Day 102: Avebury to Glastonbury

‘We’re all being treated like sheep’ – future self to younger self; or, a conversation with an eccentric enemy of English Heritage, Stonehenge.

I awake at around eight, weary and cheated of restful sleep. The previous night’s intoxicated visions have left me with a headache, though reaffirm my scepticism about the divine origins of prophecy that so many mind-fugged messiahs have purportedly possessed.

Sheltered by a huge sarsen stone, I ensure that no damage or sign of my stay remains, and push my cycle out into the misty morning. In the village’s local shop I’m told a little more about the area, which the friendly shop-owner tells me should be called ‘Kennett’. My fuel for the next sixty miles is water and granola. Fortunately I have enough of it, and chew my gruel by the public loos. Inside is some graffiti that sums the mood: ‘the stones make me hungry & tired. 2012 AD’.

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Day 69: Dalmellington to Gretna

‘Most people will just look at the headlines of the Mail or the Sun, but not at the detail.’
‘Or where it comes from, and who is saying it.’
‘Ideas and opinions will get raised in conversations in pubs, not through the TV or reading. ‘How do you reach that, how do you influence it?
Smiles in exasperation. ‘I don’t know!’
– Baz, talking to me outside Tesco Extra, Dumfries.

I awake in a room at the Eglinton Hotel, given freely by Ray, its landlady, the previous night. Dalmellington has charmed me, and I’ve spent one of most pleasant evenings of this trip here, surrounded by warm and friendly company and glad to be out of the rain. Fatigue is kicked me over though. I’d stayed up late writing again, and end up sleeping well over my alarm. It’s time to check out, and I have to hurry out of the hotel. I pedal out, and manage to find a quiet cul-de-sac on the edge of the village where I catch my breath and watch the slow progress of the traffic out of the village. A man watches it too from a window, and we share for a moment in the most absurd of spectator sports.

The countryside leaving Dalmellington has been farmed with cattle, as has much of Ayrshire, and it gently slopes here and there with a pleasant though familiar aspect: green, farmed fields give way at their peaks to the beginnings of gentle mountains, marked with bursts of trees and shrubs. Further along, the road drills through a valley, small mountains sloping into the distance. It’s a relatively quiet road and there’s no threat of rain today. I pedal along gently, slowly building up a pace.

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