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

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Walking in the Borders...........

Once the gales had calmed down the weather improved during the week, reached a peak then deteriorated rapidly again to a huge storm on the Friday night. A new D of E group had arrived by then, and I watched them struggling to put up some big flappy tents.

Later, as the rain and wind became more persistent, I decided to make a last dash to the toilet block. Opening the door I was met by the sight of ALL of these D of E girls, rucksack contents tipped onto the floor, wet clothing hanging over every door, and so much damp air my glasses instantly steamed up.....not quite the experience they were supposed to be having!

Apparently, by the morning, two of their tents had collapsed and some of the girls had been taken home. That accounted for the cars which came and went in the middle of the night.....worried parents!  I wondered whether those girls would ever camp again.

Anyway.....the Walks............

1. Innerleithen Circular - This walk on the first day was not really the one I signed up to do. I met a group by accident at the St. Ronan's Wells visitor centre and was invited by the leader to join them for the afternoon. After the tea and cake we wandered on down to the river banks while the leader told us about the historical background to Innerleithen. The town had once had several large mills and warehouses. The proximity of the Tweed and Innerleithen Water being key to those industries.

{Buses were organised to/from walks - all part of the daily charge}

2. Tweedbank to Clovenfords by Torweedlee Broch - This walk was lead by a Ranger from the Scottish Borders Council Ranger Service. It took in the northern part of the Gala Circuit and we had some good views of the Eildon Hills. After exploring the site of the ruined Broch, we finished up sitting outside the Inn at Clovenfords waiting for our bus, a large glass of blackcurrant and soda with ice in my hand.....other drinks were available......

{Sir Walter Scott's statue outside the Inn at Clovenfords}

3. Stobo Circular - I chose a shorter walk for the day so that I could hop off the bus in Peebles and go to the John Buchan Centre. In the end I didn't do that as it was such a glorious day I walked the six miles back to Innerleithen from Peebles on a newly opened footpath alongside the river, mostly along the line of the old railway.

{Glorious views from the Peebles to Innerleithen path}

{Halfway to Innerleithen - the old railway station is put to good use}

The circular walk beside Stobo Castle was a pleasant wander partly on the John Buchan Way. Dropping down towards the Castle (now an 'exclusive' health club) we only had time to peer into the Japanese Gardens. At the start the local farmer had entertained us with a rather lengthy talk about his life and work which meant the pace of the walk was a little faster than was comfortable for some of the group. Trying to 'hurry' doesn't really work as the time taken waiting for the back of the group to catch up slows the whole thing down drastically. In my opinion it's better to keep a steady reasonable pace for everyone.....

{Lunch spot on the edge of the forest}

 4. Blackhopebyre to Innerleithen - This was a rough walk over wild ground above Innerleithen. We climbed Windlestraw Law and Glede Knowe. Our morning break was taken in the grouse butts and there were great views over the hills. Fortunately the ground was not too wet and we managed to skip lightly over the boggy stuff on the tops.

{View from my grouse butt.....}

{Reaching the trig point..............}

5.  Rhymer's Walk - This was probably my favourite walk of the week. First we visited (or rather didn't visit) the Eildon Tree Stone. This stone marks the spot where Thomas the Rhymer first met the Faery Queen. After this he acquired prophetic powers enabling him to make some significant predictions - I can't remember what they were! The group leader showed us the stone from about 50 m away........it was a shame we didn't just go and look at it!

The route then took us above Melrose, between the Eildon Hills over Bowden Moor to Cauldshiels Loch. The return to Melrose through Rhymer's Glen was stunning. This last part of the walk took us onto the land once owned by Sir Walter Scott as part of the Abottsford House estate.  Waiting for the bus in Melrose we found an ice-cream shop.............

{Looking over Melrose}

{Cauldshiels Loch}

{Follow the Leader - down to Rhymer's Wood}

{Spooky - but stunning! The path through Rhymer's Glen}

6. Abbotsford House - Friday dawned wet and misty. The previous evening after the Rhymer's walk I had decided that a visit to Abbotsford House was a good way to end the trip to this part of the Borders. I have long been a fan of Sir Walter Scott; my Kindle has a collection of his work which I dip into from time to time. The rain hammered down the whole time I was there. The visitor's centre was very informative, and I bought a couple of books in the shop. Tours of the house are taken with audio units, and very interesting it was too.

{Abbotsford House}

Because I was camping I didn't attend any of the evening events that were on offer - and I had to leave before the last day and missed the closing ceremony and parade through Innerleithen. However, I did enjoy the Festival. The walks were really well organised, and a reasonable cost (£6) which included bus transport as required. At the end of every day there were cakes and tea available for a donation. The organising team were friendly, helpful and cheerful......I'm going to look out for the Festival next year when it'll be based around Jedburgh.

{Memorable view from the tent}


Louise said...

You had a good time then, fab! Lovely piccies, the last one made me smile. Sluds or on a slope?!

Laura said...

Ah! Not sure what sluds are but I took the photo lying down....hence the strange angle!

Louise said...

Ah. Sluds is a Flowerism (like a Malapropism, but different...) and you wouldn't be sluds 'cos you don't drink! I was indeed being cheeky :-D x