Day 14 New Lanark to Stirling

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Well rested after our stay at New Lanark, we made our way up the A73 to Airdrie. We had planned on following some small country lanes all the way, but we’ve realised they’re the equivalent of riding a short wave frequency – lots of steep bumps tightly packed together. B roads are more like medium wave, and A roads like long wave. I’m tempted to stretch that metaphor all over the place, but it would snap like cheap knicker elastic. So let’s just say the A73 was a smooth and easy ride.

Airdrie was very clearly showing visible signs of the recession, with a large number of boarded up shop fronts. The local cafe even had one of those UV lights in the toilets that are used to stop junkies being able to find a vein to shoot up. Here’s a picture of me not shooting up.

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We didn’t stay too long.

Instead we sped along to Kilsyth, from where we took the unbelievably beautiful Tak Ma Doon Road – an old drover’s route – across to Stirling.

There was a series of steep climbs at the start of the road (which Daf lapped up) which led to quite staggeringly lovely views back to Cumbernauld. Here’s Daf looking a bit happy at the top:

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The road continued on: a long, slow, gorgeous descent to Stirling, flanked by a couple of small lochs along the way. And all this with bright blue skies scattered with sumptuous white clouds. Mighty fine.

We trundled into Stirling, a wonderfully gentle city upon first impressions. Our hostel is perched towards the top of a hill, just a few doors down from Stirling Castle, which we’d spotted on our way into town.

We checked in quickly, and made our way up to the castle, too late for a proper visit, but with plenty of time to enjoy the view of the Wallace Monument basking in the late afternoon sun. Fantastic.

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I then decided that I wanted Daf to photograph me posing with my bike on a particularly photogenic outcrop of rock that was visible from the castle.

Can you sense the impending doom?

I went up to the outcrop, and posed for all my worth, momentarily ignoring my bike, which responded appropriately, and fell over.

Unfortunately, I hadn’t closed my top-box properly (that’s the bag that sits on top of my handlebars, with all the day’s most useful kit in it), and a whole bunch of stuff tumbled out, down the outcrop to the cemetery below.

Oops.

We dug around, and managed to pick up all of it.

Except.

Except, except, except.

Except an 8GB data card, with a week’s worth of photography on it.

Calamity.

Like Aha, we hunted high and low. But to no avail. So, after much scrabbling about in the undergrowth, we called time on the search. Daf went to the supermarket to get supplies for dinner, while I checked back at the hostel in case I’d somehow left the card there. Yup, that’s the gentle rasp of straws being clutched at with sweaty nervous fingers. No joy.

With nothing else for it, I headed back to the cemetery for a final look. Still nothing, except a disinterested audience of midges.

Giving up, I thought I may as well try and get some good karma, and did a bit of litter picking, grabbing up various plastic bags, crisp packets and sweet wrappers that were lying around.

After that, it struck me to take a look in a different spot, and well, there was the card, sitting on top of a clump of grass, practically begging to be found.

Guess karma really does work.

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