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.
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.
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.
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.
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.