.............not all those that wander are lost..............

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Base camping in the Scottish Borders.......

Languishing with the grandchildren in France I realised I was missing my regular two or three walks each week and gradually becoming rather lethargic as a consequence. I searched on the magic web for a remedy once we had waved goodbye to the Shanghai contingent and it had all gone very quiet.

Without too much effort I found that the Scottish Borders Walking Festival was due to run from 1st to 7th September. There were four or more walks every day and it was being hosted jointly by Innerleithen, Walkerburn and Clovenfords for 2013. More investigation followed and I discovered there was a campsite in Innerleithen - so a plan was beginning to form..........

When first I was old enough for my bus pass I had had a vague plan to use it for a Grand Tour all round Scotland so it appeared fairly painless to use the pass and travel to Innerleithen. I could catch the service bus to Aberdeen, Citylink to Edinburgh then another service bus to Innerleithen - it would cost me the booking fee for Citylink - 50 p.

I had resealed some small tears in the fly sheet of my MSR Hubba backpacking tent so I was looking forward to testing it out. Thinking about base-camping in a very small tent I decided I would have to take a few extra 'luxuries' to make day-to-day living more comfortable. I splashed out on a new 60 litre duffle bag to hold my camping stuff, clothes and a restricted amount of clothing - made by Osprey, it has rucksack straps to carry it though I had to take a day sack as well for the daily walks.

The 'extras' I decided on were my Kindle loaded with a good choice of books, one of those camping mat seat contraptions and an extra 99p plastic groundsheet to put at the entrance of the tent.

The camp site was booked (£9 per night) and the walks chosen at £6 per day.

{Helpful signs in the village}

{Sunday's Registration centre was easy to find}

The travel plan went well and I arrived in good order, struggled a bit walking with the bags down to the camp site but had no problem later finding the place to register for the next morning.

The camp site was quite full when I arrived - a couple of D of E groups, weekend caravanners and the camping field was chock-a-block with a group of motor bikers. I found a fairly sheltered alternative pitch next to a caravan and behind a hedge. More by luck and laziness than judgement, I stayed there for the week and managed to avoid the flooding at the end of the week!

{My pitched tent - after a heavy shower}

{First morning - still wet and windy too!}

An extremely windy first night meant I didn't sleep at all so after registering at the Walk centre I withdrew from the first day's walking, had a quiet morning dozing in the tent and then investigated the town instead.

{St Ronan's Well}

In the afternoon, after a sandwich and coffee in the local cafe, I wandered up to St Ronan's Well. This is an historic spa, popularised by Sir Walter Scott, and well-known as a health resort during the nineteenth century. From here the first bottled mineral spring water 'St Ronan's' was given Royal approval in 1900.  The museum was open and I was welcomed with a cup of tea and a piece of cake and joined the members of one of the shorter walks for the remainder of the afternoon.

Back with the group at the Registration centre - there was more tea and plenty of cake! So the day which had started badly in the morning turned out to be quite a good introduction for the rest of the week.............

{Just a sample..........}


Alan R said...

That photo is not doing my diet any good at all.
Good to see you are out and about.

Louise said...

Up and...walking, yey!!