The Dalmellington bikeride




July 2011
105 km






After a handful or so bikerides south-west from me into Ayrshire, I were a bit lost for new bikerides ideas. I had a look at the map again and found a good route out of Ayr. That meant a 45 minutes train journey down to Ayr. A rather expensive one, normally. But I found out from Scotrail's homepage that they were doing single tickets for six and a half pounds. That solved that problem. I found a good route, this one, and took printouts from Google Maps again.


My alarm clock went off at 0430 and I had a short breakfast before making my way down to Paisley for the 0611 train to Ayr. The train was a lot delayed due to signalling problems (which all railway companies never seems to get sorted out). But I arrived there at 0700 and started cycling up the 22 km long Dalmellington Road, also named A713. The road to the Ailsa hospital was reasonable flat. But just after the hospital, the road went into a vertical climb. This hill was unexpected steep.


Looking back towards Ayr and the mountains at Arran from the top of this hill



Watching towards south and in the direction of Stranraer from this road. Possible new bikerides...

The road became a bit flat after that before a couple of new steep, winding hills took me up the Doon Valley proper. The landscape changed from lush to barren with a very typical ex coal mining landscape. I passed several small ex coal mining villages like Polnessan, Patna and Waterside. Very interesting area and not the normal landscape I am used to. The road was pretty flat too and pretty good. I really took it in and felt that the bikeride already was a resounding success.


Watching Dalmellington coming into view. The road to Cumnock up the valley to the left

I arrived in Dalmellington and took a small break after this very brisk bikeride up from Ayr. It was a fun bikeride which I would love to do again. I was heading up over the mountain to New Cumnock though and had to keep going. And the next miles included a lot of walking. The hill was very steep up the valley. A very nice valley it was, but the road was steep and the walk pretty hard. There was no way I could cycle up this road with 75 hard kilometers yet to come on this bikeride.


Looking down the road up the valley. Sorry about the picture quality due to a shaking hand. That's what bikeriding does to you.

The road went past an open cast coalmine and then topped out in a forest. Well, that's what I thought. A vertical drop to a river followed before the road climbed vertically up to a new and more exposed hilltop at around 335 meters above sea level. I got a good view towards the Cumnock area before I rolled down the road from the hill towards the valley floor below.


Looking back up the road from where I came




Looking towards the Cumnock area

The run down to New Cumnock were surprisingly flat due to New Cumnock being situated pretty high above sea level. After an uneventful ride, I finally arrived at New Cumnock . I rode straight through and up the hill towards Cumnock. I now followed the busy A76 towards Cumnock. First up a pretty steep hill to the watershed between south (Dumfries) and north (Kilmarnock/Irvine). I passed over this hill and the road started to fall towards a roundabout. The views down the valley were very good, but the traffic was also busy and too busy for me to enjoy these views. I arrived at this roundabout and took of in the direction of Cumnock where I arrived in good shape. I cycled through this very scenic village and went for Auchinleck.


Looking back at Cumnock

The road was a bit up and down with some rather steep hills towards Auchinleck. I arrived there and soon found the road over the hills to Sorn . The road was undulating, but not with any big climbs. I arrived in this small village only to find that the road crossing the stream here was closed. But I managed to get over it anyway. Sorn is an award winning village, they claim. I was more intested in the steep climb out of the village in the direction of Mauchline. I was here first time last year on the disasterous ride to Kilmarnock (see the Strathaven tour). Thankfully, I left the village with better memories this time. A lovely place.
I climbed up the steep hill from Sorn to the crossroad over to Galston. The hillroad over to Galston started with a steep hillclimb and continued as a very undulating bikeride. It went up and down. I was very pleased when I arrived at the hill overlooking Galston.


Looking towards Galston and the hills over to Glasgow

The descent down to Galston was a bit hairy, but I arrived safely in this small town and had a small lunch consisting of a couple of sandwiches. The skies were threatening and I was prepared for a serious downpoor. I therefore continued the ride. It started with the serious hillclimb up towards Moscow. The skies became more threatening towards my intended route over Stewarton and Dunlop. It seemed there was some serious rainshowers there while I climbed through Moscow towards the crossroad at Waterside. There was also a few raindrops already hitting me. But there was a lot of white skies over Glasgow. I decided to take the more direct road towards Glasgow and by then; bypassing the rain. I was not too keen on this though. But the rainshowers over my intended route forced my hand. At Waterside, I went straight on and towards the twinroads M77 and A77.


Looking towards the hills between me and Glasgow

I crossed over M77 and arrived at the less traffic ridden A77 which was also blessed with an excellent cycle path. I was dreading this road after having coming down some part of it on the Eaglesham Moor bikeride 14 days ago. But after the first 2 km of this road, which was pretty steep, the road entered a small moor and became pretty flat through a small canyon. To the right was Eaglesham Moor and to the left was the Windy-Yett hills. The cycle path was excellent alongside this A77 which hardly had any traffic. The ride too was excellent and all my fears was unfounded. The weather was also improving where I was heading.


Looking towards Glasgow from this road

The road through this canyon ended with the descent down to Newton Mearns, a village just outside Glasgow. I went through this village and took the small road over to Balgray Reservoir and Barrhead. I arrived down at the main Hurlet Road which I followed towards Paisley for the next 2 km before I arrived home again after a nice 100 km bikeride.




Conclusion



This is a very nice bikeride from Ayr and up to Glasgow again. The road to Dalmellington goes through a very interesting ex coal mining scarred landscape which is in contrast with the rest of this bikeride which follows a much more lush landscape. This is a bikeride I warmly recommend.