Sometimes Marilyns are like little bits of food stuck in your teeth. They irritate you till you get rid of them. For instance, the two in the south Pentlands, they're too far to cycle, they're a waste of fuel to drive to, they've irregular public transport and they don't make a coherent route. So I've not reached them. But the Borders Railway has brought access to some other irritating particles. So I got the bus to Innerleithen and set out for Galashiels. In the end it was a kind of rambler's day rather than one for a hillwalker but it had its rewards.
I've always rated the Southern Uplands Way over the West Highland Way. It just takes you wilder places. Middle of the Lammermuirs, the back of Yarrow, they're fine and lonely. From Traquhair I picked up the Way but this isn't one of the lonely bits.
I passed through a gate adorned with names and stories of all the horses from the local Riding. It was cute. Then at the Cheese Well there was a piece of subsidised art. I'm not necessarily against it but it is, well, cheesy. The O marks in the heather are part of the installation.
There's also a sign outlining some of the history. I felt that the bit that read something like "After defeat at Philliphaugh, Montrose and his cavaliers retreated this way" should instead have read "After his incompetent showing at Philliphaugh, Montrose and his mates with horses shot the craw, leaving his gaelic troops to be massacred."
Minchmoor was shrouded in mist. I can't remember being there before but now it's littered like a mini Ben Nevis summit with piles of stonework and warning signs for cyclists. I'd guess the views are poorer but I couldn't see.
I'd encountered cyclists, DofE expeditions and now a couple, looking around 70, doing the same trip as me bar the Marilyns. They'd no map, just an article from a magazine and asked me to convert the expected distance from kilometres. They didn't seem fazed at the resulting number - good on them.
Next up was the Three Brethren, pictured here with small white friend From here Meigle Hill looks inconsequential but there was 300 metres reascent after crossing the Tweed. After leaving the SUW, this was the pleasantest walking of the day, good close-cropped grazing. The day had cleared and the omni-present Eildons appeared. That's a Marilyn I mean to get this month.
The summit of Meigle Hill gave a great vista of the Moorfoots, if you like that sort of thing. From there an excellent path goes straight down into Gala. I was going to take a picture of the town but it's dominated by a huge Curry's warehouse. I passed the Bridge Inn which looked rough but attractive, but the train was calling. The Borders Line's just wonderful compared with the morning's rattler from First Bus.
A week later I got Eildon. I was actually scurrying round the countryside on a bike carrying 6 litres of water for a horse on an endurance ride. Given the chance, I legged it up the two larger Eildons. That's really ticking behaviour.
On the other hand, I was totally shattered and got bollocked for neglecting my roadying duties.
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