I spent nine days earlier this month touring in lowland Scotland. I was camping, so was pretty fully loaded with just over 50lbs on the bike at its heaviest, including food and water.
I live about 70 miles south of the England/Scotland border, so the first day involved just riding away from my front door and heading north through Northumberland - England's emptiest county. There are no major climbs, but the terrain is undulating enough for me to have climbed between 4000 and 5000 feet in the 83 miles I covered, and the climb to the Scottish border at Carter Bar, while not especially steep, is long enough when heavily laden. Here's the first sight of Scotland, looking North from the border. Not the sunniest of days, but it gives a fair idea of the terrain.
The Scottish border country is great for cycling, rolling countryside with plenty of quiet roads through farmland and a scattering of small towns and villages. It has plenty of history, too, having been fought over by the Scots and English throughout the later middle ages. Even when the English weren't around, the Scottish Kings were usually engaged in a largely vain attempt to bring the fiercely independent local lairds to heel, so things were pretty lively. Pretty rich, too, with a string of prosperous monastic foundations like Melrose Abbey - founded about 1150, repeatedly burned by the English, finally finished off by Henry VIII but still looking pretty good:
Here's another angle:
I spent my first night in Melrose, which is a charming little town of, I guess, about 2000 people. I can recommend the Burt Hotel for dinner - it's the first white building on the left.
On days two to eight I did a loop of about 500 miles through Edinburgh, Fife and Perthshire - the furthest North I went was Pitlochry
before turning for home. A great time - as usual when touring in Scotland - but I won't bore you with the details beyond a few more photos that give a general flavour of the territory.
The Tay road bridge (great to cycle across) looking North towards Dundee:
A fairly typical view, this one taken just before starting a pretty fast descent into Perth.
The river Tay again, this time flowing through Perth - which is another charming town, as you can see.
Incidentally, at various points on this route I was either on or intersecting with route 1 of the national cycling network.
This is a well-signposted cycle route, mainly on quiet roads, that stretches all the way from Dover in the South-East corner of England to the very tip of Northern Scotland at John O'Groats - and on to the Shetland islands, if you want to board a ferry. There are an increasing number of these national routes, many of them go through extremely beautiful country. Anyone thinking of touring in the UK should check them out via the linked website.