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 9 June 2008

Day 56 - Morebattle to Newton St. Boswells

9 June
Distance: about 20 miles (according to my piece of string)

It didn't go according to plan. The plan saw us walking 12.5 miles to Lilliardsedge. Even that bit of the day couldn't be achieved per the plan - firstly because we didn't trust to take another of my 'direct routes' and so decided to just follow the St Cuthbert's Way, and secondly because the St Cuthbert's Way in reality does not match its representation on my map.

So, getting to Lilliardsedge involved 1.5 miles more distance than I'd plotted - and about 3 miles more road walking than planned (the St C's Way does seem to like tarmac).

That was fine and would have still given us a short day.

However, the campsite I'd planned to use involved an out and back detour of over half a mile each way. In the current series of days the direction of which seems counter-intuitive (finally we get a south westerly wind in this walk but it's on a day when we're walking southwest and west!) I didn't fancy such a detour so instead we decided to push on to St Boswells and treat ourselves with another B&B.

Alas, despite the best efforts of the ladies in the Post Office there, who were exceptionally helpful, there was only one bed to be had anywhere nearby and for that they wanted £100, more than a smidge above budget.

Reluctantly we concluded that we would have to press on to Newton, where we received the dreaded news that there was not a bed to be had there either.

In Melrose we knew that there was a campsite but Melrose was another 2.5 miles distant and Mick's feet did protest too much.

Having just missed the bus a taxi was called and ten minutes later we were dropped off outside the Caravan Club Site in Melrose. We presented ourselves at the (closed) reception where the day took a verging-on-farcical turn when we saw the 'Site Full' sign.

Of course, I rang the bell anyway and prepared to bat my eyelids. It wasn't required, it turned out that it was only full for caravans. For little backpacking tents there was plenty of room. That was a good thing. It was seven o'clock, which felt like time to eat, not time to re-start a bed search.

Despite the deviation from the plan, it was a good day. The weather was again fine, albeit rather on the warm side and there were castles and hill-top monuments to be seen in amongst the agricultural land.

The map suggests that tomorrow we will find lumpy land again, but before that we will be making a bus journey back to Newton, to make sure that not a step of this walk is omitted. As we'll be passing the campsite again an hour or so after we leave it, we could do the first bit of the walk without our packs - except that having carried them thus far it would feel like cheating to walk even a step without them.

Post Script: Oh wow! We may have felt exceptionally underdressed (not to mention a tad grubby) in the restaurant of the hotel in which we chose to eat, but they served us anyway and what food. I'm in food heaven. And the wine was good too. A perfect end to the day.

1 comment:

  1. You're lucky to have Wendy. Daryl May, when faced with the prospect of a £100 B&B, was forced to take the view, "Pay the bitch or sleep in a ditch". At least you can, metaphorically speaking, sleep in a ditch.