I made it to London from John O’ Groats – “Joglon” – a couple of weeks ago, but there was a missing link in the journey. I took an unplanned recovery day on the Edinburgh-Morpeth leg.
Having been back up in Scotland for the last week for the Scottish 6 Days orienteering races, I had a chance yesterday to complete the link. After a largely dry week for the orienteering, the rain was back, but this was nothing new – it had rained on 10 of the 11 Joglon days.
I set off at 0830 with unmoveable target – a 1730 train from Morpeth back to Edinburgh. The back roads to Temple and along down to Galashiels were pleasant enough, a very green landscape through the pouring rain. At one point a deer leapt across the road just in front – if it had hit me or the bike it would have been game over.
At Galashiels it finally stopped raining. I passed through Melrose, around the Eildon Hills, through Newtown St Boswells and on to the dreaded A68, before stopping for lunch at the half-way point at Jedburgh. It was pleasantly warm but I got some funny looks from the locals in my cycling attire.
Back onto the A68, which was pretty quiet and not that bad really, up and up to Carter Bar, the Scottish-English border, at 420m altitude. Interestingly the Scottish Saltire flies on one side and the Northumberland Flag, rather than the St George’s Cross, on the other.
It started to rain again, so I quickly headed off down to Otterburn and Elsdon, before gradually descending on a very straight and quiet road to Morpeth. On the way I passed a rather bizarre hangman’s gallows, complete with wooden head, on a moor beside the road. This is known as “Winter’s Gibbit”.
Cycling time was just under 7 hours, with just an hour on breaks, for 155km.
I had an hour between trains at Alnmouth on the way back, so wandered around the tiny but extremely pretty village and bay.