What are we doing in Troon you may wonder. And no it wasn’t so we could have a quick round of golf. All will be revealed.
After yesterday’s slog against the wind and scenery today was fab. One of our best days. It rained overnight and was raining steadily when we awoke. Luckily the campsite had a kitchen so we could breakfast in the dry. Apparently we had just missed a cycling rally held there with 450(?) cyclists. Shame we missed it… not. Sounded busy.
So we packed up in the wet and donned our waterproofs and headed into the dull drizzly morning. We needed to head back to route on the B729 at Dunscore where a shop supplied us with drinks and snacks for the day.
What absolutely superb cycling road, almost completely devoid of traffic, no steep gradients and a good surface.Even the short stretch of A702 was the same. From the pretty village of Moniaive to Carsphairn I counted a total of 16 vehicles in 15 miles. Most were going the other way.
This is Scottish scenery as it should be. Loch, moor and hill. Beautiful, even on an overcast day.
The road from Moniaive was basically one long steady uphill to the watershed for about 7 miles followed by 7 miles of downhill on the other side. At certain sections it was like cycling through a grotto.
We timed it perfectly to arrive in Carsphairn for lunch at the Stag Tea Room where there was a signed photo of the Hairy Bikers who had benn there before us. Strange they never asked us to sign a photo to hang next to it.
The drizzle had stopped by the time we had finished lunch and it tried to brighten up for the rest of the day. We still had a bit of a headwind but we had more shelter and better scenery so it didn’t bother us as much.
The A713 towards Ayr was a little busier but still practically deserted. Again it was a climb of several miles to the watershed and the Ayrshire border above Loch Doon. The descent to Dalmellington was in a pretty glen with stream. Sadly Ayrshire clearly don’t spend any money on their roads as the surface was shocking. So bad was it that it shook Andrew’s front pannier rack loose and we had to stop for a roadside repair.
God only knows why they have speed humps in Dalmellington as if you drove at 30mph on those roads your car would probably fall apart. Joking aside, all the A-roads we encountered in Ayrshire were terrible. It makes progress slower, more painfull, more frustrating and more dangerous than it should be.
Luckily the B-roads were much smoother and the B730 past the grey village of Drongan to Tarbolton was brill. Our first attempt at camping near Tarbolton was thwarted as they no longer take tents. They sent us on to a place near Dundonald which was just statics. We rang a place at Cunninghamhead which was the same. All three show as campsites on the map.
The guys at Dundonald told us to try the place in Troon which only shows as a caravan park on the map. They takes tents they insisted. And the way there was just up and over the hill on Old Loans Road. Could they not see we were on bikes?
Climbing hills is fine when they are hills we need to climb to get to JOG. Climbing hills in totally the wrong direction is a teensy bit annoying. Ah well, it was steep but the views across to Arran from the top just about made it worthwhile. We’ll avoid having to go over it again tomorrow by using the A-road alternative.
The campsite is near the railway (a bit noisy) but can take a few tents. The guy who runs it used to play football with an old OUFC player and follows the fortunes of the team! We had a long chat about football in Oxford in Troon, as you do!
So that’s the story of how we got to Troon. We’re a few miles off course, we should catch them up OK tomorrow. So good to have a fandabidozi (sp?) day after yesterday. Glasgow and Loch Lomond tomorrow. Ace!
And not once have I said Donald where’s me troosers.
Distance : 69.02 miles
Time cycling : 6h42m
Ascent : 1476 m
Average speed : 10.3 mph