A week in Dumfries

At the start of October I took a week’s holiday up north in Dumfries in the run up to the Dumfries Mapping Party. It was a great week of mostly cycling, sightseeing and ended with a mapping party, held in the local leisure centre, DG One, which has some council meeting rooms.

Heading out I was waiting on the Royal Mail delivering some OpenStreetMap reflective vests, which were supposed to have been delivered a few days earlier, though unreliable mail delivery is one downside of strike action. It meant that I had to delay my departure from home, thankfully I had bought the flexible train tickets from London to Dumfries, rather than the advance fares where you can’t change the train your travelling on and were only a couple of pounds cheaper when I was purchasing my tickets.

The original trains that I had planned to get had a short, reasonable delay between them, however the train I ended up getting from London meant that there was over an hour wait in Carlisle. I couldn’t be bothered waiting, so I decided to set off towards Dumfries following the National Cycle Network Route 7, which at the time was only mapped to the edge of Carlisle. When I crossed the border, I checked the train times from Gretna Green on my phone and realised that the train that I would have got from Carlisle was due in about the time it would take me to get to the station. Sure enough I had a minute or two to wait on the platform before the train (with space for six bike at one end of the train, yeah ScotRail do know how to transport bikes unlike some other train companies I can think of) appeared. Later on in the week I completed the rest of the NCN7 from South of Dumfries to Gretna Green which hadn’t already been added to OpenStreetMap.

Cycle track from my week in Dumfries
Cycle track from my week in Dumfries

I’ve had a little play with the Party Render scripts to produce the lovely image on the left. I customised the place names that were shown a bit to make it clearer.

On the Wednesday meeting up with the local OSM contact (who goes by the name disgruntled, or known in the real world as Sally) for the first time at the Wednesday Wheelers meetup. It was quite interesting to see and hear the older generation happily cycling 10-30 miles for their regular weekly meetup. I felt quite at home considering my normal commute (well at the time) was 8-10 miles in each direction, and most people I speak to are surprised at the distance I cycle each day.

Then on the Thursday I took a rather long ride over the hills of Ae and added the lcn 10 from Dumfries to Moffat. Sally had already mapped the first section of the route, which was a really nice cycle track, which had been converted from an old railway line. It was fairly flat until I got to Ae, where there is the Forest of Ae mountain bike trails, with some really steep hills that I wasn’t expecting. Thankfully just before the climb, and in time for a late lunch there was a nice little cafe, with a bike shop in the same building. Heading over the hills there were some really pretty views. It was also nice being in the middle of nowhere and only being able to hear some birdsong, and the light breeze in the trees. Once I hit the downhill, I found it pretty scary, as I wasn’t used to going down such a long hill with that style of track and occasional cattle grids.

P1030991 P1030999 P1040021 P1040041 P1040057 P1040059

On my return I took an earlier, but late running, train to Carlisle and cycled round Carlisle to get a bunch of it mapped.

I was really impressed with the way that Sally had managed to write and get published an article in the local paper. She’s also been a great local contact and mapper. Dumfries council organised the nice venue, with the event being part of the Smarter Choices, Smarter Places programme in Scotland.

I’ve been uploading the photos I’ve taken to Flickr in various sets. Then importing them into CycleStreets, so that they will appear in the route listings when you plan a route in the Dumfires area.

One comment

  1. Shawn:
    I have not been to your blog for a while and I’m quite facinated that the U.K. also has Cattle Grids (we call them Cattle Guards.) These can be quite tricky and unfortunately have been the causetive agent for more than one bicyclist crashing and ending up in hospital with severe hip and leg injuries. Thankfully you rode well and did not get caught up in them. Keep up your work on the OpenMapping project. I have moved onto Wine and am working on completing code submitted by another for a Windows 32 API function. Enjoy the weather. It has been as cold as -2 C here this Winter making cycling a challenge as it warms up to close to 20C during the day.

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