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]

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Day 36 - Peebles to Cauldstane Slap

Tuesday 27 April
Distance: 18 miles (Tot: 610.25 miles)

An excellent three-course meal was served to us last night (thank you Ian!), which was a treat indeed after having had a proper lunch too. So, this morning we were full of energy as we prepared to set out.

Irrespective of the energy levels, it struck me as we packed away that there was little merit in leaving the campsite via the road, retracing our steps back towards town, veering off through a housing estate, and then taking a lane, all to get two fields away from where we were camped. That there was a river between us and those fields might have put us off, except that last night we witnessed two girls crossing the telegraph pole lying across it, and so the option of the road-avoiding direct route seemed like a goer.

The navigation of the telegraph pole started off with some wobbles for me, but we both made it across without incident - only to find a few yards later, over a hump of ground, that there was another water obstacle. We certainly weren't going back over the pole, so over this obstacle we also had to go. A very muddy left shoe and a mildly damp foot ensued.

Considering that our start and end points for today matched those of the same leg of our LEJOG walk, we didn't walk entirely the same route, and all of the variations made proved to be improvements.

Just a mile and a bit in, we decided on the spur of the moment to drop down from Hamilton Hill to the north (which also transpired to be the waymarked route). Better than our previous route it was, albeit there was a bit of prickling by overgrown gorse.

With the joy of the liberal Scottish access laws, a further two sides of a triangle of road walking were omitted in favour of some more fields a bit further on.

The old drove road between Peebles and West Linton is a lovely walk, and so well waymarked that you would struggle to lose your way. It wasn't without obstacles today though. As we entered a large lump of forest, the path was littered with the tops of trees which had snapped clean off. They had obviously fallen recently, and by the position and the manner of snappage (rather than having simply fallen over) we surmised that it was snow rather than wind damage.

Happily, none of the tree debris was of a nature to cause one of those dreaded forest assault courses, so we passed by with just a bit of extra weaving around the path.

Per our previous route, we would have dropped down to the A701 and then taken the B road into West Linton (not a nice bit of walking), except that Ian had advised us of a much better off-road route. Longer it was, but also far and away nicer than the road march.

Despite instructions received, we were thrown by the 'Private - No Public Right of Way' signs at Romanno Farm, and it wasn't until we were past that I looked at the map and realised that was our intended path. Down we continued and before we met the A road found some nice waymarks that took us across a field and through a new housing development to get us to where we wanted to be.

We knew not the exact line of the path once we had crossed the main road, but that didn't matter as waymarks made the route (a reasonably wiggly route) perfectly followable and took us to rejoin the road, just before the pavement started, to take us into West Linton.

Finding the Toll Tea House to be apparently closed, we opted to go through the middle of the village, a route that took us through the restaurant and the bar of The Gordon Arms. We tarried a while in the bar, drinking an enormous pot of tea and two sizeable servings of cheesy chips (all for a more than reasonable price), before leaving through the opposite side of the building to where we had entered, and heading out to investigate an alternative to the road route we took up to Badinsgill last time around.

Once again, it proved to be a massive improvement over the 3-miles walk down a little lane, which more than made worthwhile the extra distance and undulations.

The stroll over Cauldstane Slap rounded off a very pleasant (and comparatively easy - all good path and tracks today) day nicely. If anyone reading this is contemplating a walk that involves going from Peebles to Cauldstane Slap, I would definitely recommend the route we took today (except, maybe for the morning river crossing bit!).

We're now camped only a very short distance to where we pitched 2 years ago. We couldn't use the same spot, as the wind is coming from the opposite direction, making the slope aspect wrong today. Having chosen a different spot (where the tussocks didn't seem too violent), we swivelled the direction of the tent twice during pitching, but still found that we're not on an ideal slope (a sideways slope, rather than heads-down; we do try to avoid heads-down), but that wind is rather brisk and so is dictating the tent direction too.

The wind may be up, but the very light rain that has fallen for a few hours of the afternoon has stopped for the moment. Isn't it meant to be the other way around - shouldn't it start rather than stop once you're pitched and ensconced in the tent?

(Martin: you're right that I wasn't in the scary pink underwear. The only time that gets seen outside of the privacy of the tent is when my trousers are being washed!
Mike: we did try the grass test after the first shock. Perhaps we didn't hold it against the fence for long enough - or maybe it was the wrong type of grass? Funny how the word verification can be so apt at times, isn't it?
Chris: Pesky work demands, eh?
Ultra Greenford: is there still a job for me come June?!
Dawn: Backpacking pole dancing indeed (particularly the way I was teetering around at first!))
Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

  1. Hi guys been following the blog and enjoying your write-up.

    I met you in Keld whilst you were doing the C2C and I was doing the Pennine Way. Unfortunately I did have to stop as my Achilles became hugely inflamed- after having physio when back was very glad I had stopped! I'm planning another go this Sept. Have also nearly halved my pack weight since then too.

    Are you guys using your normal chargers and mains electricity or some form of solar/other charger to recharge your electrical devices?

    Best of luck with the rest of the walk.