Sunday, June 24, 2018

22b0618 BLOK

22b0618 BLOK
From Newcastle to Glasgow, Mr. Fetes, me and J.B. Feeney.
Day one, 040618:  Newburn to Greenhead, via Haltwhistle
Off at 0930 from Sanday´s house, all loaded up again.   She was going to join me for some kilometers, but had to work, as a sub. teacher.
It was easy in the beginning, the goal 40 miles / 60KM, but it got progressively tiring as the day went on.  In the beginning, flat on bicycle path #72, but then steep hills, which I wasn´t used to climbing.  From Newburn the path parallels Hadrian´s Wall:  From Wikidicki:
`Hadrian's Wall (Latin: Vallum Aelium), also called the Roman Wall, Picts' Wall, or Vallum Hadriani in Latin, was a defensive fortification in the Roman province of Britannia, begun in AD 122 in the reign of the emperor Hadrian. It ran from the banks of the River Tyne near the North Sea to the Solway Firth on the Irish Sea, and was the northern limit of the Roman Empire, immediately north of which were the lands of the northern Ancient Britons, including the Picts.
It had a stone base and a stone wall. There were milecastles with two turrets in between. There was a fort about every five Roman miles. From north to south, the wall comprised a ditch, wall, military way and vallum, another ditch with adjoining mounds. It is thought the milecastles were staffed with static garrisons, whereas the forts had fighting garrisons of infantry and cavalry.´
It´s now common to walk the Wall in the summer some 75 miles from the English Channel to the Irish Sea on the west.  I saw several people, walking it, and even met one named Jon in the Greenhead Hotel where he was spending the night.
I crossed Hadrian´s wall on a highway two days later heading north out of Brampton. Was it called Newtown?
Finally after some hours, threading my way through confusting villages (having to find the #72 signs) I stopped for lunch atop what I thought was the highest point (wrong).  At Ed´s Bench (see photo. in the gallery at
After eating and a short rest I continued, now up atop some rolling hills.  The route seemed to go on forever and ever, me not used to such, and getting seriously tired.  I wasn´t eating the hills for breakfast as normally, but they were eating me this day. What helped Mr. Fetes worked well, no problem with the gears, well, maybe a little.  When understress, the rear derailleur doesn´t work as well.  Bicycle mechanics, rarely understand this as they adjust for straight and level, with little weight. I live on a bicycle, and few in the world do.  Additionally, what helped the day was overcast and cool.
In Haltwhistle I stopped at a supper market, and bought some INNOCENT fruit smoothie for a little boost.  I was about out of energy, but the sign said Greenhead, only 3 miles.
I made it as up, but turned wrong, ending up at a Museum for Roman military memorbilia.
Then back to the highway and down a steep hill into Greenhead.  The 40 miles had taken 8 hours, averaging only 5 miles per hour!  40 miles is something like 62KM or a little less than 8KM per hour, an average which is slow for me.
I was so exhausted, when checking into the Greenhead Hotel-Hostal, I could barely speak.  A bed in a dorm room only 20L (It´s Pounds Sterling in the U.K.).  And the owner told me, I could expect to have the entire church (converted into the Hostal) all to myself.  Note, first time in a long time in church!  This a week day, and few tourists on the road.  I also alerted him that I might stay an extra day.
I parked Mr. Fetes in the large common room, leaning it against a pool table.
I managed a hot shower, the stream of water from the nozzle so strong, it flew out of my hand.  This record strength, in all my days.  It´s so interesting what you experience cycling the world.
I then, walked back across the highway to the hotel, to have dinner in their restaurant.  I ate Spaghetti Bolognese, as no Falafel (as they had on the menu), and a glass of red wine.
It wasn´t long after I went to bed on a lower bunk in a room with four bunkbeds, sleeping a possible eight people.  Yes, pack ém in!  Money, our new God in the world!
The next morning I made breakfast in their kitchen, finally figuring out how to turn the gas stove on!
After breakfast, I knew I should stay the day to recover from cycling yesterday, so went back to the hotel and paid another 20L.
There were several good things about staying the extra day, besides resting.  One, I had lunch in a tea room, as was able to purchase milk. Secondly, I took a walk and discovered bicycle path #72.  Had I not stayed, I would have continued on the highway, as no obvious signs for continuing on #72., the U.K.´s main cycling website, does a pretty good job as all donations and volunteers, but their signs not always where one needs them.  In addition, I hiked up to experience my first ancient (13th C.) English castle.  Photos. always at CLICK ON THE GALLERY, and in this case the album for this trip on the first page!
Day 3, 060618
On to Lockerbie, Scotland
I was off at 0900
First goal Brampton, not distant, but tricky again, following #72.  I made a mistake at a junction, turning left onto a highway, when I should have turned right, the direction signs confusing me.
And oh woe for it, as I ended up on a busy A highway, during the morning traffic, and scary.  I got off as soon as I could, and somewhat fortuious, as ended up passing by another English castle, much larger than the one the preceeding day. But, for some reason i neither stopped nor took a photograph of it.  When I´m trying to get somewhere, I´m of the habit of pressing on.  I ended up down a long hill, and right into a fancy Bed & Breakfast.  Here the woman owner/clerk (?) didn´t know but said to take the road directly into Brampton.  Well, guess what?  It turned out to be bicycle route #72.  Later, I thought how could the owner of the Bed & Breakfast, she was right on bicycle path #72, not know about it?     I´m always amazed at what people don´t know, as so limited minded.  No doubt all of her up scale guests came in motor vehicles, thus never curious about all the bicycles passing by…
Brampton, I glided through it after asking a woman where a bicycle shop was (needed to pump the tires, or so I thought).  She thought maybe through town, which was the direction I need to go anyway, taking highway A6071 to Longtown and …?  Note, the village on the Scotland border, where you could get married without parent´s consent…? I´ll think of the name… I remember Tony, Sandra´s boyfriend recommending a good cafe as you enter it. Ah, Gretna Green, I it came to me.  At the junction out of Brampton there was heavy traffic, so I waited in the left lane to make a right turn, but in the process holding up a male driver.  As he passed, he was  so angry he SCREAMED at me.  There is so much road rage in the U.K., I wonder why?  There is none in The Netherlands!
I have discovered that the U.K. not particularly cycling friendly, although most drivers courteous enough not to kill me.
Finally, on old Higway A6071 heading north, I found the going easier, for two reasons, one, I was getting stronger, second, the countryside relatively flat, with minimal traffic.  I zoomed along beginning to enjoy riding through the English countryside.
Just before Longtown, I discovered a plant nursery with a cafe, and stopped for lunch.
Then continuing I crossed into Scotland just before Gretna Green. This was somewhat of an achievement for me, making the land of my Hutchison and Dalrymple ancestors via bicycle.
Gretna Green, turned out not much, but helpful in the form of an older cyclist sitting on a bench.  He was 79 years old. Gliding up and stopping in front of him I said, JUST THE MAN I´VE BEEN LOOKING FOR!  Yes, just continue on old highway M74, and all the way into Glasgow.  I gave him some`BURN FAT!  NOT PETROL!´ stickers!
I was curious about Lockerbie, as a significant news story back in my past, in the U.S. in1988.  I think we (married at the time) lived in Arlington, Texas, U.S.A.  Lockerbie, just a name in Scotland back then, was the site of a terroist air tragedy when a bomb blew up a PanAm 747, killed 239 people, 11 on the ground, as the debris fell in a residential area.
I´ve often thought, how you never know…  You can be sitting in your house after work watching TV when the world explodes and you´re gone, dead!  And never knowing how or why!  11 Lockerbie residents went just this way.  What are the odds?
I found Lockerbie, time consuming trying to find lodging.  I must have cycled around for an hour finally in a hotel on the main street.  But, not until I´d gotten to know Lockerbie more than I wanted, after cycling 7 hours, vibrating on not-so-good highways and streets.
Really the U.K. needs work on its infrastructure, the highways not good compared to other European countries, particularly The Netherlands.
In fact The Netherlands and Danish cultures maybe the best in all the world.  If only the weather was better!
Day 4, Lockerbie to Moffat.
I had discovered cycling around Lockerbie, the day before, signs indicating bicycle path #74.  So, all was not lost during the hour searching for a place to spend the night.  Once on the path, a lane on old M74, all the way, paralleling the new fast, busy, get-out-of-my motorway, but the old highway, unkept. In fact the bicycle lane so bad, bumpy (holes), and debris, many times I had to cycle in the traffic lane, pushing motor traffic into the opposite lane., take note.  We need to improve the bike paths (lanes) in the U.K. and I´ll donate 100L, to launch the campaign.  Cyclists of the world unite!  You have only your chains to lose!
This stretch, takes you through the burgh where Thomas Carlisle was born — just out of Gretna Green, in Galloway.  There´s a statue of course.
Oh, when I die please do not remember me with a statue or name a bicycle path after me!  We need more statues, plaques, highways named after women, especially ethnic women!
This stretch also takes you through some hills.  I began to see more cyclists, but maybe because of the weekend (riders).
Riders of the Purple Sage, I am, from Arizona, U.S.A. (`An old cowpoke went riding out one dark and windy day…´)!  But, of course, the Purple Sage riders on horse back, as I grew up riding.  First four legs, then two wheels.
At a little burgh before the Moffat turn off I stopped and ate my lunch on a picnic table.  I ate my egg salad Earl of Sandwich, olives, and a chocolate muffin.  All of this while obsercing a pretty young blonde woman, arrive in her trendy little motor vehicle, across the street.  I surmised she had come home for lunch, or a `quicky,. as she knew how to unlock the gate.  I love observing people!
I also noticed all the train traffic between England and Scotland, both passenger and freight. The track behind me to the west.
Then, on to wherever, and confused at a confusing junction, with two roundabouts.  I took the sign indicating Moffat, but I hadn´t realized it was several miles out of the way.  But, I´m glad I did as Moffat an interesting tourist town, with many hotels, restaurants, and a supermarket, where I was able to purchase my kind of food.
But, again, I had to cycle around and inquire at several hotels, before ending up in the FAMOUS STAR hotel, as the most narrow in the world (Guiness Book of World Reconds).  The thinnest hotel in the world. And the thinnest turned out to be the bestest, of all the placees I stayed on this entire trip.
Every town and business has to claim some kind of uniqueness.
My father was in the restaurant-hotel business, and I grew up working in a commercial kitchen.  I´ve also had the opportunity to stay in the best hotels in the world.  For example, the 6-star La Cipriani, in Venice, where I paid $1,000U.S. for ONE NIGHT (of course a mistake, long story).  So, I know good hotels from bad, good restaurants, from the not so good.  The Star Hotel I can recommend, in Moffat, Scotland!
Day 5 Moffat to somewhere, and the Radstone Hotel
The next moring, I got directions to find old M74 again, where yesterday, fate had taken me into Moffat.
Onward, to one of the most challenging cycling days of the entire trip, too many hills, too long, and having to double back to find the only hotel.  It was also confusing as now nearing Hamilton nee Glasgow, a major megatropolis.  It turned out to be a brutal day.
The first episode… I had followed bicycle path #74 doggely, but here it diverted though a residential area after Kirkmuirhill, where I´d stopped to inquire at a Masonic Hotel.  No, closed for renovation, but the Radstone in the next village Larkhall. So onward…
Following bicycle path #74, I ended up in the countryside, and a sign warning me that the road was closed up ahead.  I saw, however, a automobile coming in my direction, so I thought maybe the sign had to do with a different road.  I went ahead, climbing up and down hills, the warning signs continuing.  Well, what does one do at that point but continue to find out… I did, and bad news.  The road was blocked for construction just on he outskirts of Larkhall.  Luckily, there was just enough room, on grass at the edge to push around.  One of the advantages of travelling on a bicycle. Sometimes I even ride on sidewalks.
Up into Larkhall I went, and in the business center, I asked for the Radstone Hotel.  No, not here, but back some two miles in the direction I´d come. Great!  The man gave me directions and the only thing I could do as getting late, was to follow, so back I went, but not the same way, but on a busy road at going-home-traffic time!  Oh, mama can this really be the end… I went and went, at the roundabout, as described, onto a highway, under a bridge, and down a hill to the Radstone.  It first looked like it was closed, but then discovered it as a event hotel, specializing in wedding receptions, etc.  It was fancy, with attired guests, celebrating a wedding.  Two kilted doormen ushered me in, so I pushed Mr. Fetes right up to the reception desk, inquiring about a room.  Just like in Lelystad, NL, weeks earlier, I would have paid anything for a bed, a bath, a rest!  And although tired, it wasn´t as bad when I arrived at the Apollo Hotel in Lelystad, that first day out of Noorwolde.  What doesn´t kill you makes you stronger!
They had a room, for a resonable amount, something like 70L, and I jumped on it.  They even let me keep Mr. Fetes in my room.  It didn´t have a bathtub, but sometimes you make do!
Later, showered, and hungrey, I ordered salmon for dinner.  Expensive, but I´d earned it!
I forgot to mention, somewhere, on an interesting lonely hilltop stretch, I ran into an English cyclist, one of the few I´d encountered cycling in the U.K.  We stopped and chatted going in opposite directions.  He was on an old racing bicycle, carrying little in the way of gear, but certainly had experience.  He was from somewhere down in southern England, but had cycled up to visit his mother in Scotland. We were sympatico, in ways which are hard to put into English words.  I gave him some `BURN FAT! NOT PETROL!´ stickers, but kicked myself in the rear later, for not getting his email address.  Some times, maybe because older, I forget to do what I should!  I can´t even remember his name now!  Oh mama can this really be the end, to be so old with the trying-to-remember blues again!
Tomorrow, the last day on the road, and all the way into Glasgow, a Saturday,
It turned out to be another trying day, but ultimately I made it all the way to Adrian´s in eastern Glasgow.
I had a buffet breakfast in the Radstone restaurant.  They made porridge for me, something I need when cycling, a complex carbohydrate, that fuels the muscles for at least four hours.
Off I was on a sunny day, the locals amazed as unusual.  Scotland, THE LAND OF THE LONG GRAY CLOUD, compared to New Zealand´s LAND OF THE LONG WHITE CLOUD!
I cycled N.Z., top to bottom, Cape Reina (North Island) to Invercargil (South Island).  It´s in someways much like the England-Scotland:  islands, green, mucho lluevo, hills, both part of the British Commonwealth.
The traffic  bears left in British Commonwealth countries.  If only it could be the same around the world.  No, everyone has to be different, as our way the best!  No best, no worst!
I was off at 0900 from the Radstone, and glided down into Larkhall.  I had seen the bicycle path sign (#74) indicating the direction to Hamilton, the previous day coming into center Larkhall.
But, here´s a great example, of you can be lead astray.  Turning where I thought the sign indicated, heading for Hamilton-Glasgow, I ended up in a cul de sac.  I retraced, trying to figure it out, when I came upon a cycling group of young boys, led by a young man.  I stopped to ask about how to find #74 north.  Cyclists are the best to ask, as they know.  Motorists, don´t know always giving you distance in terms of time.  This guy knew, directed me back to old M74. I gave the entire group (20), BURN FAT!  NOT PETROL! stickers.
You see the sign I´d seen yesterday coming into Larkhall, and followed the next morning, was indicating a left turn up at M74, three block´s distance.  The sign is in the wrong place, some three blocks prior to the M74 intersection.  I wish someone would pass this on to Their signs can be confusing, as had me several times.
And here´s another example of being confused by a bicycle sign (photo. at, again, in Hamilton, a large city east of Glasgow.  I was O.K.for awhile, but then departing Hamilton at an intersection of bicycle path #74.  I thought the sign indicated going south back through Hamilton.  Thus,  I went the wrong way, up the highway towards Bothwell and Uddingston.  To check, I stopped a cyclist comng down, and he explained, to continue, take a left at the Boswell Hotel, continue until a school on the right, turn, and follow signs to the Bothwell Castle.  Behind it, following the Clyde River you´ll find bicycle path #74, and it takes you directly into Glasgow — well, not exactly.
I found the Castle (photos. at  and I decided, as around noon, to stop there and eat my sandwich on the grass.  It was an idyllic scene, a sunny Saturday, families having picnics, dogs, children running amok.
Afterwards I found a way down to the river, and sure enough disoovered a well-used dirt path, with hikers, runners, and several cyclists. I turned right, as I know directions, and knew Glasgow west.  The path was challenging on a loaded bicycle, as up and down.  Then it stopped, as blocked, something about construction.  The detour was over the Clyde, and then up hills, trafficed streets, but finally #74 signs indicated I was on course. The path following the main railroad tracks between Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The closer I got to Glasgow, the more people of course.  I met and stopped a couple, who explaned, after I´d told them my name, that the name Hutcheson, famous in Glasgow.  Of course, spelled with an E rather than an I, but nonetheless a connection!
I went on and ended up cycling across the Glasgow Green. Then crossing Salt Market street I spied a bicycle shop, where I thought I could get directions to the iTourist office.  Note, I always head for the center of an unfamilar city, as they generally have a tourist office, and a city map.  If I have a map I can find anything!  Note, the fact that I went into Billy Bilsland´s Bicycle Shop,asking for directions, has import later.  Inside one of the workers directed me to St. Geroge Square, where I went.  No tourist office, however.
I ended up in a `Something´ Financial Square, where there´s a stature with some hero on horseback, that some kids had graced with traffic cones on his head (photo. at  At the back I discovered a Starbucks, where I stopped for a Latte and muffin.
The workers in Starbucks knew where the tourist office, called VISIT SCOTLAND. It was located. on the main walking-shoping-tourist street, Buchanan.  But, being a Saturday it was madness on Buchanan, crowded with activity, from bagpippers, other street musicians, beggards, a man ranting, quoting from the Christiand Bible, cyclists, etc.
I got a map at VISIT SCOTLAND, but outside headed directly toward some trees in the distance.  Large cities too intense for me anymore.  I found the entrance to the park, the trees, I´d seen in the distance, and it was the refuge I needed as unpopulated.  I had to wait to arrive at my host, Adrian Keefe, and this perfect, dozing on a comfortable bench.  Ah, thank God for partks in cities.
I had Adrian´s address, had done a Google map prior, and knew he lived in the eastern part of Glasgow.  But, how to get there…?
Ì ended up at the Glasgow Cathedral, as thunder alerted me to threatening rain. Churches ae usually good shelter.   Plus in the case of the Glasgow Cathedral some local history.  Inside I donated 5L, and wondered around with other tourists.  From Wikireli.:
Glasgow Cathedral, is also called the High Kirk of Glasgow or St Kentigern’s, or St Mungo’s. And is today the center point of the Church of Scotland in Glasgow.
The title Cathedral is honorific and historic, dating from the period before the Scottish Reformation and its former status as the Roman Catholic mother church of the Archdiocese of Glasgow and thus the cathedra of the Archbishop of Glasgow (which is now in St. Andrew's Cathedral, the present mother church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Glasgow). The current congregation is part of the Church of Scotland's Presbytery of Glasgow. Glasgow Cathedral is located north of High Street and east of Cathedral Street, beside the Glasgow Royal Infirmary.´
Visitors had to depart nearing 5P.M., as closing, and I walked outside into a rain storm.
From there I cycled and walked to Annadale St., where Adrian Keefe´s flat is located.  But, I was early as usual, so I walked back to an Italian Restaurant on Alexander Parade, and ate a late lunch.
I stayed at Adrian´s for two nights, and then moved to the ALBA HOSTAL in Anniesland, a suburb not far from friends via neice, Erin, Bob Mantho and Sara Pinto.
My cycling trip over, I´m getting to know Glasgow.  And whoa, dangerous on the streets!  This is the first time in 14 years cycling the world that I purposedly wear a safety vest, with reflectors.  I also turn on my rear flashing light.  I don´t mind being killed on a bicycle, I just don´t want them to excuse themselves by saying, I DIDN´T SEE HIM!


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