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Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Border Walk Day 2 Longtown to Newcastleton

 the border A7
The word for today was WET.
The other word was COCKUP
It started well with a very nice double English walkers breakfast. You have to sign a disclaimer to receive this and they alert the local first responders just in case the arteries pack in half way through the sausage.
Three ladies on another breakfast table were discussing erections. I trust they were engineers of some sort.
I left Longtown well, albeit in the wrong direction, having decided that the path by the River Esk looked very attractive.
bridge over the esk longtown
I climbed over a small fence and down some derelict stone steps to the bridge footings and followed a vague path along the riverbank. This soon disappeared and some sheep took refuge on an island. I checked the map. I wasn’t on the path whioch was further over there….<------   Bugger. I persevered and the path joined my general line near a tea van on the A7. More persevering brought me to a bastle house, an unusual church and a wobbly suspension bridge which even in 1906, according to a warning notice, was limited to one person at a time. I wobbled across and checked the map again.
bastle house
This was all wrong. This way lead into the grounds of Lord and Lady Wekillwalkers, barely civilised but very posh with a long line of cattle stealing, murder, kidnap and double parking.
wobbly bridge
I rewobbled across the bridge and, braving some timid but frisky beef, I joined the A7. Luckily, membership of the A7 is free. I hobbled into Scotland in a rain storm.
is it that time already?
I hobbled through Canonbie as the rain pelted down in damn great hairy Borders lumps to the tune of the 1812 Overture with just the cannon and a bit of flashing.
As I hobbled through the deserted street of Rowanburn, the rain was merely heavy and only became torrential as I crossed back into England over the Liddel Water.
Later, it rained some more as I finally left the roadwalking to join a bridleway and entered no maps land. No maps land is the two or three kilometre space where my improvised “route” (and I use the word sarcastically) fell off the end of the Carlisle map before entering the Hawick and Eskdale map. Thus, the Haltwhistle and Stevenage map or whatever it was, was at home snuggling up to all my other maps. Nice and warm and dry.
I did the only thing could do in such circumstances. I got lost.
This was resolved by sneaking through somebody’s garden and scuttering up by a plantation and through an extremely wet hayfield. I regained a position on a map which I had in my possession and plodded on towards Newcastleton, crossing back into Scotland on the way.
another border crossing
At some point the sun came out and, as I stood there gently steaming, a car pulled up and an old chap with a Londonesque accent said “What are you doing. You’re too fucking old to be doing that.” “I’m walking to Berwick,” I evaporated.
You silly bugger” said the man. “You won’t get there today”
Yes I know”
Well, as long as you’re all right” he said and roared off.
Eventually, I arrived in Newcastleton and found the caravan site which let me camp for ten quid. The scoff at the Liddesdale Hotel was Rack of lamb and it were actually quite fab. I stayed for a while then went back to the tent for a bit of a sleep. The landlord insited on calling me “Young man”. they do a nice line in irony in the Borders
newcastleton two hotels together
I quite like Newcastleton. Its real name is Copsawholme and the locals just call it “Holme”. I expect this casues no end of jollity in the Borders Police force. “Where do you live, sonny?”
Holme” Ossifer.   “Tha’ll do laddie, now where do you live?”
I did 19 miles 1400 feet of upness and my feet were sore. If you ever walk the Border, there’s better ways than this one.
borders day 2 part 1
borders day 2 part 2


Martin Rye said...

Young and old in the same day. You must be having a identity crisis. Lots wet so far Mike. Do we get hills soon?

Mike Knipe said...

There's a hill coming up tomorrow, Martin. Its a right rough bugger, too... and just a bit damp - which is a tad drier....

I'm not obsessed by the wetness of this walk by the way....

Laura said...

I hope this story has a happy ending?..............

Mike Knipe said...

There are elements of happiness, Laura. I have to retain an element of tension to the painful end, though.

Congratulations by the way...!