Day 11, Tuesday Sept 18th, 2018

A long and varied day, 114 km and 850 metres of ascent. Weather started off very windy and wet - not so much rain as heavy drizzle. Waterproofs conditions, anyway and a relatively late start, 0930, for the journey from Wetheral to Abington.

We had collectively decided, after advice from our local companion rider yesterday (Derek), to take the Annan, B723/B725 to Dalton and then Lochmaben and Beattock. The rest of the route from there is in the gpx tracks - A74 all the way to Abington village and the M74 service station. And so, in windy and wet surroundings, we trundled to Gretna and crossed the border into Scotland (with suitable photo opportunities).

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Then on Annan, past the Devil’s Porridge Museum, for morning tea and cake stop in Annan. Robyn, Robbie’s wife, and little Orran (5 months old, my lovely great-grandson) met us in the cafe. The route then turned north, with shelter from hedges and gradually improving weather. Lunch stop at Graham’s Bakery, Lochmaben, allowed the rain to go off and a hint of the sun to appear. From here things went well and progress was quite speedy, with the following wind. Robbie had the drone with him and did remarkably well to take several minutes of video, which we are all dying to see (edit: link to a rough cut of some of the drone footage added below). Lots of other photos, too, with the phone. I had a dib with the GoPro, both on the road and as we came into the motorway service station. A long traffic holdup at the entrance to the service station was explained by the news that a fight had broken out between two (male, of course) motorists. The police arrived soon after we had parked up. Robyn was here to meet Robbie and we said fond goobyes. A very enjoyable day and a very long one for Robbie. Well done, my grandson!!

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Occupying all our thoughts tonight is the drastic weather forecast for tomorrow - very high SW winds and heavy rain. A dinner-time conference and discussion followed and Chris’s experience of these things led to a decision to set off as early as possible and “hole up” in the middle of the day, during the worst of the storm. My grandson Jamie and his partner Ruth are joining me for this section. My son Ali is supporting with his large vehicle, which can pick us up if necessary. So . . . .  give it a go tomorrow and decide what to do after experiencing the wind effects and whether it is safe to continue. If not, plans B, C, D may well be needed. I’m so pre-occupied with all this that other matters for the Blog will have to wait.