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 13 - Blakerstone Moor to Cockburnspath

Sunday 26 April
Distance: 9.5 miles
Weather: wall-to-wall sunshine to start, with fluffy clouds developing later

Incredibly, we woke again to clear blue skies and a frost, which gave us quite a clear indication that we were going to complete this coast-to-coast walk with a cumulative total of under an hour and a half of precipitation.

With only 9 miles to walk, and not needing to reach our destination until lunchtime, we once again proved that the ability to have a leisurely start always causes us to be super-efficient in packing away. Thus, were walking at 7.30.

The first part of the day was what I expected yesterday: farm tracks and fields, but then we crossed over the A1, went down a horrible bit of old road covered with fly-tipping (so much so that we had to walk over it; I shall report it), and entered a some woodland/forest. A very pleasant green path took us through there and by the the time we popped out the other end of the woodland, the sea was only just ahead of us.

A long second breakfast, on a convenient bench in the sunshine, killed some of our excess time, then along the cliff tops we went. I'm not sure who snuck lead into my shoes during that break, but (for me) 'last half-mile syndrome' was in full swing.

Even so, when I spotted the pretty cove (accessed by a tunnel through the cliff) and harbour below us, I was in no doubt that it would be worth descending to it, to call it our official end point of the walk - even though we did then need to walk into Cockburnspath anyway. It was a very pleasing location for the 'end photo' - far more so than the middle of the village.

Per my previous post, in the absence of a cafe, we took advantage of having gas and water to spare by brewing up in the village centre. There we looked back on the last couple of weeks and agreed that it has been a most enjoyable walk, and all the more so for the weather. (As glorious as it has been, it didn't quite match the record held by our Wainwright's C2C in 2008, when we had no rain at all, but I suspect we had more sunshine on this one.)

(It can now rain for a week and a half, but I'm sure about 300 Challengers would be happy if Scotland then saw another two-week sunny spell, like the last fortnight.)

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  1. Enjoyed reading about your trip. See you at Challenge Control?

    1. Glad you enjoyed. You will indeed see me at Challenge Control - hope you have a good crossing to get there.

  2. me too - well, not the latter phrase, of course.
    I had heard the route had a harsh reputation - either you redacted that element, your fitness swept over it or the weather gilded it!
    do you think W to E is better than E to W - I always prefer walking into the sunset (as it were) ?

    1. I think perhaps the reputation for harshness comes from the distances between civilisation, although that's far less of an issue when backpacking than when staying in accommodation. The walking itself certainly didn't strike me as any more difficult than other trips we've done.

      My general preference would be for W to E on the basis of the greater likelihood of the wind being from behind. That theory didn't really work on this trip, as we mainly had flavours of northerly and easterly!

  3. Glad you enjoyed it and had fine weather throughout. A rare occurrence in Scotland for that length of time, except occasionally in spring but only once every few years. Summer tends to be damp, hazy, humid or cleg and midge ridden so the SUW is at its best in bright spring sunshine or autumn.

    1. Although we've often enjoyed good weather in spring, I still can't believe quite how good a run we had on this trip.

      Midges and clegs .... urgh! I definitely wouldn't want to be walking through the damper forest sections on a still summer's day!

  4. Just caught up with you. I'm sitting in a free wi fi café in Helmsdale. None-stop rain all night and ever since. I had high hopes for your SUW and was not disappointed. Sounds like your weather was fairly kind, but it's time it got a bit warmer. I Recognised the Three Bretheren passed on my LEJOG, and had happy memories of Traquair. Did you look into the grotty bothie on the way down from the Three into Traquair?

    1. Our weather was incredibly kind, and on some days really very warm (although on others, positively chilly). The best aspect of the weather was the air clarity; so often sunny days are accompanied by a haze, but we really did hit on perfection for much of this trip - particularly for the high days east of Moffat.

      That was the third time we've been by Minch Moor Bothy (LEJOG, Home to Edinburgh and this walk) but we've never stuck our head in.