I generally try to get out on the day the clocks change if I can, to stock up on light, and it seems to have become a tradition that I heard for the Borders at this time of year - it is a good place for looking at the autumn colours. So the obvious candidate for a reasonably short walk was Black Hill just outside Earlston, which I had almost walked to earlier in the year, and was easily combined with a visit to Scott's View
I had a bit of a mad rush to catch the first train - Sunday mornings aren't good hurrying time - but I made it, and then had a break at Galashiels while I waited for the Earlston bus - still quicker than waiting for the first bus down from Edinburgh. From Earlston the little road past the green leads out towards the hill, first through a small industrial estate and then through an awful lot of trees, before it opens out to fields again.
A signposted path avoids the farm track and yard, and then a lane between hedges turns off at right angles towards the hill.
There was no obvious path up the hill, although I knew there was one marked on the map - I took the path skirting round the foot of the hill to the right, which had a lovely view of autumn fields on the other side of the river.
I expected to find a path rising from it, but didn't, so I just turned up the slope - it was pretty steep but good grass, and I knew it wasn't very long. Further up I slanted up to the left, and came up onto the top just at the foot of the last climb to the summit, a nice rounded place with a trig point.
The view from the summit was the classic one for this part of the world of gently rolling fields and hills - and Eildon. The divided hill does stand out so remarkably from the rest that it's not really surprising that it's rumoured to be the result of magic rather than natural growth. But it was a nice view in all directions, with other hills lurking on the horizon - Dirrington Law one way, and Cheviot odds and ends another.
The far side was much more autumnal looking with the brown of ploughed fields.
From the top the descent on that side didn't look as steep as it did on the map, and I set off straight down, only to discover that the steep bit came later - I could have got down it if I had to, but since I didn't, I slanted downhill until it was easier. That brought me in line with a field boundary leading down to a lane, but the fence was all covered in chicken wire and so not easy to cross - I followed it back to the next field edge, where the fence was easy to cross but the edge wasn't easy to walk - fortunately it wasn't far to the track through the cluster of houses at The Park.
A long straight lane led on across the road in, briefly opened out to cross a field, and then became far more overgrown to lead up to the next small road.
Scott's View was well signposted, and I followed the roads up towards it. And it is impressive - another Eildon view, over a great loop in the Tweed which was almost invisible behind the steep hillside and the trees which clustered over it.
The course of the river is actually easier to pick out in that photo than it was in real life - I had to walk along to either side until I could see the river, to convince myself it was really there.
Although the colours were thoroughly autumn, it was a winter's day in the sense that having turned clear and sunny made it colder rather than warmer - I do love those kinds of days when I get to be out in them, but they're no use when I'm shut up inside and only let out once it's dark.
I followed the road on through Bemersyde until I came to the path leading towards the William Wallace statue - impressive in its way, but not at all what I was expecting - I thought it would be the usual Georgian classical type. And there doesn't seem to be any very good viewpoint for it, which is a shame - it's so surrounded by trees that you can only get a clear view from close below.
From Dryburgh I crossed the footbridge and walked up the road to the Newtown St Boswell's junction where I got the bus back to Galashiels - I could have caught an Edinburgh bus, but I'd come down by train so it made sense to go home that way. And from the train a gorgeous sunset almost made up for the fact that it was getting dark so early.
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