Thursday, March 1, 2007

Day 40 : Jedburgh to Melrose

Friday 23rd February 2007

Distance Walked: 15.6 miles
Start Time: 9:35
End Time: 15:05
Elapsed Time: 5:30
Weather: Gloomy. Bright. Gloomy again.
Distance walked so far: 774.1 miles

Without the wooden hoardings and the running and the screaming and the fear, Jedburgh is actually a very picturesque town, centred around its large ruined abbey, and with an attractive collection of colourful buildings. I’d been looking for something uniquely Scottish with which to justify the clich├ęs that have accumulated in my head but, apart from the haggis on the breakfast menu (which is actually delicious) and the change of bank notes, I’ve so far been disappointed. The only ludicrous ginger beard in sight is mine, and I gently escort it out of town as we take the back roads before linking up with the St Cuthbert’s Way at the River Teviot.

This long distance path runs all the way from Melrose to the coast (and beyond), linking the churches and abbeys that were apparently blessed with the holy guy’s presence and, though I don’t follow it religiously (ha!), the trip along today’s section was overwhelmingly positive. After the horrors of the Pennine Way's paths and markers, Cuthbert is comforting and reassuring. A real saint.

From the snowdrop-infused tracks by the river, to the long, straight and easy jaunt along Dere Street, and then the scoot through the villages by the River Tweed, it’s all pleasant and straightforward. Again, there’s nothing obviously Scottish about the experience. If anything, it feels like the Dales but, with the rain holding off, it’s a chance to recuperate and advance. A few miles are carved off the day by walking around, rather than over, the imposing Eildon Hills, and I’m into the small, historic midst of Melrose in time for afternoon cakes and evening beers. Sweet.

Song of the day:

“Dynamite Walls”

Miles away or just up ahead.
It doesn't matter what /
Any of us is looking for.
We'll never find it, because /
It's not even there.


Nicole said...

I love reading your entries, they remind me of a tour book, but with better humor. Keep up the good work!

Nik said...

Considering this time last year (or at least the time you read this) we were flying somewhere over Europe on route to New Zealand, which do you prefer? The Mountains, volcanoes, whales and dolphins of New Zealand or the blisters, limp and solitude of the LEJOG?

BTW, can you remove the picture of Steve, it freaks me out!

DaveG said...

Nik - Um, solitude, every time.

Nik said...

What I coincidence, I prefer your solitary journey to our trek across New Zealand too