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 1 May 2019

"Have we been here before?"

As we approached the semi-ruin of Braidliehope yesterday, I thought it looked familiar. Indeed, certain distinctive details were identical to a picture I had in my memory.

"Do you remember on one of our big walks we followed a stream that was full of dead sheep, then came upon a building that looked identical to that?" I asked Mick. He did. We wondered if we had indeed walked here before. We wracked our brains to remember where those dead sheep and that building had been, but couldn't narrow it down much further than 'Scottish Borders'. We thought little more of it as nothing else about the walk seemed familiar.

It was only as I came to write the post about yesterday's walk that I looked at my photos, and paused over the one of Braidliehope. There surely couldn't be two such buildings in the Borders with the specific details present in this one and the one I remembered. Was it possible that we had indeed come this way before?

We set about seeing what we did remember about the days around this area on our Kent to Cape Wrath walk. We recalled walking through Kielder Forest when the rally cars were out making their course notes. We remember camping next to the river Liddel that night and the threat of being joined by beer-toting rally spectators. I remember stopping at the cafe in Newcastleton. My memory is then a complete blank until we arrived in Hawick and Mick's is even less clear than mine.

To me the huge benefit of having an online blog is the ability, from any location with internet access, to look up stuff we did years ago that has faded from my memory. I thus travelled back to April 2011 and found that yes, Braidley Burn was where we recall seeing all those dead sheep and Braidliehope was the ruin we walked past that day.

That set me wondering how we had got there from Newcastleton and how we went onwards. My blog didn't answer the first of those questions, but with the clues to be found in the text, plus a bit more map-poring, it's a distinct possibility that from Newcastleton we went over Roan Fell (the hill I did in horribly wet and breezy weather last Friday, in the belief that I'd never been there before). From Braidliehope we then passed between yesterday's two hills.

So, at least another two hills to add to the list of "Passed within a short distance years ago, not knowing that one day I would need to come back to go up it" hills.

I think it's safe to say that one of the first things I do when I next have my laptop out at home will be to look at the detail of our Kent to Cape Wrath route to settle my curiosity about Roan Fell.

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