Day 55: Yair – Peebles

Tuesday, 13/06/2017
Distance: 31,9 km (19,8 mi) for a total of 1504,7 km (934,9 mi)

Ascent (ca.): 690 m (2265 ft)

Weather: Cloudy with sunny spells in the morning, more sun in the afternoon and getting muggy

Today was an even earlier start than usual, but somehow I still don’t feel comfortable with wild camps. The walk started with a long, continuous ascent which caused some renewed complaints from my muscles which I decided to ignore. On the way up some of the views reminded me of the musical Brigadoon, I almost expected the village to materialise in the sunlight. By the way: the literary original on which the musical is based is the story “Germelshausen” by Friedrich Gerstäcker.

Like this the Three Brethren weren’t reached exceptionally quick but steady.

As soon as this height was gained the Southern Upland Way contoured quite nicely with only minor ups and downs. At Cheese Well I admit I was tempted to just grab the offerings to the faeries of the hills as I don’t consider myself superstitious, but it really felt wrong somehow and I’m sure there are a lot of people in the Celtic regions who could explain why.

Minchmoor Road which the SUW follows is obviously an old east-west road used already in medieval times. These routes often provide good walking as the people in former times weren’t idiots and knew how to best get from A to B in hilly or mountainous terrain.

I’m not sure if the SUW really needs additional “attractions” like modern art. But I passed this sculpture which is expected to change like the heather over the years. And the information panel also explained that the circles in the background aren’t circles but ovals which became visible while going down.

When I reached Traquair I had a decision to make. I’ve already contemplated different options on the way down but they would partly depend on numbers. One option was to use the Cross Borders Drove Road to Peebles, but I didn’t fancy that although it was my original route plan.

The second option was to take a shorter route to Peebles and pass through the town taking a good bite from tomorrow’s walk already today. But I had decided that I would only do that if this would bring me up to the canals a day earlier. The remaining distance was too large for that, it would have required two days with more than 40 km each.

The third option would also use the shorter way to call it a day already about lunchtime. With already five hours of walking that would have been ok. But careful map-studying revealed another possibility: going to Innerleithen, looking for a cafe for second breakfast and use the track of a dismantled railway along the Tweed to Peebles. This is what I finally did (the advantage of walking alone: you don’t have to discuss plan changes) and it proved a good decision.

The old railway track provides a nearly traffic-free connection of 5 miles or 8 km between the two towns. The main problem became the weather. Not only was it getting more sunny, but muggy – not my preferred weather condition. But I finally made it into town and ran some errands before setting up the tent at the campsite. 

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