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Leaving home at 8am, I had arranged to meet Austin at 9.30 in Alston, we were both frozen and hoping to find a cafe for a cuppa and a warm up, unfortunately they were not yet open, so we filled with fuel & headed north on the A689 to Brampton, as we left Alston, the sun came out the air temp increased and all started to become glorious. The A6071 took us to Longtown then the A7 to Langholm, where we found a pleasant cafe for a cuppa & a chat.

From there we took the A709 soon, we were treated to the impressively beautiful rolling hills of southern Scotland which were all encompasing, the road narrowing markedly when we passed Eskdalemuir.

Heres a pic taken between Davinton & Ettrick



Austin's bike carrying the Metal Mules, the quality of which is simply superb, with with good strong racks, a locking mechanism & rack latch that leaves the other brands trailing.

From there we headed for St Mary's Loch and our meeting place, beyond every bend was a treat to the senses.

Once there, we met up with Icenian who'd been following us for a little while, WeeJack & brianmcc arrived shortly after, we all had a chat, a cuppa & a bite to eat.
Before leaving, I saw another motorcyclist was chatting to Austin, it turned out he too had an Alp 650 with which he took to the North cape last year although he was on his newish Triumph Bonneville on this occasion, nice to have a chat with him though, maybe he'll log into the site sometime.

On the runout we headed past Megget Reservoir and then Talla Reservoir on a fantastically small, twisty, scenic road.

Here's the view that greeted us as Talla Reservoir came into view



and the view back



On meeting up with the A701, we all said our farewells as the Scottish guy's headed north, Austin and I continued on South towards Moffat, a fantastic view greeted us at Tweeds Well, unfortunately I have no pic to show you....

In Moffat Austin continued south to head for home, I was on a high with the roads, the scenery and the trip, so I decided to stay back & do some exploring :cool:

Taking mainly unclassified roads (of course) which took me through Boreland, Corrie where I met up with the B7068, a quick 'U' turn to take the Castle O'er road, again simply stunning views, at this point I was thinking 'why didn't I bring the tent...'



Back into Eskdalemuir, where before I go on, I must apologise to Austin, I'm sure he would have loved to visit this place when we first passed several hours later.....

....where I visited the Samye Ling Monastery, yep a Tibetan monestery in Scotland.



With a chill in the air it was time to head for home, back down to Langholm (taking in a few unclassified roads on the way) where I know of a beautiful, peaceful spot by the river Esk, time for a rest, a drink and a little walk.



From Langholm, it was a case of retracing steps back to Longtown petrol stop), Brampton on my way to Alston fatigue was starting to set in, running off line on a bend, was a wakeup call & time to take it easy. In my mirrors the sun was setting over the North Pennines, giving a stark contrast between the landscape & skyline

Heading home from Alston on the A689, again I was aware of fatigue, the cold was starting to bite, from Stanhope to Egglestone, Barnard Castle and the first signs of life, Darlington, Yarm, past the (ex) ICI Wilton works lighting the sky with a bright orange glow and home by 9pm to warmth, a curry & a well earned beer.

A brilliant day trip, it was good to meet up with Wee Jack, Brian, Tim and Austin.

In total 13 hours and 360 miles (estimate!)

I really must head north of the border more, It doesn't have to be the Highlands y'know!

Phil
 

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My own day was a big contrast to the epic run made by Phil and Austin, and the commendable if not entirely epic effort of Jack and Brian.

It was already nice and sunny when I left around 11am. I skirted round the Moorfoot hills on various daft wee roads down past Innerleithen and on to St Mary's Loch. It wasn't yet 12:30, and we were meeting at 13:00, so I headed down the Eskdalemuir road with the idea of meeting Jack and Brian who were heading up that way.

I hadn't gone far (but then I was taking it easy - I wasn't sure if one of the guys coming the other way was on a Varadero, and it's only a narrow road...) and a brace of Transalps appeared. I was a few yards from a blind bend so there wasn't time to flag them down. I carried on to find some place to turn, though there wasn't one so I had to do a slow 13 point turn. By this time I was way behind so a certain degree of progress had to be made to catch up with the others. Turns out that wasn't Jack and Brian (who has an AT anyway, not a TA), but no matter, the others turned up at the Cafe shortly after.

After lunch we managed a short run as a group (see Phil's photos) before having to head in separate directions. I contrived to take a route home through the ford at Skirling but sadly there was only about 3 inches of water in it.

It was good to meet the others, and an incentive to try and get more organised more often! It's hard to organize a decent length run when people would have a 100-200 mile day just to get to a meeting point, but it's nice just to meet and chat over a few cups of tea!

Next time perhaps we should meet somewhere in Galloway, or maybe somewhere near Hadrian's Wall to even up the mileage with the guys from down south (please read that as "up north" if you're in England).
 

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Excellent report PiguglySD...... there is nothing for the Scottish branch to add to that. We were definately the supporting act to your epic !! Well done for making the effort to come up and meet us.

I'm in biking heaven this week , on holiday and the weather is just sublime !!. On Monday I had a run out with Wee R1 Fred, we went north this time to Tyndrum , Dalmaly, Inveraray and home via the Rest and be thankful and Loch Lomond.

Today I went horse riding with my wife, I'm more knackered after 1 and 1/2 hours on a Gee Gee than two full days on the bike !!

Doing a bit of cycling tomorrow and plan another run out with Fred on Thursday.

Life really sucks doesn't it ??

Hey Tim , I wish my water crossing only had 3 inches in it !!!! then I wouldn't be working half my life to pay Cal-Mac.
 
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