Travellers’ tales: Cycling solo in Scotland

A woman is standing next to her packed touring bike in a park. She is wearing patterned leggings and a hi-vis yellow jacket.
Cycling UK member Rebecca Mitten at Galloway Forest Park
Novice cycle tourer Rebecca Mitten enjoyed her longest trip yet in October when she cycled 260 miles in Dumfries and Galloway

As a single woman in my early 50s, with my children young adults who are doing their own thing, my holiday options are different now. I love walking, cycling and seeing different places but friends aren’t always free to join me.

So I thought I’d give cycle touring on my own a go. I started with a one-night trip over the Humber Bridge. It was fantastic!

My latest ride in October 2023 was my longest yet at 260 miles, mostly in Dumfries and Galloway. The longest day was 43 miles, the shortest 24. I rode from Carlisle to Stranraer on NCNs 7 and 73, taking in the Mull of Galloway Lighthouse, plus the Forth Bridge on the journey home.

A packed touring bike with two big panniers is propped on its kick stand on a track facing a white lighthouse and building
Rebecca’s bike at Mull of Galloway Lighthouse

What was lovely about it? I was lucky with the weather – some rainy patches but overall bright skies. B&B owners were cheery and helpful. I had the best chips I’ve eaten in years at a small hotel in Sandhead, and in the morning the best porridge ever while a cat sat purring on my knee.

In Castle Douglas I enjoyed the best Greek meal I’ve had. The cafés were spick and span. Torhouse Stone Circle and Caerlaverock Castle were worth seeing. The Mull of Galloway Lighthouse was glorious.

Roads and paths were mostly smooth and peaceful. The only not-so-lovely element was the hassle of getting my bike on trains.

I’d be interested to hear what other female tourers do when nature calls and there are no toilets around. I feel pretty exposed with my shorts round my knees. Anyway, it was a glorious trip and I’m looking forward to my next one.

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