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]

Wednesday 11 June 2008

Day 58 - Beyond Broomy Law to Peebles

11 June
Distance: about 15 miles
Number of donkeys within ten feet of the tent: 2

Today was a Very Good Day.

After something of a breezy night we left our practical-over-idyllic pitch under fine skies.

An hour later at just 8.30am, I noticed a chap walking towards us. "Early for someone to be up here" I thought.

His greeting of "I was worried you'd taken a short cut" made us realise that this was more than a chance meeting and led to Mick's rejoinder of "You must be Ian".

This was the very same Ian who I mentioned just last night, who gave us some route advice for this section of the walk.

He turned around and walked with us back to Traquair (pointing things out to us as we went; very knowledgable on this area is Ian), where he'd left his camper van. Once there he produced a big pot of tea and from his refrigerator pulled out mountains of fruit salad and salads. After 2 months of dehydrated meals and cracker/fish/cheese lunches I was in food heaven.

Let it be known that this man, who had until now been a complete stranger, is a star-of-the-First-Order. Read a few other on-line journals of people who have walked from Land's End to John O'Groats and you'll find that he crops up more than once. So, a big thank you Ian.

Finally dragging ourselves away from the comfort and the food, we set out along our hastily re-jigged route. The forestry through which we passed was far from the most dreary and we were soon yomping up a pathless hill the other side to get to the top of Kailzie Hill, from where we could pick up an old drove road down to Peebles.

It was a fine bit of re-routing. The drove road runs along a ridge giving expansive views.

It also gave a good vantage point from which to see the rain approaching. I think the technical description would be 'showers, some prolonged and heavy' - the first heavy one certainly had us diving into our packs for waterproofs.

The good events of the day did not end on arriving in Peebles. We got to the campsite to find it to be not only one of the best ones yet, but also one of the cheapest. They also had for us the emergency parcel, sent yesterday (thank you Kim & Hayley), containing Mick's running shoes (in the hope that they will ease his foot problem, at least when we're on hard surfaces). I don't want to Keegan things, but just requesting them may have helped - today the shoe-faffs were minimal and I didn't hear any ooching and ouching.

Then just to round the day off, for the first time this trip we splashed out on laundry (saving me time standing at a sink and the usual drying problems). It involved me having to wear waterproofs in lieu of trousers, but we now have all of our clothes washed and dried - and they even came out a bit cleaner than they went in. I think that much dirt may require more than one cycle to cure!

Added to all of that, thanks to a chap who was walking the SUW (wearing a kilt and with a large pack) and to the very generous donation made by Ian, we ended the day with the Macmillan fundraising £25 richer.


  1. This is surely the same Ian who intercepted me near Beattock with kindness and tomato soup!

    A very fine guy, and - by the way - a very experienced hiker.

    Daryl May

  2. You are of course right Daryl. Ian was also an amazing help to me on my Lejog, meeting me on several occassions with wonderful thirst quenching supplies on incredibly hot days and just being all round great company. He used to appear out of no-where at just the time when your spirits were sagging!

    Ian has himself completed two very lengthy LeJogs; one of which included the most Southerly Point (Lizard) the most Easterly (Lowestoft) the Lowest Point (Holme Fen), the Highest Point (Ben Nevis) the most westerly (Ardnamurchan Point) and the most Northerly (Dunnet Head).

    Ian is also one of the great team of vetters on the TGO Challenge and is an incredibly accomplished walker and an absolute gentleman.