What heights we can reach! Scott slotted my road cycle into his van and we sped an hour’s drive to Sanquhar for a 40 miles loop, taking in Scotland’s highest villages of Leadhills & Wanlockhead (466.6 m / 1,531 ft), highest road up Lowtherhill (725 m / 2379 ft), and down the wonderful Mennock Pass.
Prior to Saturday’s epic outing I knew nothing of these Scottish heights and that they were within easy striking distance from Irvine. Wanlockhead sounded more like where Ian Dury’s band hailed from and surely the highest road to cycle was in Scotland’s highlands not its lowlands!? I’d heard of Leadhills due to singing ‘The River Clyde’ song, “I’ll sing of a river I’m happy beside, The song that I sing is a song of the Clyde. Of all Scottish rivers, it’s dearest to me, It flows from Leadhills all the way to the sea…” But prior to this probing pedal I hadn’t realised that the source of the gallus River Clyde was where South Lanarkshire meets Dumfries & Galloway.
This is the beauty of having a friend in ‘The Know’, who had already cycled this glorious cycle route. Scott did give me the soft option of missing the Lowther Hill scale to head straight down the Mennock Pass to Sanquhar, but how could I resist such a feather for my helmet. It was sweaty, exhausting and we were gubbed by the ‘golf-ball’ radar station top, but oh ‘The Views!’ and the thrill of hurtling back down to the main road! Breath-taking!
It’s great to have friends in ‘The Know’ to take you places you’ve never been before, and no better friend than Jesus. Remember how Jesus took Peter, James & John up a mountain for a view they’d never forget. Jesus was transfigured and lit up alongside Moses & Elijah as God’s Voice was heard to declare delight in His Son Jesus. All to encourage Jesus in his journey towards crucifixion at Jerusalem and include Jesus’ friends in the memorable experience. Next, they followed Jesus down the mountain into a family problem where His special help was required. Following Jesus is a bit of a ‘roller coaster’ at times, but be sure it is worth it for the high views, help for the difficult arduous episodes and sustaining strength for the run-of-the-mill down-to-earth daily routines of life. There’s no ordinary day with Jesus!
Zooming down the Mennock Pass, as we passed people picnicking and panning for silver & gold, a stray sheep started to cross in front of Scott. As Scott’s life passed before him, thinking it was ‘mint sauce’ for them both, miraculously the sheep managed to jump back and bounced off Scott’s side rather than take him out. Mercy me, I thanked The Lord for sparing both sheep & Scott from what could have been ‘curtains & carnage’ for them both. As you pummel the heights, plumb the depths, and plod the long straights of life, I echo St Paul’s prayer for you to experience and explore the amazing dimensions of God’s Love: “My response is to get down on my knees before the Father, this magnificent Father who parcels out all heaven and earth. I ask him to strengthen you by his Spirit—not a brute strength but a glorious inner strength—that Christ will live in you as you open the door and invite him in. And I ask him that with both feet planted firmly on love, you’ll be able to take in with all followers of Jesus the extravagant dimensions of Christ’s love. Reach out and experience the breadth! Test its length! Plumb the depths! Rise to the heights! Live full lives, full in the fullness of God.” (Ephesians 3:14-19 / MSG)