ups and downs progress was pretty slow but unlike yesterday I didn’t have a huge amount of miles to do and didn’t need to rush.
As I got nearer towards the coastline I felt like I had the roads to myself, only a handful of cars had passed in the last couple of hours. Then probably the most special moment yet. There in front of me perching on the top of a tree are what I truely believe to be a pair of Golden Eagles. They took flight as they heard the sound of my bike but with the strong winds I followed them for quite some way as they circled the sky marvelling at the beauty of their flight. Of course, the minute I reached for my phone to take a photo they were gone. A few miles later a stoat ran across my path, my go-slow method was certainly providing a lot of wildlife today!
I reached the coastline again, the waves were powerful and strong and hitting the shore, I followed the coastline all the way round to cycle down to the Mull of Galloway, Scotland’s most Southerly point. On a clear day you can see across to the Lake District, Ireland and the Isle on Man. I knew that this wouldn’t be the case today as I couldn’t even see the point I was headed to across the water.
As I turned the corner to head South East towards the point, there was that strong headwind again. The forecast predicted it to be 30mph and that’s exactly how it felt, I was struggling to even do 7mph on the flat. It was tremendously hard work and the miles were just not ticking over. I finally reached Drummore, a village with Scotland’s most southerly pubs and village shop. I stopped for lunch in the first place I found, the Clashwhannon Pub as I had no fuel left in the tank. After a good feed and a chat to the very kind landlady (who told me just before I left that I had a hill to climb) I continued on my way. By this time it was raining pretty hard, I stopped in the shop for some supplies and then had two miles to reach the BnB. After this it was a further three miles to the lighthouse at the end. In the weather conditions and with no energy left, I called it a day, with a possible hope of going out to the lighthouse later in the afternoon.
After settling in my room and having an afternoon nap I woke up to the sound of the wind and when I stepped outside to be nearly blown over I had no hope of any further cycling. The view out of my window that had now cleared a little would have to be enough.
I have managed to relax this afternoon and since I didn’t fancy going outside this evening, dinner has comprised of a large sausage roll, a banana, a tin of pineapple slices, a packet of crisps and a twirl!
As I finish writing this the sky outside has now turned black and I can occasionally see the lamp of the lighthouse flicker. The sound of the wind still overrides everything else, it is due to die down a bit tomorrow but at least it will be behind me!