The Strathaven ride




April 2010
70 km







Background

I love to explore my local area and areas beyond. I am not particular familiar with the area south of Glasgow and I decided to explore this area a bit more. The Hamilton to Paisley ride over Strathaven and Kilmarnock is an enticing project and one I wanted to do for a long time. I had also bought some new shoes I wanted to test out. So the time was coem to take the train from Paisley to Hamilton one April morning.


After one hour train ride, including a stopover in Glasgow, I disembarked in Hamilton. I am pretty aware of the geography and that the hill from Clyde valley is pretty steep towards the south. But what met me was a many miles long, boring hillclimb directly from the trainstation and up to the moor overlooking both the Clyde valley deep below and the plateau taking me over to Kilmarnock. I was not best pleased although I had expected this. A short moor and the road descended down to Strathaven again. I had high hopes about this village, but the first symptoms of bad shoes and some serious discomfort was starting to slow me down. The shoes was one size too small for me.

But I still cracked on through the village and in the direction of the moor on the other side of the wide valley Strathaven lays in. The B743 I followed were pretty interesting with some small undulations before it started to rise on the other side of the valley.


Looking back towards Strathaven on my way to the moor over to Muirkirk

The small climb took the road through a forest and then up to the moor. A small descent followed before the final climb to the final moor over to Muirkirk.


On my way to the moor over to Muirkirk

The short vertical descent down to Muirkirk was pretty hairy with some really bad road. I was soon down in this small village. A village best forgotten, really. I stopped at a hamburger van outside Muirkirk where I tried to solve the troublesome shoes. That to no avail. I cracked on again. First on the A70 mainroad and I then rejoined B743 past Sorn and alongside a river and some farmfields. My shoes was now on a critical point and both my feet were very sore. The road was undulating with a vertical descent down to Sorn and ditto climb up again from this small village. The final sting in the tale was the rather nasty climb up a hillside to Mauchline where I joined the very busy A76. It was now a matter of reaching the train at Kilmarnock for a train ride home instead of continuing to Paisley again. I could see Kilmarnock from Mauchline. It was close. Halfway down to Kilmarnock and three miles away from the train station, my back wheel exploded and made a mess of the wheel. That was the final straw. I had to push the bike to the train on some very sore feet.
Just to make the situation even worse, the train was full to the rafters by beer drinking kids eager to have a very raucious nigth in Glasgow. There was no seat for me and I spent the half an hour standing upright on some very sore feet. I was not happy ! I finally found a seat on the train to Paisley. The final two miles from the train station in Paisley to my home was not enjoyable at all. Neither was I happy when getting rid of the shoes and the blood soaked socks.

Conclusion



Based on the pain I had to endure on this trip, it is a bit difficult to make up my mind about this tour. Hence, I have given it one year rest before publishing this tour. But the fact is that this tour is pretty dull, to say at least. The climb from Hamilton is dull. The road over to Muirkirk is like taking sleeping tablets and the road to Mauchline is best forgotten too. In short, don't bother with this tour. I seriously doubts I will ever do this tour again. In short; forget it.