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 13 April 2011

Day 25 - Chew Green to Jedburgh

Wed 13 April (0735-1400)
Distance: 16 miles (Tot: 427)
Weather: few brief bits of sun, light showers (everytime one of us dared take a waterproof item off), windy again.
Number of bulls encountered at close range: 4

At 8.30pm last night my thermometer was reading 0 degrees and, accordingly, it was feeling a bit parky. A cold night was expected.

At 1.30 this morning I woke up with a start, immediately sitting bolt upright in a panic. There was a tank coming straight at us! Or, as I realised after a few more moments of wakefulness, we were pitched really quite close to the road that runs through the Range, and there was a big, loud military vehicle driving along that road. What I did notice whilst I was awake, was that it had warmed up.

When the next military vehicle came along at just after 3.30, it was raining - which explained the rise in temperature.

It was a balmy 6 degrees as we set out this morning, joining the Pennine Way for a mile, past the Roman Camp at Chew Green and up to the Scottish Border. Then, off we forked, to continue along Dere Street (Roman Road), almost all of the way into Jedburgh.

Having ensured that it wouldn't rain by covering ourselves from head to toe in waterproofs before we set out, we suffered just one short shower in the first three and a half hours. A break was called to remove some items and in the usual way of these things, we hadn't even moved three yards before rain was felt again. It didn't amount to anything, but half an hour later I'd just removed my overmitts again and the rain, whilst light, was seeming more persistent and I was getting cold. On went the overtrousers again, but we'd not moved more than five yards when the rain stopped.

The continually passing showers (most of which did miss us) did curtail the views, but it was still possible to make out the magnificence of the lumpiness around us. Photos were duly taken (alas, not with the phone, hence today you have a snap of last night's pitch), but we know that those photos cannot possibly do justice to the depth and colours that we were seeing.

It was as Dere St continued across farmland for a while that we encountered the four bulls, all in one field and without any cows to chaperone them. One of the beasts was stood right next to the stile. We hesitated. Was it wise to walk into a field of fully-grown bulls? Should we walk around? Were four bulls in a field scarier than a military firing range? We tentatively entered the field to see how they would react, and the answer was that they started head-butting each other, so whilst they were distracted we hotfooted it past them.

As a contrast to the stretches of Dere St that are designated as an ancient monument, with vehicles strictly prohibited, towards Jedburgh it's a byway and one section is horribly and very deeply rutted by tyre tracks. It made for the worst type of walking, but eventually we were past that section and onto the road to Jedburgh.

"I thought you said today was quite flat" grumbled Mick as we made our way up the last long rise before dropping down into the town. I don't know why he ever believes me when I say these things. More often than not it means that I've not looked at the map in any detail!

We walked the long way into Jedburgh so as to pass the abbey (impressive, as abbey remains usually are) and a shop. I also had a hankering after a Big Lunch, and having selected a cafe that only adverised itself as offering "snacks", I found myself with a lunch so big that it defeated even this hungry walker.

A hop, skip and a jump took us to the campsite, where awaited me the new sections of my Pacerpoles, so having put the tent up I trotted back down into town to put my old pole sections in the post to see whether anything can be salvaged. That added the best part of two more miles onto my day, but of course they don't count in the totals.

(Louise: is your faith at all based on having seen a weather forecast?
Anon: I suppose that filling bladders isn't a usual activity when visiting toilets, but something that we do quite often!
Maike: I think carrying a helmet might go against my lightweight principles!
Robin: Time does fly, doesn't it? As do the miles. Only feels like five minutes since we were just setting out.
Martin: it was the wind that made me opt for a final unlawful camp rather than nipping over the border. We were vaguely sheltered where we were, but would have felt the full force of the wind had we continued up the hill to Scotland. I'm hoping this wind drops sometime soon!
Tor: that's some fantastic trivia - certainly made us smile! (For anyone who missed it, go and look at the comments on Day 24's post.) And thank you for verifying the mackerel/St John's Wood fact too.)

Sent using BlackBerry® from Orange

1 comment:

  1. Actually, at this time, the forecast I saw at tea time suggested mid teen temps and bright. Sounds good to me! However, it is only Wednesday. By Friday we could have...Hush my mouth! It'll be fine ;-)