25th August – Galashiels/Melrose to Innerleithen

20180825 Melrose Abbey
Melrose Abbey

Today was a good day in many ways.  The weather was fine, albeit with strong winds on the summits, the route was interesting, and the Southern Uplands Way, which I was following for most of the day, was very well signed.

20180825 Looking down on Galashiels
Looking down on Galashiels

I caught the bus from Galashiels at 6.30 and started walking just after 7.00.

20180825 Suspension bridge over the river Tweed
Suspension bridge over the river Tweed

The trail started by following the Tweed before joining an old railway track and then crossing the A7.  It was then time for the first real climb of the day around Gala Hill.  When I was at the bottom of the hill a man on a horse came round the corner. The horse spooked and the rider went out the side door. He was unhurt but the horse ran off. I last saw it a good quarter of a mile away still running hard. He was unimpressed.

The trail continued down and then rose over Hog Hill…

20180825 Descent from Hog Hill
The descent from Hog Hill. Brown Knowe is on skyline on right.

…before recrossing the Tweed at Yair Bridge.

20180825 The Tweed at Yair Bridge
River Tweed at Yair Bridge

It was here that the serious work of the day began.

20180825 Taking a break near Yair Bridge
Taking a break near Yair Bridge

The climb to the Three Brethren (464m) through a forest took 1.5 hours.

20180825 The Three Brethren
The Three Brethren (cairns)

Once on the ridge things improved, still ascending but more gently, with magnificent views.

20180825 View north from the Three Brethren
View north from the Three Brethren

When I stopped for a late lunch at the highest point, Brown Knowe (523m), a group of about 20 walkers passed me going in the opposite direction. This was more people than I had seen in the previous week.

20180825 Last of the walkers leaving Brown Knowe
The walkers leaving Brown Knowe

Then it was down again before climbing up towards Minch Moor through another forest. Just below the high point I passed the Cheese Well, a natural spring.

Anyone planning to spend the night at Minch Moor Bothy will be disappointed as it no longer exists. Apparently it was demolished after being vandalised on several occasions, a problem faced by the Bothy Association whenever a bothy is near habitation.

20180825 Descent to Innerleithen
Descent to Innerleithen

All that was left was the long descent to Tarquair and some road walking to get to Innerleithen and the campsite, which I reached at 4.35.

After pitching the tent and a shower I had dinner at the pub on the site.  This was very noisy so I returned to the tent to rest and read.  Children finally shut up and went to bed around 10pm.

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.