Picture of Ken and Linda with their tandem

Title: End to End by Tandem. Ken & Linda Hardy

 Day 10: September 19 th , Dumfries to Kilwinning

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Today started cold and with a long, but steady, climb. We followed the A76 from Dumfries which follows the river Nith almost to its source. This is one of those roads which looks flat, but in fact is almost always climbing slightly, hence, to the cyclist, it's a most frustrating business, feeling that you should be bowling along but in fact you are always having to work at it. The distances were also starting to seem greater since there are fewer towns hereabouts and the views are huge. It seems to take a long time to pass the next mountain landmark. However, to compensate, the scenery is magnificent and the few towns there are, are attractive, having a special Scottish character. It felt good to be in Scotland at last.

Once we had reached the high ground around Cumnock we started to see views over towards our destination for the evening and across the sea to Arran. The descent down into Kilmarnock was long, fast and satisfying. We called into the Tourist Information there to book a B&B ahead, hoping that we might be able to cross onto Arran for the night. However, they told us that the last ferry left at 6pm and we had to be there to book onto the ferry hour beforehand and that we hadn't really got time to cycle there in time. We came to the conclusion later that we could have made it in time but in the event we took their advice and booked a B&B in Kilwinning, not far from the ferry port, so that we could catch the ferry early the next morning. This was a mistake! Kilwinning is not a place you would choose to stay in and the B&B was the worst of the trip. If we'd known what we now know we'd have done our best to catch the ferry and spend an undoubtedly more pleasant night on Arran.

Despite all the above, and the fact that the town was completely dead and everything barricaded with security shutters when we went out to get a meal, we did actually have one of the best meals of the trip in the only pub we found open which was selling meals.

Day 10 - Mileage: Day 72; Cumulative 629