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, 26 April 2015

SUW Day 12 - beyond Nun Rig to Blakerstone Moor

Saturday 25 April
Distance: 16.25 miles
Weather: 4 seasons

It rained on and off through the night. I'm not sure how much on and how much off, because I was mainly sleeping, but there were certainly plenty of sizeable puddles around today.

With the rain still pattering down on us as we awoke, an early start wasn't on the cards. The day ahead of us was neither long nor arduous, so we figured we could lounge around until 10 and hope the rain abated.

By 10 the pattering had become so light as to be barely noticeable, and out into the world we went ... to find that the reason for the reduction in the sound of water-on-nylon was because it had turned to snow. Proper snow, too.

So, we packed away and started walking in conditions which we couldn't quite believe. Yesterday morning we set out in t-shirts and vented trousers, and were soon overheating. This morning, with snow in our faces, we were layered up, including every waterproof item (more for warmth than necessary weather protection).

It must have only lasted another 20 minutes after we started walking and by the time we reached the enormous cairns atop Twin Law it wasn't just dry, but we could see blue skies heading slowly in our direction.

I'm sure that last time we walked this way (on our East to West in 2011, I believe) we must have left the SUW before Twin Law, as I recognised neither the cairns, nor did I recall previously having seen Watch Water Reservoir, which is the next notable feature.

Beyond there, by the presence of so many roads shown on the map, I had expected to feel like we were getting back into civilisation, and for the walking to be across farmland (as in lowland fields). In the event, I was pleasantly surprised, as even where we did hit roads there was nothing on them, and there was still rough, open land to be crossed (where hares were plentiful and we even saw two stoats/weasels).

A good pitch could have been had at our originally intended night-stop of Owl Wood, and an even better one could have been had near to the crystal-clear burn on the SW side of Abbey Hill (Outer), but in both cases we decided to continue in order to reduce tomorrow's distance to around 10 miles.

We've ended up beyond Abbey St Bathans, where (in the warm wall-to-wall sunshine that now shone on us) it was tempting to try out the wood-fueled hot-tub we found on the side of the burn, not near any houses. I wonder who uses that?

A few minutes later I deviated from our path to search for a pitch. What I found (which is where we are now pitched) isn't bad at all, but it would be improved by not being 2 feet away from a pylon!

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