[ blog » 2019 » UK_tour ] d11, England pt. 1: Moffat to Alston (by Philipp Gesang, location: alston, Haggs Bank campsite )

Into England

Breakfast at the Black Bull was excellent. The "traditional" option comprised various sausages and fried meat delicatessen including haggis. The plate must have contained more protein than an average supper. More or less as though I was asked to specify the breakfast of my dreams.

Two pots of coffee later I was on the road again. The Scotland part of today went smooth as butter. The bike path following the A74 was mostly downhill until I reached near sea level north of Carlisle. I crossed the border at a place called Gretna. Quite unspectacular really.

Hadrian's Wall

Now for the actually spectacular border, that of the Roman Empire of the second century. The foundations of some wall segments and turrets are visible and documented with explanatory signs. Their preservation state us comparable to that of the Limes Germanicus back at home.

Now for the rod that follows the Wall for several kilometers it contains steep climbs and descents. Almost as though the real business of today started after kilometer 85.

North Pennines

The route became even more challenging on the Pennine cycle way. This one added gravel, mud, and grass segments to the mix. Part of it is a decommissioned railway track overgrown with grass and inhabited by grazing sheep. The climbs too aren't for the faint hearted. The Garmin frequently showed gradients of 18 % and more. It doesn't come as a surprise that these final 20 km took ages to complete and I made it to the campsite rather late. Another day with tons of elevation gained. The countryside was well worth the effort though.

After yet another murderous climb, this time through the city of Alston, I finally arrived at the day's designated campsite, Haggs Bank. Situated on a steep slope at 430 m of altitude the site offers an amazing view over the river Nent. Inexplicably there wasn't a single other guest that day. Great site though. Basic but new and clean facilities. Hot water in the shower that isn't rationed or flowing in a meagre stream. Plus that picturesque view! Warmly recommended.


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