Day 54: Ancrum – Yair

Monday, 12/06/2017
Distance: 35,9 km (22,3 mi) for a total of 1472,8 km (915,1 mi)

Ascent (ca.): 930 m (3050 ft)

Weather: Cloudy with sunny spells and random drizzle, fresh wind

As I knew that today wouldn’t be the shortest walking day I had prepared for an early start. After the rest on Saturday my muscles had thought yesterday that we had finished our trip and were complaining bitterly about the new demand to proceed. I reckoned that this would still be the case today and that it would take me longer than the way seems to require to reach my intended spot for the night.

Yesterday I had asked at the campsite for the best way to pick up St Cuthbert’s Way again. I got a good description which was on spot, only that the announced two fields I’d have to cross for that would have resulted in heavy nettle-bashing on their edge. Knowing that the A road I really wanted to avoid and St Cuthbert’s Way were not running parallel but towards each other I reluctantly chose the road. In fact, I’d had worse road walks during this trip. And it offered a view I otherwise would have missed.

When I finally had regained St Cuthbert’s Way it didn’t take long and I passed the hamlet of Maxton and then got the first view of the river Tweed which I would follow for some time now.

After what seemed an endless golf course on the banks of the Tweed I made my way into St Boswells and then to Newton St Boswells. From here St Cuthbert’s Way takes a lengthy south-west detour with the only purpose to somehow include the Eildon Hills. Instead I took the cycle route which led me past the supposed place of the Eildon Tree where Thomas the Rhymer has met the Queen of the Fairies.

In Melrose I was really lucky. I passed a barber and asked how long I would have to wait for a shave. The time fitted perfectly to have a light lunch. As it was still quite early and I’m not in a hurry I decided to pay a visit to the abbey. Being managed by Historic Scotland and thanks to my membership I hadn’t had to pay the entrance fee, so even a short visit would be nice. And although it requires some imagination to picture the church from the remains it was impressive.

Studying one of the information panels I noticed from the corner of my eye two people who looked like James and Mina. And indeed, the two had to take a few days off in Melrose because James developed some problems with the leg. As our routes up to Fort William are similar there’s now a good chance that we will meet again.

I then picked up the Southern Upland Way, made my uneventful and not overly beautiful way into Galashiels where I took a short detour to find a cafe. I crossed Yair Bridge and have now pitched not far from the way for an early start tomorrow.

Oh, and I saw a perfect rainbow today.

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