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St. Cuthbert's Way, July 2013

St. Cuthbert's Way, July 2013


Postby stravaiger » Fri Jul 12, 2013 11:05 am

Route description: St Cuthbert's Way

Date walked: 01/07/2013

Time taken: 5 days

Distance: 100 km

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St. Cuthbert's Way, Day One, Melrose to St. Boswells, 6 miles.

Melrose, 7pm. 11 hours after leaving Skye I was standing in the square on Buccleuch Street under scudding clouds that were buffing the sky to a clear blue. The sun had that highly polished look you get in early July, as if it's been stored away for the winter and now, released from storage it's rejeuvenated and blazing from a sky free of haze.

I'd been on the 6 hour bus journey from Skye to Glasgow, an hour across to Edinburgh on the train and then the two and a half hour bus to Melrose. It was a strange sort of set up for the bus. The front advertised Peebles with a scrolling digital sign saying 'onward to Galashiels and Melrose'. Why not just say Melrose on the front? Perhaps because Peebles was the bigger of the towns it visited. Anyway, I'd ended up as that awful creature, the boil in the bus walker. While we'd sat at Galashiels bus station it had streamed in the window, blinding and hot and as the signs for Melrose finally appeared we seemed to detour into every nook and cranny on the last three miles. Half of me wanted to get off the bus while the other half was envious of the public transport network down here. Finally we reached our destination and I sat in the car park and replaced sandals with Merrells. A quick phone to Dawn to say I'd arrived and all I wanted to do was walk.

I'd come up with a plan. The first night I'd camp up on the Eildon Hills above the town and the next day wander across to Harestanes and camp somewhere round there. I'm a very good planner. Very detailed plans, timings, distances, sites to camp. I'm also a very bad navigator in towns. On the hills and moors, dump me anywhere and I'll find my way around but in town? Not a chance! 'Walk east up High Street'. There is no east in a town. There is no west for that matter either. It's all buildings and street names so I'd taken the precaution of sneeking a preview on Google Maps and identified the likely steps you descend between the houses to start the walk. So that's what I did. I started the walk five minutes after leaving the double decker bus. Up the narrow street beside the abbey walls, across the roundabout and up the steep hill to the houses and down the already seen steps. A stiff climb up the wooden steps and I was in open countryside heading for the Eildons. Half an hour later I'd passed through fragrant gorse and grass and was standing on the bealach between North and Mid Eildon being buffetted by a late evening wind. Below, Melrose dimmed into the evening shadows and a patchwork of fields and hedgerows hazed to the horizon.

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As I said, I'd come up with a plan to camp up here but after the long journey all I wanted to do was walk. So that's exactly what I did. After cooking up some noodles out of the wind I packed up and walked. And walked and walked some more. All the way to St. Boswells. You see, I normally make these plans in meticulous detail, well in advance and without fail, on the day, I bin them. What they really do is provide a framework to let me roam the route in my imagination long before I begin the walk but on the day I'll bin the plan to a greater or lesser degree. I'm always doing that. During this winter I'd managed to stuff my knee such that it was well and truly unusable but come February and it being able to bend again, I decided to walk up into the corrie on Blaven. Just for a look you understand. See how the knee gets on. Well I did walk up into the corrie and I knew exactly what was going to happen. Because it always happens. The plan went out the window and I climbed Great Gully http://stravaiger.com/blog/2013/02/09/blaven-via-great-gully/, a Grade I winter climb I'd always wanted to do. For me, the plan has always been the forge in which the steel has been tempered. It's the butterfly's chrysalis. Come the day, the butterfly appears and the real adventure begins.

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I walked down the path towards the trees, past softly fragrant whin and into the dead quiet of the forest. I spied a nice corner of a secluded field to pitch up for the night but I wasn't in the mood for stopping. It felt great to stride out under the cool evening sky and I wandered into another forest under the canopy of muted light and before I knew it I was over the fence and onto the fantastic meadow above Bowden. This verdant ground was a new one on me. Not the bleak asceticism of the northern highlands, rather a wild flower meadow fringed with silver birch. The grass was over two feet high in places, its light brown tops swaying in an imperceptible breeze on its long green stalks. A riot of blue and yellow broke up the green expanse and hither and thither, walkways had been mown among the commons. A sign politely asked walkers to use the mown paths and horse riders the rough. I was well and truly in the Borders. A beautiful cat sat on the edge of the rough and watched me make my way into the quiet village of Bowden. A nod to the evening with a local out walking her dog and I headed down the lane and took the left path through dense undergrowth that led me to the minor road into Newton St. Boswells. Some tourists were slowly meandering back into town. It all felt so cosmopolitan in the warm evening air. On I went, under the A68 flyover and down to the Tweed where the scent of wild garlic was almost overpowering. From the suspension bridge across to Dryburgh Abbey I looked longingly at greensward on the other side for the night but kept on into the gathering darkness along the river bank. The path undulated through the trees, sometime hard packed dirt, sometime wooden boardwalk and steps but all the while alive with birds settling in the for the night and the ever present aroma of wild garlic. Just before St. Boswells it was getting a bit too dark to see in the woods so with some relief I popped out onto the village green around 10pm. I asked a passing local out walking her dog if there were any spots for a tent nearby and she said folk sometimes camp down by the river, near the golf course. I know you can wild camp just about anywhere in Scotland but it's often worth being polite and asking now and then as you might uncover a hidden gem.

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The simmer dim lent an ethereal quality to the light as I headed up the lane and steeply back down to the Tweed, now lined with Weeping Willow and the only birdlife still active were the ducks having a domestic on the water. Turning right at the golf course I followed the path to its far end and at around 10:30pm pitched the tarp near the end of the course. I was beginning to think I'd have been better with the hooped bivvy than the Trailstar as the tarp is enormous and there were few places along the river where I could have squeezed it in but here I had plenty of space near the course and anyway, I'd be up and gone long before anyone came to play a round. Not that I was blocking anything.

I was just settling down for the night when out of the gloom a lone walker appeared. He was a really nice local who was out for his three mile loop and most certainly wasn't a golfist. We chatted for a while about the outdoors and his plans to camp in the dunes on Lindisfarne and it turned out we both shared a common theme. I was looking for a change from mountains and was doing something about it, walking the way for a complete change of scenery. He was a bit tired of the Borders and was doing something about it, heading up to Skye to see the mountains. Seekers of change passing in the night. I detected the famous Borders freedom in the way he talked about wild camping and woebetide anyone who got in his way in the dunes!

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As I settled into the sleeping bag with the tarp fully open the sounds of the river sent me off into sleep in a windless night. Not a flying insect to be felt. Not a midge nibbled at my exposed face. The only sounds were the occasional doppler approach of a duck flying low down the river. 'wack wack wack, WACK WACK, wack wack, wack' decreasing in volume as it faded into the calm night and was gone.

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St. Cuthbert's Way, Day Two, St. Boswells to Morebattle, 21 miles.

Around 5am I woke to three sixty degree birdsong. Every tree was festooned with chirpers all broadcasting 'having breakfast, do not disturb!'. It was so early the sparrows hadn't had time to get annoyed with each other and were joining in the general melee. Some lazy clouds drifted around high in the lightening sky and the Tweed moved slowly, carrying its traffic of ducks swans and the occasional heron. But I was near the golfists track and was conscious of not becoming a problem. It was a beautiful morning. Why spoil it by lazing in my bag and risk someone's ire when I could be up and away? So at around 5:30 I was packed and ready to go. I came, I went, I left no trace.

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Due to my late night the previous day I was low on water as everthing in St. Boswells had been closed, so I had a bit of a dilemna over breakfast. Should I boil up the last of it for my porridge? Or keep it for walking and subsist on a peanut butter Clif Bar or two? Well I wasn't hanging around to boil up so it was the latter and only about half a litre remained. There didn't seem to be any shops between here and Harestanes and I briefly considered heading the mile or so back into St. Boswells and watiing for a shop to open but that could have been a three hour wait at this time in the morning. So it was on with the pack and a slow saunter along the path beside the golf course and into the woods again along the banks of the Tweed.

The walk beyond the golf course in the early morning light was stunningly beautiful. I walked across wild flower meadows, past gorgeous wild camp spots which I could have used if it hadn't been so late when I got there last night. At a bend in the river I entered the trees again along a narrow path beside the old lime kilns and eventually came to the Crystal Well that used to provide fresh water for Benrig House. Well, strictly speaking it was the poor horse or donkey that provided the fresh water. Endlessly walking a circle round a cobbled path, dragging a heavy iron pump handle behind it. All so the laird could have his bath. I hope he appreciated his ablutions. Just below the well an enticing spring overflowed an ornamental bowl. Cool clear crystal water that made me salivate and drool and forget about my dwindling supplies. But this was farming country and I was wary of agricultural runoff and chemical pollutants. In fact, further up the road at Hethpool the farmer drove his sheep along the road and I walked through a chemical fug of dipping agent hanging in the air. So I looked longingly at the bright bubbling source but walked on in the hope of finding something elsewhere.

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Just beyond the beautiful Maxton Kirk, where the minor road meets the village proper, that something appeared. Diagonally across the main road was an old fashioned drinking tap! I cried 'hoorah!' and dumped the sack next to it and drank my fill. I also filled my bottles and was now carrying a full compliment of three litres, plenty for a late breakfast. Such a serendipitous find. An embossed Green Man type figure spouted a tap and invited me to drink my hearty fill. Thank you Green Man and that's exactly what I did.

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The next stage was one of the numerous road sections past the grounds of Morridgehall. This early in the walk they weren't a problem but later, especially on the last day I came to refer to them as the road slogs. Hard tarmac not being conducive to happy feet. After a few twists and turns and long straight sections I started to approach the A68 so before turning down the green lane of Dere Street I decided to boil up some water for porridge. Mr. Farmer had conveniently left a double gate open at the edge of a crop field so I nipped in and set up the stove.

One of the things I like about solo long distance walks are the cameos. Passing encounters like last night's exchange with the wandering local and there were more to come along the way. As I was squatting over the steaming stove the ruddy cheeked farmer bumped to a halt in his four by four in front of the open gates while an enormous tractor and trailer roared past heading in the same direction. He stuck his head out of the open window and grinned and I shouted across 'just brewing up breakfast. I'll be gone in a wee while.'. To which he replied 'Absolutely no problem with that at all. Could you shut the gates when you're finished?'. And with a cheery wave he was off. And yet it could have been such a different scenario. It was early in the morning. I was getting the first twitches of a bowel evacuation and was eyeing up the field edge in case it insisted on appearing. The cheery farmer would have been asking me to shut a completely different set of gates if he'd found me squatting over a steaming pile of poo instead! As it happened I was fine and the encounter was a friendly one.

So on I went, turning left just as I reached the A68 and headed down through the cool wood that is all that remains of the Roman road of Dere Street. This runs all the way from Edinburgh to York altbough it's mostly under tarmac now but from here all the way to Harestanes it's a narrow grassy green path through wide fields and occasional woods. The noise of the A68 was drowned out by the swish of the wind in the trees and patterns of light and dark constantly waved across crop fields and meadows of wild flowers and long grass. Some horses stood and watched me pass while a polite flock of sheep kindly put their breakfasts on hold, getting up en masse to clear a way along the path where they'd been chowing down. Off in the distance cattle slowly mowed the meadows. Across the fields the Eildons sat on the horizon showing where I'd come from. It was a wonderful morning to be out and about. A wonderful morning to be alive. I zigzagged through a native pine forest, high canopy and open breezy floor with the strengthening wind buffeting me as I came to Lilliards Stone.

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800 years ago the monks of Melrose Abbey had put a stone here to become known as Lylliot Cross and where, in the fourteenth century, Scottish and English regal representatives came to work out their differences. They didn't always work out and battle ensued along with wonderful verse commemorating the heroes on either side. I love these wee poetic cameos, one of which is from the battle of Otterburn in 1388:

For Witherington needs must I wayle,
As one in doleful dumpes;
For when his leggs were smitten off,
He fought upon his stumpes.

Another one celebrates the borders women of the time. Lilliard may be a mythical character but represents the common men and women. Their wild independent spirit. That famous borders wildness of spirit that allows them to bow to no man, Scottish or English. This is how Lilliard represents that untable borders spirit:

Fair maiden Lilliard lies under this stane,
Little was her stature, but muckle was her fame,
On the English loons she laid mony thumps,
And when her legs were cuttit off, she fought upon her stumps.

With such stirring poesy ringing in my ears I made my way onwards while the path grew more and more overgrown, now threading a narrow way through gorse and bracken to eventually pop out on a minor road. Across this and down through the dark and cool green wood with a St. Cuthbert's Way marker embedded in a dead trunk surrounded by bright green moss. The way then stopped at a large ditch. A sign pointed onwards but the ditch was barred and a new wooden bridge took its place instead but another sign pointed towards Harestanes visitor centre and that's where I went. Time for foodage.

I'd reckoned it was around 10 miles from where I'd camped to Harestanes and with breakfasting in the field and what not it had probably taken around 3 hours of walking time but I was here far too early. It was 9:30 with half an hour to wait until opening so I sat outside in spits of rain reading the map. My original plan had been to camp on the Eildons the previous night and camp around Harestanes tonight but as I said, the plan was 'oot the windae' and I was enjoying just walking and seeing where I ended up. I'd spied a likely wild camp spot at the top of Dere Street in a narrow strip of native woodland on the other side of the Jedfoot bridge so I thought I'd toddle up there after brunch and check it out, then take it from there. So after a hearty repast of soup and baguette and a water refill from the big free walkers' jugs in the fridge I headed off back along to the route and down into the trees along the banks of the Teviot.

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Across the shoogly suspension bridge which sheletered two swans and their five cygnets dozing cutely in a squiggly line and along the field edges of Monteviot House. It was a wonderful walk to the Jed Water then up to the bridge on the A698 and finishing up the steep and stony Dere Street, past the junction with the Borders Abbeys Way to the narrow strip of woodland. It was a bit overgrown but if I really had to, I could have bedded down for the night on a small patch of grass in front of the bench. Instead I sat here and took my shoes and socks off to freshen my feet in the strong wind that shook the trees and turned their leaves alternately green and silver as it flipped them this way and that. My left foot was fine but my right one was getting a bit of a bashing so I slapped some Compeeds on it and headed off into the trees. When I'd been checking the map at Harestanes the route to Cessford looked fine and I reasoned, well, if I get to Cessford I might as well go on to Morebattle and take it from there. Who knows, I could even end up in Kirk Yetholm tonight! In fact, if it hadn't been for a combination of a complaining right foot and deteriorating weather I would most probably have ended up there. A 27 mile day!

I loved the walk to Cessford though. The path twisted and turned this way and that, through swaying native woodland, along field edges where the wind swished shadows off to the horizon across swaying crops and the sound of it hitting the next wood came to my ears as the pleasantest of sounds. Steeply down to grassy dells where horses grazed and cattle lazed and sheep watched inquisitively. Steeply up short cropped greenest of grass to wind blasted cottages and dancing trees. Steepest of tarmac single track from a lonely cottage to another dancing wood. Dancing to the rythmn of the racing wind. It was another marvellous day to be walking this wonderful earth. I grinned from ear to ear the whole way.

Eventually I reached Cessford and its ruinous castle and turned left for the road slog into Morebattle. Where the minor road met the main I met my first walkers of the route. Almost three days without seeing another soul. It was sheer bliss. More road slog into Morebattle and I reached the Templehall Inn which was full and the rain began to pelt down and the wind to rise to a roaring crescendo. It was time for a plan.

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As I geared up outside in the rain I contemplated the route to Kirk Yetholm. It was the highest part of the whole way, open and exposed. In fact the highest point was called Wideopen Hill no less! But hey, I'm an ML for goodness sake and it's only 370m or thereabouts and the Trailstar can handle anything. I'd harboured a desire to camp on its summit since I'd seen this part of the route on the map but my foot was the problem. I wanted to sort it. Just then a local woman came out for a smoke and we exchanged pleasntries in the rain.
'You're the gentleman looking for accommodation?'.
'Yes, thinking of camping up the road. I was meant to be at Harestanes tonight!'.
'Harestanes? You're a bit away from there! Come in and he'll phone a B&B up the road, see if they've got a bed. They'll come and get you.'.
So I went back in and we ended up having a good old natter. She was a charming old gal in the 'chefing' business so she said and her man was a programmer. I dreaded having to talk shop but so was he it turned out! There was no-one in when they phoned the B&B and I spotted the bus timetable on the wall. The barmaid helped me decipher the 'is it a school holiday, school day, neither of those, so it must be one of these' mess of days and times and the plan materialsed. I'd get the 4:30 bus to Kirk Yetholm and pitch up in the campsite. Nice shower, clean up and sort the foot. Get the bus back in the morning and continue on the route. Simples!

But Mrs. Cheffing Business and her man offered me a lift into Town Yetholm as they were going that way so we all piled into their car and headed off, arriving into Town Yetholm past Gnome Central where hundreds? thousands? millions? of brightly coloured gnomes had taken over a garden on the edge of town. This place looked interesting! They dropped me opposite the Plough Inn which I briefly considered checking in to but walked round the corner, past the camp site where the owner couldn't believe I was walking in sandals and he tried to entice me in with the offer of hot showers and flat pitches but I headed down across the bridge into Kirk Yetholm to see where the next night's accommodation was. I was booked into B&Bs for the Wednesday and Thursday nights. I found it and spied one next to it with vacancies. It looked a bit posh so I looked it up on the old internetty on the phone on Tripadvisor to check it out. Looked great. Great reviews, good price. But something niggled at me. It was drizzling, it was quite cold now and the wind was still howling down from the Cheviots but the air was alive with birds. The trees were swaying in the wind and I could smell the mixture of wet vegetation and freshly mown grass. I was outside, in the great outdoors and I wanted to stay that way. I headed for the camp site, handed over my 7 quid and had a good shower and sorted the foot.



St. Cuthbert's Way, Day Three, Morebattle to Kirk Yetholm, 7 miles.

"Ah'm no lookin' forward tae today at a'".
No response from the croaky voiced old woman.
The stocky red faced local man had arrived at the bus stop in Town Yetholm with his collie cross on a short bit of blue rope. It looked like someone had wrapped a dug in a rug with holes for its legs and two peep holes for its eyes. Old faithful. He had a big brown battered leather bag with lighter coloured beige corners and an old rucksack not from any recognisable outdoor brand. His rug growled at a passing scrag bag of a dog out for a walk with its owner.

"It's goin' tae be the day fae hell so it is.", he continued, still with no reaction from the croaky voiced woman. I knew she was croaky voiced as she'd asked me if I was going to Kelso and when I replied Morebattle she beckoned me over to her side of the road where the bus would arrive.

"Ah wouldn't have let 'im leave without you son!' she smiled. It was then the stocky red faced man had turned up.

"Going tae see ma mither", he continued. This got a response.
"Aye?", she croaked.
"Can't stand goin' tae Edinburgh". Judging by the size of his bag he was going for a considerable stay with his mother. I wondered what the dog thought of Edinburgh.

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Just then another woman appeared from behind the shop in a wonderfully hippy zig zag pattern ankle length dress. She was about half the age of the croaky lady and they started chatting, not taking any notice of red faced man who was now deep in contemplation of his visit to Auld Reekie.

"At's five weeks withoot ma voice", croaky lady croaked at zig zag lady. "It's the fermers an' their stuff. Gets me every year. They put it oan the fields an' ma voice goes.". She then reeled off a list of pills and potions she was on in a vain attempt to restore her agriculturally suppressed vocal chords. It didn't occur to her that maybe the fag she stubbed out as the bus arrived might have had anything to do with her predicament.
Zig Zag, Croaky and Red Face and the Rug got on and the driver, a Pete Posilthwaite lookalike very cheerily took two pounds sixty from me for the short ride to Morebattle.

The previous night I'd phoned the B&B and arranged to dump most of my gear there in the morning, after spending the night at the camp site. I'd then catch the bus back to Morebattle and walk over Widepoen Hill to Kirk Yetholm with a light pack and check in to the B&B later in the day. A bit complicated but it worked a treat. Pete Posilthwaite waved me off the bus very very cheerily at the Templehall Inn and I wandered up the road, ecstatic at being out on the route again, next to wild flowers and hedges. The weather had cleared up, it was starting to get warm and I had a short day with a light pack ahead of me, over the highest part of the route. Up into the hills. I was excited!

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After a shortish road plod I turned left over the wooden footbridge and began the ascent of Grubbit Law. With the wind behind me it was far too hot and I sweated like 'a fat Elvis on a squash court' to borrow a phrase from In The Thick Of It. I passed a nice couple who I'd meet later on the route and pushed on for Wideopen Hill, past some lovely horses and fantastic views of the Cheviots. About an hour and a half after leaving the bus I topped out at 368m, the highest part of the whole route and the halfway point. The views were immense back to the Eildons and I felt a real sense of achievement in walking all the way from those bumps on the horizon. Ahead, Kirk Yetholm was almost close enough to touch in comparison while to the south, fold upon fold of rolling green hills stretched to the misty horizon. Low clouds drifted around the tops of the highest but here it was clear and the angle of the dry stone walls meant I was sheltered as I lay down and snacked. My first thought upon arriving at the top had been along the lines of 'damn! I could have camped up here last night!'. If it hadn't been for my foot, which was now much happier after a hot shower and new Compeed, I could have loaded up with water at the inn and been up here in no time at all. Battened down the Trailstar hatches and enjoyed a night on the highest top on the route. It would have been pretty grim though to be honest. All night in the campsite I could hear blasts of wind roaring down through the trees before hammering into the tarp and shaking it and blowing underneath. Yes, it would have been a grim night indeed up here. But still, I wanted to camp here! Oh well, next time if I ever come this way again.

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The descent to Kirk Yetholm was sublime, following dry stone walls and getting used to the 'Cheviot ascent/descent'. I came to name these bits in that way as they are very particular. They are very steep and short and very green. Short sharp ascents/descents. The Cheviot way of doing things. The last bit of path was down an absolutely beautiful green lane fringed with trees to the minor road that led me to Primsidemill and the chickens on the other side of the fence and hedge that I could have watched for hours! I love chickens. They're so idiosyncratic. One was just standing there, watching me. Another was rolling around in the dirt while the one behind it scratched and pecked at some more dirt. The scrape the rolling one was in was wide enough for another one to lie in, unfortunately forming a feathery bridge across it, which the others occasionally used, resulting in a feathery kerfuffle for a few seconds and everything would settle down until the next one used the 'bridge'. It was wonderful to watch.

I had to back track a bit after walking straight past the enormous St. Cuthbert's Way sign just before Town Yetholm as the route turns off here and bypasses the town and makes straight for Kirk Yetholm along lovely green lanes and fields, popping out at the bridge and conveniently close to my B&B. I'd originally planned to camp all the way but thought it would be nice to have a bit of luxury half way. Get a clean up and nice bed. A nice meal. So I'd booked into The Farmhouse at Kirk Yetholm which turned out to be superb. I'd managed to blag the last room in the place, with a jacuzzi no less for a very reasonable sum so I'd also booked an evening meal and a 'top nosh' packed lunch for the next day. Well I wasn't disappointed. The evening meal was leek and potato soup followed by fantastic sea bass and finished off with cheese and coffee. It was all I could do to stagger back to my room and relax in luxurious comfort. The owners are very very friendly and helpful and the lady of the house's cooking is superlative. I'd thoroughly recommend it as a half way treat.

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Before I was treated to these delights though, I sat on the green at the end of the Pennine Way and watched the swallows hoover up the insects at what seemed a hundred miles an hour and only an inch or two above the grass. Some of them came close enough to me I could have reached out and touched them if they hadn't been travelling at the speed of light.

Back at the B&B I ungeared, hung up my sleeping bag and put the tarp in the bath (after a shower of course) and tended to my right foot. The jacuzzi beckoned but I didn't want to soften my feet too much so just plumped for the shower and let the gear dry after a wild night in the camp site. There had been a slight, almost imperceptible slope where I'd pitched the tarp and although it didn't leak in the heavy wind driven rain, the water had run off and run down the slight slope to get half way inside and soak some of my gear. Oh well, such is the way of it. I'll know next time. Some folk use a custom groundsheet for half of the Trailstar but I felt that adding anything to it would have detracted from its 'tarpness' and if you're going to carry bits and bobs to add to it to make it more comfortable you might as well take a tent. I did have a 'door' for it which sort of blocks the view into it if you pitch it with a narrow entrance. I'd got it to keep the 'bonglies' out when using a camp site but in the end I didn't use it. Here, I'd pitched it with the front against the shower block so no-one could see in anyway while the last night's camp was, well, more of that later. No-one was definitely going to see in there.

So I spent a peaceful and very quiet night in the B&B, dreaming of the route to come and the hearty breakfast awaiting me in the morning.

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St. Cuthbert's Way, Day Four, Kirk Yetholm to Wooler, 13 miles.

After a hearty breakfast at The Farmhouse at Kirk Yetholm, which I can't recommend enough, I set off along the road to the village green and had a look at The Singing Donkeys Hostel where old boots come to live out their retirement years. There's a nice interview with the lady who runs the hostel in Cameron McNeish's Scotland End to End book. In fact the B&B had a signed copy of it which I was reading at dinner (being the only bod there at the time) and took it back to the room as it was such a good read. Long distance walks are highly personal things I think. You can only get a hint of what they're like from reading accounts but now and again you get a book that strikes a chord and you recognise traits, habits and such that you can identify with. The End to End book was one such account as I chuckled at the description of the borders sections and the author's occasional like for luxury. Yes. Ten years ago I would have camped the whole way, bivvied even but these days a nice B&B goes down a treat. Also, there's an interesting section in the book about The Gypsy Palace in Kirk Yetholm which I walked past next. Where the gypsy king and queen used to live. It's a famous place and a lovely wee cottage.

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Wildflowers, hedges and an amusingly sited enormous dunghill (just behind a bench!) made the short road tramp to the Halter Burn bearable where I struck off up the path across Green Humbleton and up to the border with England. I knew it was up here somewhere but it took me by surprise as I was so engrossed in the wide Cheviots vista and so I said to myself 'that's a weird gate' before spotting the Scotland/England signs! Now you might not believe this or perhaps you think it's hyperbole but literally, as soon as I 'crossed the border' the sun came out and a skylark piped me into England. I dared not repeat the crossing in the other direction for fear of a piper appearing from the wind blasted heather and the rain returning! But the sunshine was brief, the wind whipped up and I was blown down the other side grinning from ear to ear at the fantastic views.

I mused on the possible future for the border after the Scottish independence vote in September 2014. Would it have barbed wire and a sentry box with a wee man in a big hat saying "passports, puleeze!"?. Would I need a passport to get across it in a couple of years' time? Depends which way the vote goes I suppose but going by the euphoria engendered by Andy Murray winning Wimbledon in 2013, Alex Salmond will be wishing for a repeat performance next July. That would tie in nicely with his plans for a Yes vote. Look what the Scots can accomplish! I must say I had to laugh though. I got back from the walk the day before Wimbledon so settled down with a beer to watch it and the wily Alex didn't miss a trick. After Andy had very deservedly taken the title, 'wee Eck' was filmed waving a Scottish saltire directly behind Prime Minister David Cameron! 'It was in the wife's bag" he pleaded, with that sly look on his canny political face.

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The route then headed past Eccles Cairn and down to the forest at Tuppie's Silke, silke being the local word for a stream. The wind was roaring in the trees but inside the wood, all was dead, as is the norm in these close planted wastelands called pine forests. The only sound inside was the tired creaking of leaning trees, some rubbing against each other, trying to persuade the other to stay upright and not give up the ghost in this desolate dump. No birds sang as no birds could live there. Thankfully it was short lived and I soon met grass, bracken and real trees with real birds singing before popping out the other side onto a fantastic meadow that took me down to the road. The entire world was heading my way. The wind was swooshing past me blowing light and shade across the long grass, down to the burn and up the rounded green hills on the other side. There must have been a wind convention in Hethpool as all the elements seemed to be headed that way and in a great hurry too. As I romped through the meadow, alive with the elements, I was so happy I almost cried!

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Past the house at the road end and down the valley, I stopped for a picture as a lamb stood in the middle of the road, staring at me. Not moving, just staring. Curious, I thought. I hadn't spotted it when I took the picture but back home, looking at it again I could see four legs sticking up from the rushes at the side of the road. A 'cowpit yow'! As I drew near to the lamb it moved off a short distance and it was then I noticed the thrashing from the edge of the road and her mother upside down with her legs flailing. I didn't think she'd been 'cowpit' long as she wasn't bloated but she was starting to make choking sounds. At one point I thought she'd made it up but she just couldn't manage it. All the while her lamb looked on, not sure what to do. There was nothing for it. I got down next to her, hands under her back and rolled her over and shoved her up. She weighed an absolute ton but she came up just fine and without any outgassing so perhaps she really hadn't been down long. If they're down too long they just bloat up and end up suffocating or dying of heat exhaustion as they can't eat and therefore can't get their liquid intake. But she was fine now and she watched me all the way down the valley. I assumed maybe one of the big gusts had caught her unawares and toppled her.

I passed some ramblers heading up the valley and the farmer was making a right racket with some horrible machine thing that seemed to be ripping the gorse from the hillside. Didn't look good at all. Down at Hethpool I waited while another farmer on a quad bike chased his sheep off up the road with some help from a collie and after they'd gone, with a very cheery wave from him, I walked through the chemical fug left behind.

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I stopped to admire the beautiful views of the College Valley before following the diversion. They were clear felling on the route so they'd closed it and rerouted it along grassy paths across the meadows and woods to a secluded bridge before climbing back up to the route beyond the felling. Just before the bridge I walked between a couple of very large horses which was quite exciting but they didn't take much interest in me. A beautiful climb up to Torleehouse where I rested and had shoes and socks off for an airing. Spits of rain came and went and the wild rolling hills were scoured by far off grey showers. They say Kirk Yetholm to Wooler is the toughest section, presumably as you have a double climb. First up to the border then from Hethpool up to the moors above Wooler but it wasn't overly strenous.

From Torleehouse in its fantastic location I wandered up the path past Yeavering Bell to the moors around Tom Tallan's Crag where I stopped for a bite to eat just as a 'Cheviot' shower blew in. Short and sharp. Waterproofs on I huddled down and munched contentedly. I wasn't complaining as all the muddy stretches were bone dry so far and the weather had been invigorating. Perfect for walking. Not too hot and not too cold. Just right.

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The route from Tom Tallan's Crag felt like the remotest part of the whole route. In the distance the Cheviot hunkered under a blanket of cold grey cloud and showers swept in on a strong cold wind. Everywhere was heathery brown ochre apart from patches of dense bog cotton which danced in the wind and looked for all the world like strings of fairy lights, so bright were they against the dark of the heather. The path wound on and on over the endless moors, round an intriguing depression at Gains Law before stretching over to Coldberry Hill and down to the car park below Browns Law. It was a bleak and remote section with most of the views obscured by low cloud and rain. Open and exposed it felt like a more serious proposition if you had to stop out here for any reason. Beautifully stark on the day but on a warm sunny day I could imagine a sky full of skylarks although it was traversed by 'grouse boards'. Those awful vertical wooden walls behind which grouse shooters crouch in anticipation of killing grouse. All along that part of the route there were grouse feeders. Two sided compartments full of what looked like gravel. A stone held one side shut while the other was open to the elements and I wondered why they didn't just blast them while they ate. That's what they do to pheasants isn't it?

From the car park, deserted apart from an old man reading his paper in his car, I headed off up into the woods on lovely grassy paths that wound incessantly this way and that and I found it quite difficult in places to follow the route. I did in fact head off in the wrong direction at one point but a quick glance at the GPS (shame!, fraudster!) and I saw where I'd gone wrong on the map (hoorah! not a fraudster!) and got back on track. One thing that got my hackles up was a path into another wood with a dirty great 'no pedestrian access' sign next to it! I mean, no pedestrian access? Who the blue blazes do these people think they are? Well this is England though and you have to slot in as best you can. There was plenty of access land which I'd crossed and was marked as such on the ground via handy 'Access Land' signs but this was taking the ****. A path into a forest that no-one was allowed to walk? Apart from the dictator who put the sign up no doubt. I mused on carrying a mountain bike up here just so I could say, when collared by the long arm of the landed law, 'Unhand me you forelock tugging fool. I'm not a pedestrian!'.

Anyway, deep breath, calm down, continue on down the grassy path. Nothing to see here, moving along now sir.

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I popped out of the confusing path system near Wooler next to the lovely wee cottage and headed off down the rough road towards the town until I heard a kerfuffle in the hedgerow. At this point the adjacent field was a few feet above the level of the road and I found myself staring eyeball to eyeball with a black face lamb, its head stuck in the rylock fencing. It stared back at me and made a feeble attempt to back away, caught fast in that awful fencing. I made to dump the sack and get up and sort it (don't worry, I've freed many a sheep from rylock) but before I could get to it, it went completely mental and through violent contortions managed to free itself and run off into the field. I learned early on not to try to free them from behind as they can push surprisingly far through a small rylock square. I've seen a fully formed sheep squeeze half way through. Wool bunched up alarmingly on one side while the other was almost pencil thin! I hate that fencing. It usually kills them as they try to feed on grass on the other side, get their heads caught such that they have to stand up and eventually when they tire, they slump and are strangled. But well, that's what farmers use. And to be honest, what can you do with these creatures? Use rylock and they garott themselves, use that other kind, with the parallel strands and no verticals and it eventually becomes so loose they just walk through it. Near the end of the walk I watched as three or four sheep came and went through just such a fence.

Having notched two sheep saves I arrived at the top end of Wooler and plodded down the grass at the side of the road into town where I installed myself at the cafe on the right, opposite the church and ordered a nice latte, cheesy scone and a four pint jug of water, which I drained. I then made for my next B&B, Cheviot View which was very nice indeed. I met the owner and Barney the cat, who we both agreed was the real owner and who ran the place, as well, Barney is a cat after all.

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I spent the evening wandering around the lovely town of Wooler, munching on a pretty rank fish and chips but the church grounds were really nice. The town seemed to be composed of a high level housing scheme which stretched up the hill, a main road and more modern housing at the bottom with a nice, traditional main street sandwiched between. A real main street. With real, independent shops and a not bad co-op. There was even an outdoor shop opposite the B&B but not for me as it was 'Gear for Girls'. It was great to see so many nice, real, proper shops.

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St. Cuthbert's Way, Day Five, Wooler to Beal, 13 miles.

Full to the brim once more with a hearty breakfast from Cheviot View B&B I strode along the main street, down past the church, across the main road, past the housing estate and out of town on a steep tarmac road that deposited me onto the grassy path onto Weetwood Moor. At first it was bracken well above head height obscuring the views and trapping the early morning heat making it hot work but eventually I popped out onto the wide open moor full of wild flowers and long swaying grass.

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It was a wonderful walk across the moor with stupendous views back over Wooler to the Cheviots while ahead, green rolling farmland stretched as far as the eye could see. A curious dip in the landscape in the near distance was surrounded by low wooded hills where St. Cuthbert's Cave lay hidden. Engrossed by the views and the singing of the numerous skylarks I missed the turning point next to a wood and only noticed it when I decided to stop for a picture. Back on route, skirting round the trees, across a rough field and round another plantation where sheep lazed in the steadily increasing heat. Back into the deep bracken for the steep descent to Weetwood Bridge where the English army crossed the Till on its way to the battle of Flodden. The view back to Wooler and the Cheviots was grand but ahead lay a rather long road slog to East Horton, albeit with nice views of the enclosing farmland. I was hoping for a path beyond East Horton but as I turned right onto the next section I saw it was more of the same. Tarmac road slogging. The WWII pill box was an interesting aside though and beyond it, at a corner the tarmac finally stopped and the road became a rough and stony landrover track.

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I passed a chap heading the other way. He said it had taken him four hours from the Lindisfarne causeway to here and he was making for Kirk Yetholm where he was joining the Pennine Way down to Edale. What an adventure! We chatted for a while about the weather and the route and he pointed out St. Cuthbert's Cave far off in the woods on the skyline. Like me, he hadn't seen many people on the route but I warned him there were quite a lot behind me, who I spied coming off Weetwood Moor while I crossed the bridge. Thankfully they never caught up and it was another solitary section for me.

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On down the rough track, aross the Herton Burn and up to the main road and the sign that said 'Wooler 6.5 miles'. I thought 'hmmm, pretty good going'. I continued up the minor road before branching off into the gorgeous fields of swaying grass that led me onto a narrow green lane up to the wood. Turn left here and into the next forest of native trees and there was St. Cuthbert's Cave a very short distance from the path. Time for lunch! I reflected over my tasty co-op baguette on the history of the place, where over a thousand years ago the monks had carried St. Cuthbert's body to this cave to esacape those viking nutters who were laying waste to everything they got ruffian their hands on. It must have been a nice way to live, bimblimg around your monastery, growing your own food, helping folk out and generally being nice to all and sundry. Until that bunch of good for nothing wasters arrived in a fleet of annoying boats and burnt, killed or carried off everyone and everything. Lots have been written about the heroic exploits of the vikings, their battles, their myths, their curiously amusing nicknames, their testosterone fuelled fighting spirit but at the end of the day, when all you want to do is settle down and enjoy the good things in life, they're just a pain in the arse.

The whole situation was a double edged sword for places like Lindisfarne. In order to protect themselves they armed themselves but this put them in the firing line of that Waster of Wasters, Henry (I'll just create my own religion and help myself to the fruits of your hard labour) VIII and his manic greed for monastic lands and income. The smaller ones, with an income under 200 pounds a year, he gobbled up almost straight away (no doubt burping loudly in the process) while he bided his time on the others. Eventually when the nut jobs across the north sea went elsewhere for their murderous pastimes the monasteries who were armed suddenly appeared on his medieval radar. "Oh yes, armed are we? And what are we planning to do with our arms? Not attack the king surely? I'll just take over your monastery, just to be on the safe side you understand. Oh and you won't be needing the walls or the roof either. So you won't be needing the furniture? No didn't think so.".

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Anyway, with such dichotomous thoughts in my head I plodded off up the hill and onto the wide fields near Shiellow Wood, where a very large sign proclaimed an imminent wind farm. No, I won't. I won't get started! This is an account of a very enjoyable long distance walk. I'll save the wind farm polemics for another time. There was a hint of irony in the situation though. The ground in front of the sign seemed to have been cleared, including some gorse, presumbly so folk could see it in all its magnificence. What were they trying to say? "Hands off our ground. It's ours to destroy, not your's".

I crossed the wide fields full to the brim of sheep, through the double gates and up the hill heading for the track into Shiellow Wood. Sheep were milling around, not moving much they were so tame, apart from one. She was lying on her side and at first I thought she was just resting in the heat as it was far too hot now but she was on her side and my heart sank when I saw she'd prolapsed and a huge pink mass was protruding from her end. She was painfully thin and from the look of her ribs she hadn't been able to eat for some time. There was nothing I could do for her. I stopped to consider the situation. If she was 'cowpit' I could sort that but that huge pink mass spelt her undoing. She raised her head and flicked her ears then lay down again in the broiling heat. My heart sank even further. There was no farmer to summon. No-one who could help. Farms these days are enormous and they just expect some will die unattended. The fact her ribs were showing meant the farmer hadn't been near this lot in a while. I hoped he'd show up soon and perhaps do something. I've heard of them being able to shove the whole lot back in but if I tried that it would probably not end happily for either of us. I knew she wouldn't have long to go in this heat as she couldn't feed to get moisture from the grass. When you see a dead sheep up on the hill it's not a sad sight. Best to go up there than crammed into a truck with a hundred others, driven without food or water for several hours on noisy bone grindingly bumpy roads, electrically stunned, hung upside down and having your throat slit in an abbatoir. But she was in a pitiful state. But it's nature. I hoped the heat would finish her quickly as the farmer was certainly not that interested.

It was a muted walk through Shiellow Wood after that as I tried to think of other things but the conifer tedium didn't help much. I passed a clearing with a high chair for someone to watch for fire. I wondered why you wouldn't just let a place like this burn. Nothing seemed to live in it, it was so closely planted. Eventually it did perk up as the conifers spread out and the path followed the wood edge with occasional glimpses of Lindisfarne in the distance.

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Eventually I reached Fenwick but no nice tearoom or even a shop. The roar of the A1 at the bottom of the main street made me think it was a dormitory town for Newcastle or something although it was a pleasant little place. I didn't much like the crossing of the A1, trying to time it between the two streams of traffic but once across it became quieter again. Turning left at the houses I headed up a beautiful green lane up onto the low ridge, turning right on the rough track then left down the field edge to the main west coast railway line. A sign warned of death for all! As I stepped across the stile a Virgin Pendolino screamed past at enormous speed with its wheels at eye level. Prior to that, one had passed as I was heading down the field and I noticed how quiet it was in comparison with the roar of the traffic on the A1. I lifted the phone which automatically dialled the signalman. I read off the name on the phone, Fenham Hill and he checked nearby trains.
"How many walkers are you?".
"One.".
"OK. Go now. If you're quick you should be fine".
Two other walkers arrived as I hung up! I shouted to them "He says it's ok if we're quick!" and we all rushed across the narrow boardwalk across the two main lines.

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The path then crossed the muddy Beal Cast water course, across a field of healthy sheep (thank goodness) and down to the sea to finish the last couple of hundred metres to the causeway between two lines of WWII tank blocks.

The heat was intense as the sun blazed from a clear sky and the sea sparkled in the distance. I was almost there but the tide wouldn't turn for another three hours so I flopped down and leaned against one of the posts that marked the road edge.

It was fairly early in the afternoon and I fancied finishing the walk that day but I needed accommodation. There's no camping allowed on the island and I really couldn't be bothered with the aggro if discovered so I got out the phone, fired up the internet and had a look at the Lindisfarne web site. It was pretty bad. I kept getting 'server not available due to load' errors and it was clear something was afoot. Every hotel and B&B on the island I phoned was booked solid. Apparently there was something to do with the gospels on and the place was chock-a-block. I had a pleasant chat with a nice girl pushing her grandmother (I presume) in her wheelchair. She was going to walk St. Cuthbert's Way soon and I said she'd love it. Eventually the heat got too much and I had to go back to the original plan of camping at The Barn At Beal, a mile up the road. They'd recently started accepting tents in their field and they had a shower and toilets and the restaurant had good reviews so it was no hardship to stick to Plan A. The impromptu Plan B was simply not possible due to the influx of tourists. At least I didn't have to road slog as the Coast and Castles cycle route goes alongside it on the other side of the hedge so I followed that up to the barn. Man it was hot though. When I got there I was glistening (luckily I'd bought sun cream in Wooler co-op) and when I went in and walked up to the bar someone behind me said, "you look warm sir!". The understatement of the year!

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I paid my seven pounds fifty, collected the shower/toilet key and went across the car park to the field. You can camp either in the fenced off area adjacent to the entrance or on the other side of the hedge on a narrow strip of grass that edges the barley field. I chose the latter as it had stunning views of Lindisfarne. You're higher up than the coast so you can see for miles. It's a fantastic place to camp. I decided to keep my distance though and pitched the Trailstar well to the left, nearer the far end where the grass runs out. Further over, car campers were setting up the 'party tent'. It was enormous and took them several attempts to get it up.

That evening I had a celebratory meal in the restaurant. The best tomato and basil soup I have ever tasted, followed by divine lemon sole stuffed with crab and finished off with crumbly chocolate brownie and sumptuous ice cream. At the start of the meal the lady asked if I'd like anything to drink so I ordered the usual vat of tap water to rehydrdate with and also a bottle of any local real ale they may have. Timothy Taylor's Landlord she said. I was camping next to the barley they grew that was used to make it. I'll have that then and my oh my what a fine ale it was! I toasted my walk, thanked the very friendly staff, leaving nice comments in their book and staggered back to the tarp.

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It was too early to bed down so I lay outside and 'kindled' as the sun sank behind me and the evening air cooled. Swallows flew low and fast over the barley tops and LBJs landed on the full heads, swaying around and squabbling with each other. Far off a curlew called. It was a fantastic evening. With the advancing hours and dropping temperatures I went for a short stroll to watch the sun set then crawled into my bag, anticipation building for the final day.

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As I dozed off I looked across to Lindisfarne and its winking lighthouse, enticing me across. The sky was a cool blue in the simmer dim and the tarp was full of the heady aroma of the barley. Yet again, it was a fine night to be alive.


St. Cuthbert's Way, Day Six, Beal to Lindisfarne, 6 miles.

4am and my bladder was bursting after a fine evening's dining the night before at The Barn At Beal restaurant. I grabbed the toilet block key and made a brisk walk, trying not to look desperate, up to the toilets. Not that anyone was awake at this hour. Duly relieved I went back to the tarp and lay for another half hour watching the sky lighten then thought, what the heck, let's do it. So at 5am I was up and away. I tip toed past the other tents, past the car campers' party tent, a mess of extra large Cobra beer bottles (empty of course), fag packets (again, empty) and other stuff lying around. I was sure they had a telly in there too. Those awful foil BBQ things seemed to be popular as the ground was covered with perfectly square burned patches, where grass would no longer grow. It's a shame really. The restaurant is superb and they've gone out of their way to accommodate tents, which in this area means a lot. Camp spots here are like hens' teeth but these party campers just don't give a damn. I hope it all settles down and they make a successful go of the camping. It's perfectly sited for Lindisfarne and makes a wonderful place to celbrate the end of the walk, almost. Still another six miles to go.

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I followed the path down to the causeway and started walking. The sun was just rising over the vast sand flats of the bay. The tide had gone only an hour or so before so the flats glistened brightly in the early morning. With the road edges flush with what was technically the sea bed and vast distances of shining sand on either side it was like walking on the surface of another planet. I reached the start of the pilgrims' path, marked by numerous poles, stretching into the far distance. It was a dilemna. Should I follow the poles? Should I just stick to the road? The tide times were for the road and not the 'path' which could be under water for up to two hours either side of the safe crossing times for the road and I wanted to get across and not hang around until it was absolutely safe to cross via the path. So the road it was. Just then I met two walkers coming in from the sand flats to the north and exchanged 'good mornings' and they proceeded to pull two whisky bottles from their packs. One full, the other half full, or half empty depending on your life view. The amber liquid glowed in the light of the rising sun and the wee Irish chap in the broad hat was very pleased indeed. A real character and I wished them good luck on their crossing. They were clearly about to have their breakfast. A liquid one for one of them I guessed.

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It was a long haul along the road but at least it was deserted and I only encountered a couple of cars heading across and a motorbike heading off the island. He gave me a wide berth and we nodded to each other. There was a curious sound filling the air all the way across that I assumed was seals singing from the bay. It was very loud and I could hear it over the growing traffic and train noise on the mainland. When I eventually reached the village, the streets were full of the singing but I forgot to ask what it was. But I'm pretty sure it was seals.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=4K-s-hsCq4Q

7:30am and everything was shut and quiet. Best time to be there in fact. It must have been at least that time as I went into the church for a look and there was a service on, which, according to the notice, started at 7:30. I kept quiet up the back as the handful of worshippers did what they do then I silently left and had a bite to eat in the shade of the ancient building.

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Earlier I'd stopped to ask if the cafe was open(!). No was the answer (obviously!) but the lady who was cleaning it offered to make me a coffee anyway. I thanked her but declined and went on my way and a while later I spotted another cafe. Again, it was shut and again I was offered a coffee to keep me going. What a pleasant place!

Eventually the Oasis Cafe opened and I ordered two bacon rolls and a large mug of coffee and sat in the grub garden with my bare feet attracting the birds and ate my fill and suddenly realised I'd finished not only my bacon rolls but also the walk!

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I reflected on the wonderful journey I'd had. Across fields, over wind swept hills and moors. The people I'd met, the animals I'd helped, or not. It wasn't just sheep you know. Back in the B&B in Kirk Yetholm, when I'd been packing up the tarp I spotted a wee spindly long legged spider lying flattened in a pool of water on the bath edge. He must have been trapped in the tarp and ended up in the water when I'd put it in the bath but they're tough wee buggers. So I picked him up by one leg and he instantly came to life and wrapped his other legs round my finger and began to sort himself out. Once he was a bit more presentable I put my finger on the floor and he wobbled off it and scurried under the bed. Good luck to you little fellow I thought! There was also the fly buzzing around helplessly in a pool of shower water at Beal. So I picked him up by his wing (carefully now) and he jumped onto my finger, again sorted himself out then he jumped off and walked out under the door! So I was two sheep, a spider and a fly up. One sheep down sadly.

There will no doubt be lots of people who will cry 'but let nature take its course. You shouldn't interfere.' and therein lies the problem. We ARE nature. We're not divorced from the natural world, we're part of it. It just so happens we have something called compassion. It's an enormously powerful faculty, largely denied to other creatures (if you believe the 'experts') although try watching a lamb sit next to its dead mother for days, or elephants mourning the loss of one of the group and you'll scoff at these 'experts'. I truly believe that if we're passing by and something is in distress, distress that's in our power to end, then we should end it, if at all possible. We should help a fellow denizen of nature for we are all part of the natural world. Use that extra faculty to give something a helping hand.

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I drained the last of my coffee, strapped my sandals on to my happy feet and made for the bus stop. I was headed home, back to Skye. Island to island after one of the best journey's I've ever made.
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Re: St. Cuthbert's Way, July 2013

Postby raykilhams » Fri Jul 12, 2013 9:28 pm

Did this walk a couple of years ago in April , had good weather too. Walked from Holy Island to Melrose staying at Waverly Castle Hotel for a couple of days to finish . Temp. in Melrose 22c , good weather plus great scenery. Enjoyed your report brought back happy memories. Off to walk the Pennine Way tomorrow 13th July hoping for reasonable weather.
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Re: St. Cuthbert's Way, July 2013

Postby denfinella » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:17 pm

Fantastic story - spent a good hour reading it in bed on my phone this morning! It's all the little things which your report is full of which "make" a walk, and I agree with so many of your sentimentations (although I haven't made up my mind on wind farms yet!). Thanks for posting!
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Re: St. Cuthbert's Way, July 2013

Postby mrssanta » Sun Jul 14, 2013 6:19 pm

ooh that was a really lovely account, could smell the flowers, feel the wind and the rain. Superb.
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Re: St. Cuthbert's Way, July 2013

Postby stravaiger » Tue Jul 16, 2013 10:34 am

thanks for the kind replies! It was a trip to remember :D
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Re: St. Cuthbert's Way, July 2013

Postby caromiri » Sat Oct 03, 2020 9:11 pm

Love the report - did you get a lot of midges that time of the year ?
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