Monday, 1 September 2014

m74 extension

The route heading out from Abington is often mentioned as a guff favourite and it seems right that we should visit at least once per year. The route is usually around 67km/42miles including the climb of Lowther hill but we have mentioned trying to lengthen the route. With this in mind this guffer set off on an experiment. Starting at the usual place in Abington and heading north towards Douglas. A hunch suggested that this would not be an especially pretty road and so it proved. The surface was pretty worn creating a fair road buzz and there wasn't much in the way of scenery ahead as the road runs parallel with the M74 and has what seems like the spoil from building that road piled up at the side. Still 16km/10 miles done and the worst is over and  looking back provides a quick reminder of one of the main reasons why this route has become such a favourite.

A quick left into Douglas and beyond then take the first left handily signposted for Crawfordjohn and the roads have returned to those so familiar of the area. Rolling with a few kicks and curiously fast.

Our usual route follows two river valleys but extending the route opens out views of the radar on Lowther hill.

The detour then rejoins the route south to Sanquhar all of 2km from Crawfordjohn. So far the road covered 30km with around 365m of climbing but in what felt like a very pacy hour. A wee extra detour south of Sanquhar avoided the main road and joined up with the route out of Drumlanrigg just short of the turn for Wanlockhead but again the radar is never far from view.

August in the Mennock Pass brings with it a special treat with heather in full bloom that turns the place a psychedelic purple. Photos are now obligatory as was much singing about Bonny Lassies, Purple Haze, Buzz Buzz Buzz honey bees and any other tangential references that caught the eye

The ascent onto Lowther hill didn't disappoint. Though there seen to be more and more additions to the barriers to keep any vehicles out. Even the skinny ones it seems. The return in Abington was satisfyingly fast and brought the average up to something near to respectable. The surface could do with upgrading immediately beyond the cattle grid out of Wanlockhead but otherwise it proved to be fine day 85km/53miles 1130m climbing.

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