The first few days are over. As planned - as far as you can say that without having a plan - I am in Kirkcudbright right now. Actually, I am slightly ahead of my schedule (which doesn’t exist). At least a few kilometres.

I am not too excited with long ferry trips. I just find them a tad boring. But time is going by much faster when you fill in a lot of eating and drinking. So, after boarding I headed straight to the bar to grab a delicious Newcastle Brown and a bag of crisps. I had a seat at a window and watched the ship leaving the shore. Dinner, a very early bed time and a breakfast later I arrived in Newcastle. The weather was fantastic while being quite chilly and so the mood was quite high.

I left my bike with most of the luggage in the parking spot which was a good idea overall since the packing process down there would have been a nervwrecking action. There is really not much space in the cargo area. And obviously, nobody was interested in the strange long sticks on the bike rack.

So, now it really started. The entry to the UK was not only easy, but even entertaining. I met a seasoned cycling tourist who just came back from Norway. He gave me the hint that wild camping is an option in Scotland, but camping sites are - from his point of view - a far better choice. They just make some effort to keep the ground more dry than mother nature does. So, when a cool veteran as him says so, I am glad to enjoy some comfort as well.

The ride to the station was more of a test then I thought it would be since there were some minor mounds, but everything went fine eventually. A little highlight was the great biker‘s café along the way (The Hub, as far as I remember). A tasty cheesy (tricky combination of words, right ;-)) scone and a successful technical support for a less-technical guy from the Netherlands (greetings to Bert!) with importing some GPX data to his app made me stronger physically and spiritually.

Well, the answer to the question regarding the train transport still needed to be found. Trying to find the answer by phone let to nothing but the understanding that the first-come-first-serve principle applies. Eventually, it was quite easy (just show up, pull a ticket from the machine and go), but nevertheless I had to miss out on one train. There was a whole family of cyclist in front of me which was more than enough for the very small train. At least they were lucky enough to catch the train all at once, but myself had to be left behind. Bu the staff at the station was very helpful, so I easily found out that I just had to wait another hour at the station. The train which finally brought me to Carlisle was much more spacious so I had the pleasure to constantly switch between having a little nap and to gaze into the distance. A joyride.

From Carlisle station I went - after a short lunch break - to Gretna Green. I did not stay there for more than 5 minutes - there was no one to marry with me anyway -, since the camping site there just changed its tent philosophy due to the great weather. Obviously, camper vans bring more money. But the sun was shining and my mood was high so the additional 20+ kilometres to the site of Hoddom Castle were not much of a problem. Not only did I camp there in the shadows of a castle but cycgo was able to fulfill its second goal: The camping site had its own golf course! Only a little 9 hole layout which was not the most luxurious course in the world. But how good does it get when you make a camping trip with golf clubs and you finde thing like that? Just a perfect place to hit the first ball of my trip! So I had some fun in the sun of the evening (rain in Scotland? Perhaps tomorrow...) and then crouched into my tent to have a good night’s sleep after the first 50 kilometres and a lot of special moments.

This day earned clearly an offical cycgo rate of 9 out of 10 golf balls with little bicycles on them.