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]

Monday, 21 April 2014

Day 21 - Selkirk to S of Dundreich Summit

Mon 21 April (0830-1900)
Distance: 23.25 miles (Tot: 385.75)
Fitbit Steps: 53000
Weather: misty start clearing gradually to give wall-to-wall sunshine. Strong easterly, but warm when sheltered.

As much as I like walking and am happy (mostly!) in a tent, it was nice yesterday to have an afternoon of repose on a comfy bed, watching nonsense on TV. That, combined with a big breakfast this morning sent us off from Selkirk with bundles of energy. A good job really, all things considered...

The large, extraordinarily well built cairns of the Three Brethren was our first landmark of the day, from where we took to the Southern Upland Way for a few miles. Those miles coincided with our LEJOG route from 2008, until just after Minch Moor Bothy, where the Way headed towards Traquair, whereas we headed north to Innerleithen.

There was no need for us to go all the way up to the top of the viewpoint on our way out of Innerleithen, but it was in the right direction and looked like it would make a good lunch spot. It did indeed, including some windbreaks to shield us from the keen wind, which became far keener in the half an hour we were up there.

Having descended from the viewpoint, up we went again, this time on a forest track, which we were taking purely as a bit of road-avoidance, on the basis that the distance wasn't much further than the road option. Then we were on road for a while, although in pretty surroundings, up the side of Leithen Water, before heading off past the rather pleasing building of Leithen Lodge, thence into the forest.

It was in the forest that things didn't go quite according to plan. At the ruin of Craghope, we had three choices: 1) pitch the tent on the lovely flat terraced 'lawn'; 2) continue to the track that would take us up to Cardon Law and pitch up there; or 3) take the track that would lead us to near the lump called Hog Knowes and hope there was a thinning of the trees there, which would give us a way out of the forest.

Having discounted option 1 (because we both had the energy to go on), it was 5.20pm when we reached the next decision point. Had we then taken option 2 (which, with the benefit of hindsight would have been the most advisable), then we would have had just a mile and a half to go and would likely have been pitched by 6pm.

We took option 3, walked another 4 miles (including an abortive attempt to exit the forest which required us to back-track), taking us another hour and forty minutes, and didn't, in the process, get any nearer to tomorrow's end point! We did, however (by the time we did find a way out of the forest), find ourselves a distance away from our intended route. A re-route was obvious, and that was the direction in which we then headed.

Our final twenty minutes of the day was a yomp up hill through the deepest tussocky grass, ensuring that we arrived at our pitch nice and warm. After contemplating going on another while to find a nice pitch, the decision was made to just chuck the tent up atop the tussocks. What the pitch lacks in flatness, it makes up for in views!

As for today's photos, we have Mick approaching the Three Brethren in the mist (we didn't get views until almost noon), and also a shot up Leithen Water this afternoon, by which time it was warm and glorious.

(Conrad: did we touch your LEJOG route again today, having left it yesterday?)

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1 comment:

  1. I passed the Three Brethren and was disgusted with the state of the Minch Moor Bothy. I had b and b in Traquair and they chauffeured me back and forth to the pub in Innerleithen where I ate. My next night was camping at Peebles then the following night camping in the drained bed of Harperrig Reservoir (NT 103 611).

    You seem to keep edging to the east. I'm still enjoying the guessing game.

    Today I've packed my rucksack and including food for a meal and a 500ml. bottle of water I'm up to 20lbs. I hope to be off early on Saturday unless weather is awful.