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Advice for an American

Advice for an American


Postby ethanroday » Mon Feb 17, 2020 3:16 am

Hi!

My girlfriend and I are traveling to Scotland this May to do St. Cuthbert's Way (actually, we're planning to take the Southern Upland Way from Traquair to Melrose, then transfer to St. Cuthbert's). We are from the Seattle, WA area and we're avid hikers and backpackers, but I was hoping I might ask some basic questions for us first-time UK walkers :D
1. Maps - any recommendations on what paper maps we should buy? Is it worth getting an OS Maps subscription?
2. Water - will we pass through enough towns with public water sources, or should we expect to get water from streams (and, if so, which ones are safe if we have a filter)? Will 3L per person be enough to get from source to source?
3. Bathing - is it generally okay to bathe in streams if we are discreet and away from people?
4. Bathroom - so, do you just, like, go on people's land and bury? Because in the US that gets you arrested. What's the protocol?

Any other general tips would also be appreciated. Thank you!

- Ethan
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Re: Advice for an American

Postby Caberfeidh » Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:14 pm

ethanroday wrote:Hi!

My girlfriend and I are traveling to Scotland this May to do St. Cuthbert's Way (actually, we're planning to take the Southern Upland Way from Traquair to Melrose, then transfer to St. Cuthbert's). We are from the Seattle, WA area and we're avid hikers and backpackers, but I was hoping I might ask some basic questions for us first-time UK walkers :D
1. Maps - any recommendations on what paper maps we should buy? Is it worth getting an OS Maps subscription?
2. Water - will we pass through enough towns with public water sources, or should we expect to get water from streams (and, if so, which ones are safe if we have a filter)? Will 3L per person be enough to get from source to source?
3. Bathing - is it generally okay to bathe in streams if we are discreet and away from people?
4. Bathroom - so, do you just, like, go on people's land and bury? Because in the US that gets you arrested. What's the protocol?
Any other general tips would also be appreciated. Thank you! - Ethan


1. Yes O.S. paper maps are the best, the Explorer Maps are the most detailed at 1:25000. You could buy the relevant maps or get your own map custom-made to cover your entire journey. See the O.S. website here https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/catalog/product/view/_ignore_category/1/id/9/s/custom-made-maps/
2.Water - when you are on low ground with farm animals, water might be a problem for you. Mostly high up in the hills water is not a problem for drinking, there is usually too much of it falling on your head. Fst-flowing streams coming down hillsides are usually ok but slow-moving streams winding through muddy farmland is not. There are lots of small villages in that part of the country; whether they have public access to water taps is another matter. A friendly pub or cafe owner might top up your bottles for you, or you may have to buy bottled water from shops. I'd say carrying three litres at a time is a bit much, just the one litre each and see how you go.
3.Bathing in streams discreetly and away from people sounds fine, but this is Scotland and it is usually very cold. Also if the river is in spate don't even think about it, you'll get killed! If the weather is too cold then invest in some wet wipes generally used for cleaning children but a blessing when you're camoing in the middle of nowhere. But if the weather is nice and the water is calm, go for it.
4. Crapping in the wild is ok so long as no-one can see you, you are well hidden, dig a hole and bury it and the tissue paper, do not do it near a water course as somewhere downstream someone may be using that as drinking water. If you pass through a village, try to take advantage of the presence of public toilets.
While you are in those parts you must stop and explore Melrose, for the ancient abbey where the heart of Robert The Bruce is buried, and the three Eildon Hills known to the Romans as Trimontium (three hills, geddit?) which are the remains of the stumps of volcanic lava uprisings, the rest of the voilcano having eroded away over millions of years. Or, if like myself you'll have no truck with such scientific mumbo-jumbo, they are magic hills, haunted by Faeries, Druids, Ancient Britons, Romans and the resting place of King Arthur and his Knights who sleep in a cavern deep inside one of the magic hills to be woken to fight for the realm when danger arises. People still find tiny bronze axe-heads and suchlike, votive offerings to the gods made by people in ancient times. There is an interesting little museum in the town hall.

Eildon Hills #2r.jpg
Eildon Hills from Melrose Abbey


Eildon Hills #1r.jpg
Eildon Hills
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Re: Advice for an American

Postby jmarkb » Mon Feb 17, 2020 12:28 pm

Harvey's publish a specific map for St. Cuthbert's Way - https://www.harveymaps.co.uk/acatalog/St-Cuthberts-Way-YHWRSC.html
For Traquair - Melrose, OS Landranger Sheet 73 would be fine: https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/shop/landranger-map-peebles-galashiels-selkirk.html

Both the SUW and St. Cuthberts Way are pretty well waymarked.
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Re: Advice for an American

Postby Caberfeidh » Mon Feb 17, 2020 6:56 pm

And if you do somehow find yourself in a cavern inside a magic hill, faced with the sleeping warriors of King Arthur, do NOT ring the bell*. It really annoys them.
*Unless of course the realm is in danger.

IMG_7789#i.jpg
Thomas the Rhymer


IMG_7788#r.jpg
Thomas the Bollox Merchant more like...


vikings.jpg
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Re: Advice for an American

Postby ethanroday » Tue Feb 18, 2020 12:29 am

Haha thank you everyone for the advice, spiritual and otherwise! :)
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