24th August – Jedburgh to Melrose/Galashiels

20180824 Checking that I am in the right place
Checking that I’m in the right place

When I started this blog I decided to tell the whole story of the trip, good or bad, even if it was embarrassing. Today at breakfast I checked the name of the hotel that I had booked for tonight: The George.  I then looked in horror when it said Montrose and not Melrose. At this point I can picture my friends in MAC (Mountain Activities Club) falling off their chairs laughing.  Luckily there are few problems which cannot now be sorted out with a mobile phone and a credit card, and I found a place in Galashiels. The lady at Montrose was understanding and reduced the bill.

20180824 River Teviot
The trail crossed the river Teviot by suspension bridge

All of that excitement meant that it was 8.40 before I left Jedburgh.  As normal there was an immediate stiff climb out of the town.  Going over the ridge, the trail then drops down to the River Teviot, which is followed briefly before another ascent to regain Dere Street.  This was easy today with a good path.

20180824 Leaving Dere Street
Leaving Dere Street for the last time

The path eventually leaves Dere Street, and descends to follow the River Tweed…

20180824 Salmon fishing on River Tweed
Salmon fishing on the river Tweed

…to St Boswells and Newton St Boswells.

20180824 Mertoun Bridge over the river Tweed
Mertoun Bridge over the river Tweed, near St Boswells

At this point I spotted a shortcut, and followed a cycle trail along a road closed to motorists, down to Melrose, arriving at 4.15.

20180824 Melrose market place
Melrose market place

I considered walking on to Galashiels for a nanosecond – and then caught the bus.

Walking out of the bus station at Galashiels, I was checking the address of my B&B when I realised that I was standing next to it.  This is going to be useful tomorrow, because as it’s a Saturday the buses are a little sparse.  I am intending to catch the 6.30 a.m. bus back to Melrose.  I have another 20-mile day tomorrow, with a lot of climbing, and I then have to camp so I want to make an early start.

Coming to Galashiels has allowed me to pick up a couple of maps for the Southern Uplands.  I had an early dinner between the storms, which set in after I arrived.  It was very windy today and I can do without driving rain.

22nd August – Byrness to Jedburgh

20180821 Blakehopeburnhaugh with the Cheviots on the horizon
Blakehopeburnhaugh with the Cheviots in the background


This was a big day in more ways than one.  It was 31k with 830m of ascent as well as the day that I left the Pennine Way and entered Scotland.

After a bowl of porridge, to celebrate my imminent arrival in Scotland, I left Byrness at 7.10.  It was raining with low cloud but likely to improve during the afternoon.  The initial climb up to Byrness Hill (414m) was steep and slippery.  Once there the walking improved as the weather deteriorated.  Short steep ascents up Houx Hill and Windy Crag were accompanied by strong winds blowing 20-30mph.

20180822 Ravens Knowe Summit 527m appearing in the mist
Poor visibility approaching Ravens Knowe summit

A flagstone path led on across a bog and the path then rose to Ravens Knowe, the high point of the day at 527m.  By now the mist was quite thick and the summit cairn eventually emerged from the gloom.

20180822 The Scottish Border
The Scottish Border

I continued over Ogre Hill and Croquet Head where I crossed into Scotland, only to move back to England almost immediately.  Climbing above Roman Camps I reached Black Halls.

20180822 Leaving the Pennine Way for Dere Street
Leaving the Pennine Way for Dere Street

At this point I left the Pennine Way and England behind to follow Dere Street, an old Roman road down to Jedburgh.  In improving weather the first part of the way was fairly easy as it follows the boundary fence.  The weather then took a turn for the worse just at the point where you leave the fence and strike out across a hillside.  Naturally at this point the track disappeared so it was out with the GPS to find a saddle between Woden Law and Langside Law.  Once there the weather finally began to improve and the track was obvious once again.

20180822 Descending from the Cheviots towards Jedburgh

Coming off of the Cheviots, Dere Street crosses farm and moorland before a road section.  All was going well up to this point.  At a T junction Dere Street goes straight ahead and is a green lane.  Unfortunately this is popular with off-road vehicles.  The result is a muddy quagmire where they have rutted and destroyed the trail.  Trying to pick a route through was difficult with the real possibility of a fall.  In the end I abandoned Dere Street, and used a lane to reach Jedburgh at 5.10 after 10 hours on the trail.

The Royal Hotel is very comfortable and they agreed to do my washing.  After a quick shower and dinner I had an early night as it had been a long and tiring day.