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]

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Day 37 - Cauldstane Slap to Beecraigs Country Park

Wednesday 28 April
Distance: 16 miles (Tot: 626.25 miles)
Number of dogs that pissed on Mick's backpack: 1

Surprisingly, after such a long spell of rain that showed no sign of abating, our procrastination paid off this morning. By the time we were ready to exit the tent the rain had become just showers and ten minutes into our walk, at about ten past eight (see we weren't that late away), it had become so light as to be barely noticeable.

Not long after, as we made our way down the waterlogged path from Cauldstane Slap to Little Vantage, there was a hint of sun behind the clouds and the day wasn't looking so bad after all. Even the strong wind was mainly behind us (and when, later in the day, we caught it head on a few times, we were very glad it was mainly behind us!).

Unfortunately the A70 couldn't obviously be avoided, but its verge was wide and we weren't on it too long before we headed off up a minor road.

About half way along that road was Selm Muir Wood, the top of whose access track seemed like a good enough place for 2nd breakfast and with the woods offering toilet opportunities.

All was so quiet as we arrived, but as I emerged from the woodland a while later it was to find Mick talking to a chap (one of whose dogs peed on Mick's pack, right on the back and inside of the hipbelt). By the time we left about 3 minutes later three vehicles had pulled up and it was getting busy. We timed our arrival well.

Reaching East Calder it was unclear from the map whether the line I had plotted was on an unclassified road or a track. The answer was that it was on a disused railway line (mainly unsurfaced) which gave us a very easy walk, without any requirement for thought, all the way through to Uphall.

I had thought that from there our only option was to take to the roads. However, as we left Uphall on the main road, a footpath sign helpfully didn't just indicate a path but said "Public Path to Binny Craig". A glance at the map was all that was required to tell us that Binny Craig (a craggy lump with a trig point on top that looks completely out of place in the surrounding flatness) was in a helpful direction, so on a magical mystical tour we went.

The track and then grassy path was perfectly obvious, and must have been better than walking along the pavement of the main road, even if the direction we then had to take to get us to our destination had us walking into the wind for a while.

By the time we arrived at Beecraigs at just after 2pm, the wind was still up but the day had tranformed from what it was this morning. Only high clouds remained and the sun was beating down.

Bits of the campsite here are undergoing renovation (including the toilet block next to the tent area, giving us a bit of a hike to the caravan area), but it's very well kept and the facilities are right up there with the best we've seen. There's even a restaurant next to the entrance, where we will eat tonight, and the restaurant has kindly made a generous donation to Help for Heroes (thank you Brian!).
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  1. IT wasn't so bad a day in the end was it? I was stuck inside for most of it but it looks nice now. THat restaurant is not bad - I was there last year - fairly basic but good portions if I remember.

  2. I overnighted at Beecraigs in 2009. Nice site and the restaurant was good.