The Road goes ever on and on; Down from the door where it began;
Now far ahead the Road has gone; And I must follow, if I can;
Pursuing it with eager feet; Until it joins some larger way;
Where many paths and errands met; And whither then? I cannot say.

[JRR Tolkien, Lord of the Rings]

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Day 55 - Refuge Hut to Morebattle

8 June
Distance: about 13 miles
Number of stoats seen: 1

What a fantastic place it was to wake up this morning, outside of the refuge hut. At 6am the skies were clear and the haze that last night had obscured the most distant hills had gone.

My promise that, after yesterdays arduous day, there was only one significant hill today was an absolute lie. What I actually meant was that there was only one significant hill on the bit of the map that I'd looked at. I'd not looked at a lot of the map.

We were finally on the downhill stretch to Kirk Yetholm when we stopped for second breakfast. Having scant food left, we were down to a packet of raisins each when Mike made sure that he got his name into the Blog: he pulled out of his pack a box of Jaffa cakes. What an absolute star.

Suitably sustained with chocolate, sponge and orange we were soon down in Kirk Yetholm, taking the 'end of PW' photos outside of the Border Hotel.

A chap then leapt out of a car to shake us by the hand before we headed over to Kirk Yetholm to stock up a little and to while a way the best part of an hour on the green eating and drinking and eating some more.

We were then on the St Cuthbert's Way, except that to cut off a corner and to avoid some road walking I had plotted a more direct route down to Melrose which followed a path marked on the map.

Today the short cut did make for a long delay. That path/track was not evident on the ground and the woodland bore no resemblance to that shown on the map. It was a bit of a struggle, I got comprehensively stung, and Mick reports that I may have lost my sense of humour for a wee while.

The final obstacle of the day was a nettle bed through which our alleged path led. It may have looked strange to an onlooker, in the fine (now overcast) weather, to see three people donning waterproof trousers, but waterproof is also nettleproof.

Tonight we have a bed to sleep in at the Temple Hall Inn. I don't count the YHA last weekend as being a bed as it was sagging bunks that were even less comfortable than Thermarests, which means that this is the first bed we will have slept in for over two weeks.

Mike is also staying in Morebattle tonight. Tomorrow he has the task of working out how to get back to Byrness (he apparently doesn't have sufficient time off work to turn around and do the Cheviots again). As for us, we'll continue walking in a direction that is less than intuitive for a south-to-north walk. Today, after thirteen miles of walking, we have finished just three miles north of where we started, despite being at one point five miles north.

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