By train to Carlisle and on to Cummertrees

The derailed timber train
The derailed timber train

We were awake half the night listening nervously to the wind and rain, luckily the downpour ceased before the time came to cycle to Bangor station and the wind was behind us. We unloaded our bikes at Crewe where we learned that a timber train had derailed in Scotland, disrupting services. This was another lucky escape, as the Edinburgh service we were booked on was to terminate at Carlisle, but the railway still had some unpleasantness in store for us. Our train turned up half an hour late, and there were no seat reservation tickets in coaches B and C so we had to scour the remainder of the train for the few odd seats remaining. Still we hadn’t left Crewe, then the PA speakers declared that our locomotive was defective. A replacement was enlisted from the depot and we eventually were on our way at 13:05, 67 minutes behind schedule. One passenger was worried as he’d only allowed an hour and a half in Edinburgh before returning!

We reached Carlisle at 15:30, where an Inverness bound CTC party from our train transferred their bikes to a waiting coach, the delay meaning they’d have to break their journey in Edinburgh. The usual faffing about trying to find the route out of the city ensued before we hit quiet Cumbrian lanes shooting for the border, the weather bright and sunny with a strong crosswind. The punishment for missing a turning was a long loop round into Gretna, but this just happened to take us over a bridge beneath which the infamous derailed timber train rested. A portable incident centre and fast food outlet were already in place, with crowds of police, workers and vehicles but not much activity, presumably awaiting specialist heavy plant. A railway worker made a token gesture of moving a log!

Gretna is spoilt by the motorway thundering through so we pressed on through Annan where sullen youths practiced the small town custom of driving aimlessly around to the sound of their booming speakers. By now we were grinding out each mile against a strong headwind until we reached the sanctuary of our B&B.

Day 2 – Cummertrees – Gatehouse of Fleet (51 miles)