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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Border Walk Day 1 Carlisle to Longtown

conker tree by the eden bridge
The first day of this epic of sore feet and comedy waymarking should carry some kind of subtitle about Adam and Eve and King Arthur. This may well become clear later.
Or possibly not.
sands centre fountain
I started with a pie. It was a steak and onion from a Carlisle pie shop and it was very hot and very nice. It was about the time that I’d burned my tongue for the third time (hunger/greed/impatience) and just before I arrived at the fountain in the underpass by the Sands Centre that it started raining. In fact it bounced down. This was to set a pattern. I put on full waterproofs. This was to set another pattern. I wandered off on the riverbank. The river was the River Eden. It leads to the Solway, which is where I was going.
The day was one of rain then fairly heavy but short showers. I got fairly wet.
river eden start of the solway
The walk along by the River Eden is very easy. It has just the one short shock of an uphill but in general it flows through cow pastures (with cows) on a easy grassy path with no contours to disturb the rhythm. At one point it does go through a marsh, where the line of the path and the line of the river and the mapping thereof bear no relation at all to each other, but in general, it arrives at Rockcliffe, where one of the local cattle was busy eating the cricket pitch and where I was greeted enthusiastically by a border collie puppy, with little in the way of excitement or effort.
I pushed Eastwards on lanes, crossing the M6 and joining Cycle Route Number 7 for a short section of pleasant railway path – and thence to Arthuret Church.
arthuret church
Arthuret Church is supposed to stand on the site of a sixth century church which possibly involved some post-Roman British Vortigern/Arthur type of anti-English warlord and Christian to boot. It is now a very large medieval church with an incredibly crowded graveyard, and, just a little along the scarp, an ancient well dedicated to St Michael, the Patron saint of lady’s sandwiches and upper middle class underwear.
st michaels well
It wasn’t too far through cow and horse pastures, complete with you-know-whats to the Border township of Longtown.
This has a bloody history including two 16th century battlesites and general Border lawlessness and more, organised general warfare involving large armies. There was no evidence of this in the Graham Arms (Grahams being one of the local reiver clans) and I had the steak pie and some beer and repaired to my B&B for a lie down. This would be my only B&B of the trip.
It was 15 and a half miles and about 500 feet of uphill if you’re really really careful about counting all of the contours.
borders day 1


Phreerunner said...

Sounds like another Epic, Mike. We are all hoping for a happy ending!
Word = 'minsup' - a small tot. Is that what you lived on?

Mike Knipe said...

Well, it does have an ending, Martin, but I'll keep that till the end.
Small tot's? Nothin smarl aboot thah tots aroon' heeyah, leyke.... (local Borders (south side) accent...)

Louise said...

You're back then! Looking forward to this, should be a giggle, if you keep to your usual standards, (notice, I don't actually state what those standards are...)

The Odyssee said...

Sounds like a soggy one Mike. Thats the walk i mean not the pies.
Looking forward to day 2.

Mike Knipe said...

Louise - The standard will be the usual mix of tripe, fiction and rant.
And yes, Alan, it will be soggy. I'd wear a raincoat if I were you...

Meanqueen said...

Lovely pic of the motorway, is that a Volvo F16 Globetrotter I see there?

Mike Knipe said...

Eee, I've no idea, Llona. I could do a series of pics of motorways - I seem to have several in my extensive collection of arterial roads images. You can't do railways, y'know. They come and search your stuff...