Distance: 33,7 km (20,9 mi) for a total of 1436,9 km (892,8 mi)
Ascent (ca.): 1185 m (3890 ft)
Weather: Cloudy with sunny spells and drizzly showers in alternation, wind fresh and strong in guts
Eager to do the first proper walking day in Scotland I left the youth hostel early. Today was characterised by this sign:
And it was a delightful day for a number of reasons having to do with St Cuthbert’s Way. It was a clear, discernible, DRY path, a welcome change from the last days on the Pennine Way. The signage was extraordinary, I was never unsure about the direction and if no junctions required a waymark for a longer time there was a reassurance post. Gates, stiles, footbridges – all of them looked and felt well-maintained. Obviously the Scottish Borders County Council or whoever is responsible for this has an interest in happy walkers. I would only suggest to walk it from Melrose to Lindisfarne to have the wind in your back.
The map had told me that the worst – ascentwise – was going to be found shortly after Yetholm by crossing a number of hills in direct line. Battling up against strong winds was a slow endeavour although the views were good. So I was happy when I reached lower ground and the road to Morebattle which names itself “Border village of the lost loch”. It seems that Loch Linton once stretched along Kale Valley for five miles. An information panel also pointed out some other interesting facts about the village. As I knew that I already had covered about a third of today’s distance and the lion’s share of the ascent I decided I could pop into the tearoom of the hotel for a second breakfast.
Out of Morebattle it was a less nice part of the path running on roads for quite some time. But finally this changed to a track and then to footpaths, partly along the edges of fields, partly taking in every narrow strip of woodland available which made for pleasant changes in underfoot conditions.
The ruins of Cessford Castle rose threateningly making a nice scenery under the dark clouds.
The way meandered further on towards the river Teviot which I crossed on this gently swinging bridge.
St Cuthbert’s Way finally joined with a couple of other ways, one being Dere Street, the old Roman road. This brought me to my campsite and ended the day. Overall, a good start into Scotland.