Day 47

on Jul 5, 2010 | 4 comments

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Broadmeadows to Peebles

I spent yesterday evening sat in front of a log fire chatting with Donald – really nice chap. He gave me a tip on my route for this morning, telling me to head up Minchmoor Road instead of heading straight up the hill behind the hostel to pick up the Southern Upland Way again. Local knowledge is a great thing and I was very grateful for his help seeing as this was a last minute change of route to the hostel to break up a very long day’s walking.

I wasn’t alone in the hostel this time, there were two older couple staying there too. I had a dorm room to myself though so that wasn’t too much of a worry, except to get to the toilet the guys would have to come through my room.

I slept ok but quite early this morning – around 3:30am – one of the other guys came through my room to go to the tiolet. Not a problem, until after he switched the toilet light off and kind of got a little lost in my room and couldn’t find the door out. He got there in the end.

I dozed on and off after that, finally dragging my backside out of bed around 7:30am. Not having to work on a schedule in the morning because of a cooked breakfast does have its advantages. I did eat though, having managed to fit a packet of ready to eat pancakes in my pack. They were nice, not a patch on a decent cooked breakfast mind, and I felt better for having them. I’d made sure I had plenty of food in my pack after the other day so I wasn’t too worried about the day ahead.

I had a quick chat with everyone and got ready to leave. As I was doing so John, one of the chaps staying there last night, gave me a donation of £5. Unexpected and very much appreciated. Thanks John and Helen.

The weather was looking a lot better than yesterday, no rain and the wind had died right down. I was hoping it’d stay like this for the day as it would make the walking considerably easier and I certainly didn’t want a repeat of yesterday’s struggle to stay on my feet that’s for sure.

I headed down the track to the village to then head up the hill to pick up Minchmoor Road. It wasn’t exactly a road as you and I know it, more a grass track now, but it was used for over 800 years as the main route across Southern Scotland. The good thing about it was that although it went up hill, after the initial climb up to it, it was a reasonably gentle climb over a couple of miles. Donald reckoned that it took him about an hour and half to walk from the hostel to the sign post at the Southern Upland Way. A good target to meet for the morning.

It was a really nice walk over the hills and I made the sign in an hour and twenty minutes, and that taking the odd breather and taking a few photos. I was pleased with that. I found a suitable place to sit down for a few minutes and had a little snack to make sure I didn’t end up like I did the other day. The view was stunning and the sun had decided to come out a little bit.

Rested after the climb, and some fat and sugar consumed, I headed away from the stunning views in to Elibank and Traquair Forest for the next couple of miles. The path took me up almost to the top of Minch Moor where I walked past Cheese Well spring, a shrine at which in accordance with old custom offerings were made to the fairies of the hills. I don’t know if they actually gave cheese or not though.

A little further down the track I came across a bunch of circles in the heather; I was intrigued. I walked a bit closer and found a plaque which said that this was a sculpture called “Point of Resolution”. The sculpture is actually a conservation project, cutting back the heather to encourage new growth providing a better food source for the grouse in the area. Oh, and the circles aren’t actually circles. They’re actually irregular elongated ovals, the biggest being 150m long and 30m wide!

Out the other side of the forest I headed down to Traquair where, as it was about lunch time, I found a bench and took my pack and boots off to have something to eat. As I sat there a lady was doing some gardening in her front garden and we hat a little chat about the weather – it being much better than yesterday – and also about how lovely it is in the area. I told her that I envied her living with all the fantastic landscape right on her doorstep, and I do. I’d love to live somewhere like that – Scotland has so far been absolutely stunning.

After my lunch the second half of today’s walk was along the lane to Peebles. This was a seven and a half mile stretch and to be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to it. Lane walking was something I hadn’t really done too much of for a while so it really didn’t appeal.

As it turns out I really enjoyed it. The lane wasn’t too busy and when a car did come towards me they all moved over – unheard of! Also, a lot of it was spent walking along the River Tweed under the cover of some very large, old pine trees. They were huge!

At one point, when I was out of the cover of the trees I could see a band of rain coming down the valley right towards me. It was wonderful to watch and then finally to feel the first cold blast of wind before the rain came over me. Fantastic!

It rained on and off for the last few miles but I didn’t care, they were only passing showers, and I gave up putting my coat on just to take it off again a few minutes later.

It wasn’t too long before I hit the outskirts of Peebles, finally taking the footbridge over the river to the town centre to find my place of residence for the night: the Green Tree hotel.

Hotel found and checked in I headed to my room, and at the early hour of 3pm. I’d made good time today covering the fourteen miles at a very reasonable average speed of 2.7mph, considerably better than yesterday’s wind-battered eleven miles that’s for sure.

I sorted myself out and headed out to have a quick look round Peebles, which seems nice, and to find a shop to get supplies in for the next couple of days. I eventually found a Co-op, got my supplies and then popped in the Crown Hotel for a well deserved pint – it didn’t last very long.

I really enjoyed today’s walk, even with the rain, and I’d been in a really good mood all day. I don’t know what sparked the mood change after yesterday’s nightmare walk but I’m pleased it’s happened. I hope it lasts as I’m really looking forward to taking some time off in Edinburgh in a couple of days.

And to help the good mood Matt very kindly typed up Alice’s school report the school sent me in the post for me and emailed it over to me – thanks Matt, very much appreciated. From what I read she’s doing really well which is just brilliant! One very proud daddy today for sure.

Photos and Route Details

If you want to find out more about this day you can see the photos I took or view the route details.


  1. Ian

    July 6, 2010

    Glad to see you on the up today cuz and well done Alice on a good report at school !. In answer to yesterdays question yes the stag do was great fun, go karts followed by a few wee drams (thats scottish speak lol) drinking on the Thames at Richmond in the evening – very nice to.

    • Darren

      July 6, 2010

      Glad you had a good time in Richmond.

      I’m doing better but I know there’ll be more dips ahead. They normally come on the longer, tougher days when I get angry with myself for struggling. I know I shouldn’t do it but I’m quite hard on myself, especially if I feel I’ve not done my best. It’s all good in the end though!

      • Ian

        July 7, 2010

        I think every completed day on this journey has to be a best – no matter what distance you’ve covered. I think many would have fallen by the way side by now – especially when tackling something like this alone. Just sorry we will be away when you finish, would have liked to have cheered you across the finish line. Cheers for now. Ian

        • Darren

          July 7, 2010

          Just doing my best, it’s all I can do.

          Don’t worry, I’ll be cheering myself over the line, if there is one! Being mad like I am I’ll no doubt be running the last bit 🙂