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Friday, 20 August 2010

Border Walk Day 8 Twizel to Berwick on Tweed

berwick town walls and gate
Quite a nice end to the walk.
I set off from the Twizel camp and wandered down the easiest of footpaths towards the sea. The river had herons, swans, ducks and fishermen, mostly up to their naughty parts in Tweed (thats the river, not the trousers).
fishing hut on the scottish bank island with swans
I coasted towards Norham where I had a brief conversation with a bloke and his little black dog. He told me that the path at Horncliffe was closed due to some work going on there. I failed to ask him what the work was about. I was suspicious of another Northumberland CC footpath fiasco. I went to Norham’s village shop and bought a pork and apple butty, some orange juice, an orange and some choccy bars. Robert the Bruce had been here previously, apparently and had not yet paid for his fags.
riverside path
After Norham the path is narrow and runs alongside an unstable sandstone crag. There are no difficulties, though, and soon signs started appearing telling me that the path was closed at Horncliffe Burn. And it was.
But not to worry, another footpath headed South through the woods adn across a cornfield to Norham east Mains farm and thence to a minor road which could be used to outflank whatever it was they were doing in Horncliffe Burn.
blocked thats the stile
The woodland grew ever thicker as I hacked my way South and son,yes, you’ve guessed it, no further progress was possible. There was thick vegetation including hawthorn, fence wire and monster nettles. I struggled out of the cul-de-sac and determined to go around. The subsequent obstacle course included a large embankment of the very same kind that they used to build motte and bailey castles on, and complete with even bigger and stingier stinging nettles. I found the stile into the woods at the far end of the jungle. It was derelict and surrounded by deep, lush green stuff. Yes folks, my third Northumberland County Council Comedy Footpath. Does nobody walk around here? Does the Council have a rights of way department and are they overworked, underfunded, underpaid and has their dog died recently?
The demesne farm was, apparently deserted and I finally made it to the road.
Which was closed!
They were resurfacing it. But the natives were friendly and I had a short chat with the man on the road roller. He offerred me a lift on it, in fact and told me that I could wark doon thah middel of thah rooooad as it were cloooazd fer sarfassin.
tweed fishing
Eventually, I arrived in Horncliffe where I took up a short residence of the public bar in the Fishers Inn. The nice lass behind the bar told me that a) she knew the bloke at Norham and his little black dog and b) the path to Berwick was closed due to a landslip.
union bridge
I progressed towards BOT. There was no landslip. The path was nice and easy with just the two or three contours near the end. I passed by the Union Bridge where, I noticed as I chomped the pork and apple butty, that most drivers arrive and turned around again due to the narrow bollards. I wandered briefly into Scotland before continuing along the riverbank.
river tweed retrospect
Soon after this, the river began to smell of seaweed. I had reached the tidal part. And, ahead, I could now see a large, modern road bridge. this carried the A1 road to Edinburgh. It was busy and difficult to cross.
A bit further on a man in a boiler suit who seemed to be setting fire to piles of “stuff”  pointed out the path to Berwick and gave me accurate directions to the nearest and finest fish and chip shop – I thought he said “Fowlers”, but actually he said “Foulis”.
royal border bridge
I crossed beneath the Royal Border Bridge – a railway bridge of many arches – then found the Fish and Chip Emporium which provided me with a big red box full of hot and delicious chips and fish, which I scoffed just by the oldest bridge into town.
more berwick bridges
I found the station, waited for the train in the bar of the Castle Hotel and…. that was that. Job done. Walk Over. Anti –Climax.
Today I walked 17 miles with 600 feet of upness.
Altogether the walk was 123 miles. I haven’t added up the ascent.
I’ll do a summary with a few tips and ideas in a short while.
The End.
borders day 8 part 1
borders day 8 part 2

4 comments:

Laura said...

Phew! A good read probably more entertaining in places than the actual walking!
But well done.......

Mike Knipe said...

I may have laid it on a bit with a trowel, Laura.....
Its basically a good walk - but my route needs a bit of improvement here and there.
And it usually rains on me anyway...
I've just sent an email off to Northumbria CC......

Phreerunner said...

"I crossed beneath the Royal Border Bridge" ...so it was worth carrying the swimming trunks all that way, was it? Or did you find an auld mine working?

Seriously, I've very much enjoyed this account. Thanks.
And good news BTW. The physio said 'GO, but expect pain'.

Mike Knipe said...

There's only about a third of the Royal Border bridge over water, martin, so I crossed beneath it on dry(ish) land. Its a remarkable structure and gives a cracking view from the train windows...