Today was much cooler, very pleasant for cycling but grey with only brief sunny interludes. The cycling was easy, initially through farmland following part of the Reivers route using an old map from when we rode the full route 15 years ago. We were misled when we encountered a new road the Sustrans sign showed the way for NCN7 but not NCN10 which we were following so we took what seemed to be the most likely road, a lane which turned out to be used by heavy lorries, at the end of which we joined the correct path.
We passed some lovely roadside sandstone cottages, it’s a pity they were disfugured by stark white replacement upvc windows. Verges were populated by buttercups and orchids, bringing some colour to the grey day. The route became progressively hillier with some vicious bends on steep gradients. We were ready for a break but found nowhere to sit until we reached Bewcastle which comprised a church, a castle ruin and a house but there was a bench in the churchyard where we sat with our lunch picnic opposite the Bewcastle cross.
There were no facilities between Carlisle and our destination. We checked into the Grapes Hotel and learned that the small town was preparing for the weekend’s annual music festival. Musicians were arriving to warm up in the bar before the next day kicked off the festival, we listened for a while then went for a walk after dinner in the hotel bar. More musicians were erecting tents in the temporary campsite by the river. We had an attic room for the three of us and were undisturbed by sound.