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, 20 April 2014

Day 20 - Lilliardsedge to Selkirk

20 April (not May. I really don't know why I'm so convinced it's May.) (0750-1300)
Distance: 12 miles (Tot: 362.5)
Weather: misty start, then overcast skies breaking up to sunny intervals
Number of discarded Diet Coke cans (almost all from Multi-packs) along a single half-mile stretch of lane: 19
Number of people we suspect discarded those cans from their car window: 1

It wasn't planned that each weekend we would have a 12-mile(ish) day, ending at a B&B, but that's how it has been working out so far. So, it was another half-day of rest today, after a pleasant amble into Selkirk.

In common with the last few mornings, it started with a hard frost, but the difference today was that rather than early sunshine to warm up the day and dry the tent, we had mist and cloud. A pity, really, that we didn't have a hill to climb to warm the fingers back up after packing away icy material and freezing poles.

The day started gently, along St Cuthberts Way, which, at that point, still coincided with Dere Street. At the point St Cuthbert left Dere Street we abandoned him and turned in the opposite direction taking to a little lane for a while. That was where it seems that one regular traveller likes to enjoy a can of Diet Coke, before ignorantly discarding the empty can out of their window, because it's just far too much trouble to transport the empty can as far as a litter bin. Ignoramus!

After Longnewton, where we paused to pay a visit to the old burial ground, I had hoped that the dotted line on the map would translate into a real line on the ground. Happily, it did, even if it did become something of a feint line at one point (which was a bit odd, considering how well used the rest of it appeared to be).

More lanes then took us to another such dotted line, along part of which there was no evidence of a path on the ground at all, but it was easy enough to walk across the grazing field which lay between two tracks. It was along that section that I found myself with a wriggling lamb in my arms. The mother was briefly distressed by the incident, and ran at me, before realising that I was the other side of a gate - as was her lamb who had been desperately (but unsuccessfully) head-butting the gate in trying to find a way back through. A few moments later mother and child were happily reunited and I had done my good deed for the day (with only a bit of sheep poo on my hand to show for it).

Elevenses was had not far out of Selkirk, at a spot that didn't have much merit save for being out of the cool wind. From there we phoned ahead to check availability at the B&B at which we hoped to stay tonight. That it was full was a disappointment as we'd both mentally prepared ourselves for a lazy afternoon where the most activity would involve the washing of socks and pants, whilst the phones recharged.

With our loins girded for an extra few miles on our day (yes, a short day anyway, but our minds were firmly in 'short day' mode), it looked like cleanliness was going to have to wait another few days as our fall-back plan was another wild camp.

Then, after enjoying hot-from-the-oven bread rolls, with cheese, at a bench in the town (yep, after my panic earlier in the week, both supermarkets were indeed open), we popped into the museum, which also doubles as a basic information centre. There, a very nice lady called Jean warned us that their information service is very limited and that all she could do was to write down a few B&B phone numbers for us. That was fine by us, but she then went above and beyond in making phone calls to try to find us a room. She finally suceeded, albeit with many disclaimers about not knowing what the place with a vacancy was like. We were happy to take the chance; the price (or at least the second one quoted, not that we got as far as rejecting the first) was acceptable to us and the place lay directly on our route out of town.

Having had such good service from the museum, we thought we would have a quick look around before we went on our merry way. Half an hour later my feet were feeling the need for a sit down; I do find moseying around a museum much harder on the feet than walking a few miles!

Today's photo is the Eildon Hills, a landmark in these parts which can stay within sight for days. It was taken during one of the sunny intervals (I promise it wasn't like this all day Louise!), with an unfortunately located telegraph pole and wire in the way.

(TVPS: oops! Thanks for putting me right.
Meanqueen: I haven't been meaning to ignore you - I only just saw your comment. Were your ears burning on the day we approached the Humber? We were talking about you, as I was saying that I was sure you lived somewhere nearby. Seems I was right!)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange


  1. FYI Weather is looking perhaps a bit overcast, showery, bit breezy, temp mid teens. Someone is bound to give you something more accurate or perhaps you'll have access to a telly tonight and have stayed awake long enough to watch Countryfile yourself!

  2. You were on my LEJOG until Lilliardsedge but I went up through Melrose, Galashiels and on to Peebles. I passed between the two distinctive Eldon Hills on your pic.