Earlier in the month I got a postcard, it was a picture of a pig in Bath – and I just had to check it out.
On the way to my first day at work for quite a while, and I thought I must have been dreaming. Waiting quietly on platform 9 at Clapham Junction (reputed to be Britain’s Europe’s busiest railway station) and all of a sudden the ‘Duchess of Sutherland‘ came steaming into the station.
Well the time has finally come, I am back in employment again – though I am breaking myself in gently as it is a six month contract covering someone else’s leave. (EDIT March 2009 – have failed to escape the clutches of employment and work continues).
If you are wanting remoteness and to get away from it all – in a long distance walk – then the Southern Upland Way fits the bill perfectly. On most days I did not see another person out walking, though by reading some of the visitors books in the bothies there is a regular trickle of people using the route.
Tunnock’s Caramel Wafer is a bar of pure deliciousness, consisting of 5 layers of wafer as a way of separating 4 good layers of caramel – and completely covered in chocolate. It is then wrapped in a classy foil-paper wrapper, instead of the terrible plastic coatings that are nowadays often used.
It ran for a number of years, though the project has now finished (and no new merks are going to be minted) some kists remain, and a couple had merks when I completed the walk.
I found most of the kists, though some were only remains…
Thankfully after the tribulations of yesterday with transport I was back at Longformacus before 9am and heading quickly east. While it was only 17 miles to Cockburnspath I had to be there before the bus left in order to get to the B&B for the evening in Dunbar.
The path twisted and turned its way through farmland, then moorland, on its way to Abbey St Bathans and another suspension bridge over a river. It then continued passing several large farms until it reached the A1 and the East Coast Mainline Railway which both snaked through a deep valley. After crossing both it was then a long slow walk up hill through the final stretch of plantation forest before I caught my first glimpse of the North Sea.
The route was very twisting and turning on leaving Lauder, the straight Roman Roads of yesterday seem to have vanished. The views back towards Thirlstone Castle were also a bit disappointing due to the trees that surrounded it, so I turned to the east and headed uphill amongst the pasture and small patches of woodland.
To the south the sky looked blue with a few ranks of fluffy white clouds stretching out into the distance. Unfortunately overhead and to the east the sky was slate grey and occasional heavy drops of rain were getting more frequent.
The sky looked heavy with big lumps of dark black clouds, though with a few lighter patches and a positive forecast gave a bit of hope for a dry day – so I took my time over breakfast.
As I left the B&B in Melrose I had a brief thought of rejoining the Southern Upland Way here, but as the sky was brightening fast I caught the bus back to Galashiels. After a few twists and turns through the streets of the town I was back on track and heading around the town and back to Melrose.