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]

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Day 28 - NE of Lauder to below Lothian Edge

Sat 16 April (0830-1710)
Distance: 19 (Tot: 497.5)
Weather: cloudy start, then sunny intervals, clearing late on to mainly blue sky; windy
Number of inches away from a grouse Mick got before it flew away: 2
Number of mountain hares: 2

Leaving our lovely pitch after a leisurely start to the day, the SUW sped us along for the first five miles until, upon a ridge, it turned SE and we yomped off through heather and bog to the NW, before dropping down into the next valley.

It was in that next valley that we encountered eleven D of E-ers, and where we came across the notice, per the photo above, which told us which mobile phone networks served that spot! A bizarre notice in such a location but explained by the fact that we were on a construction site. The track that runs along that valley is currently a newly-constructed scar as it is undergoing widening work to bring it up to about motorway width.

The second yomping section of the day (my sections being defined as the bits in between where we crossed roads or major tracks) saw us follow the exact line that we wanted to follow, although I did feel that we achieved that as much by luck than by navigational skill.

The next section of the day culminated in us lunching in the sun overlooking Whiteadder Reservoir (there's a picture of it attached to this post). We tarried a while knowing that our afternoon was only about 3.5 miles long.

Then we came upon Crystal Rig wind-farm, a development of some 85 wind-turbines. As we entered (where signs told us to follow the red posts for the right of way; we saw a total of two posts, a mile apart) I looked at the map and scratched my head. There should have been a massive forest about a kilometre away, but not only was there no forest visible, there were not the stumps of an ex-forest either. We were definitely in the right place though, so through the wind-farm we went. A while later I noticed all the wood debris on the floor around us. Part of the wind-farm had been sited on the ex-forest, which had been mown so thoroughly that no stumps remained, just lots of jumbo wood-chips and some small branches.

The lack of consistent waymarking, and the fact that the multitude of wind-farm tracks bore no resemblence at all to the few forest tracks on my map made the next half a mile trickier than it ought to have been. Worse, we had realised that both of our potential pitch sites were inside the wind-farm. We were clearly going to have to walk on.

On reflection, what we should have done (particularly as I voiced doubt that the other streams on our route would be reliable) was to pick up some water at one of the streams next to which I had intended to camp. I kicked myself for that omission as, when we got to Lothian Edge and saw the view out to sea (which was far prettier than I would have imagined), it would have been nice to have popped the tent up and enjoyed that view all evening.

But, we had no water and the nearest stream was dry, so after many 'what are our options' faffs, we continued on down. The problem that presented was that we were entering farmland which was going to limit our ability to pitch.

We did, of course, find running water in the end, and by wandering off our route by a quarter of a mile or so we found somewhere that seemed sufficiently discreet to pitch. It's got a bit of a view albeit not of the sea - but it's a pity that it's in a wind funnel!

(Note: I realised that I'd made an error a few days back in the cumulative mileage. I'd managed to add 16 to 431 and come up with 427 - doh! I've (hopefully) now put it right.
Theo: 'fraid I've had to abandon the wind-farm count. I completely lost track today as to whether we saw 4, 5 or 6. As for around the coast, I'm afraid that I don't much fancy that as a continuous walk. I do have another potential walk up my sleeve, though...)

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1 comment:

  1. As the days go on and your descritions of the landscape, in line with the landscape, I hope, get better and better, I start to feel that I need to go and walk a long way too!!! what a bizzarre feeling!! Maike