The moment I left Belfast it was sunny, suddenly when I pedalled down to the harbour, the rain fell like pouring water and I just couldn’t escape being wet. I felt totally bad when I was soaked with wet clothes. Bad things usually came together, I was runnimg a bit late plus the freaking rain, I arrived the terminal 5 mins later than the departure time! Oh my God, I missed the ferry!! Luckily the staff was kind enough to put me in the next ferry, I would lose 4 hours riding then.
The ferry left at 3pm and arrive Cairnryan (Stranraer) at 6pm. Once I stepped out the ferry, it was pouring rain again, but I couldn’t ride the whole 150km the next day to Glasgow, having no choice but to ride in the rain again.
Scotland is very hilly, the color of field are in a deeper green than Ireland, usually with high mountains at the background. It is another style of beauty even under the rain. A hour later the sky became too dark to carry on riding, I was in the middle of small towns so my choice of places to pinch my tent is only fields. However, I really don’t like to do it under the rain. Remember one day when I slept inside the tent in Sweden under heavy rain, water came in and it was flooding inside the tent. Horrible!
Thanks God that I spotted out a bus stop by the side of the main road, after evaluating the size and cleaniness, I could sleep there for this rainy night. At least it is a shelter! I couldn’t pinch the nails down concrete ground, the alternative way is putting all my bags inside the four corners of the tent to stuff it up, of course with the skeleton to hold it. It was not perfect but I watched a movie inside, I couldn’t complain.
The following day I got around 130km to catch up. Along the west coast towards Glasgow you can always see this nice volcanic island, Ailsa Craig.
While I was catching up my time and didn’t dare to stop for lunch, flying through Girvan and Ayr, suddenly the bumpy feeling at my seat told me there was a puncture, I had no choice but to stop and changed it. And after 20 miles, the same rear tyre was flat AGAIN, it drove me crazy! In UK, it seems that I get multiple punctures in one day, blame those thorns along the road! I didn’t have another extra tube to put on, and I didn’t want to lose time to repair it, so I just stopped every 2-3 miles to give it a pump. Luckily it was a small puncture that could last me until I reached my host’s place.
One more tragic thing happened though, while I made a sudden stop, my left sandal was torn away. It was broken a few times before but I stuck it together by super glue. This time I couldn’t save it anymore…thanks for its 4 months service, a US$10 sandals I bought in Hongkong.
My hosts Martin and Lena gave me a warm welcome. After the last two horrible days riding through rain and thorns, finally I can enjoy a cup of tea with nice conversation with my hosts, it was all worth it!
I got a pair of old shoes in a charity shop, only 50p, half a pound, it was so cheap that I couldn’t believe.
Wandering in Glasgow city, the yellow leaves outside Glasgow Cathedral was gorgeous!
Famous brewery factory from 18th century.
Glasgow city chamber, I joined the guided tour but I couldn’t hardly understand the lady’s Scottish accent. It seems they grumble all the words together or just their tongues got special features so they couldn’t speak clearly. Who knows?
I visited another host family who couldn’t host me but would like to meet up.
Have you heard about Parkrun? That is a quite well organized bunch of people who run 5km in parks every Saturday morning. They time your result so that you can see your progress. Before setting off to St Andrews, I did my first run with my host. I thought it was easy as I am cycling everyday, however running stretches different muscles. 23mins to run 5km, I did my best but muscles got sore for the coming few days…
Cairnryan to Glasgow 156km