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Thursday, 19 August 2010

Border Walk Day 7 Town Yetholm to The Twizell

misty town yetholm
The day started warm and still and misty. I visited the little shop again and wandered off roughly North-eastwards to find a signposted path to Hoselaw Loch. This was a good path – well waymarked and signposted at crucial points.
On the way, I bagged the diminutive HuMP Venchen Hill, which has what appears to be an ancient cairn on the top. Not much of a view, though, on account of the mist.
I forged fearlessly ever forwards to the cottages at Wideopen where I got a cheery wave from a bloke mending his car, a bark from his dog, and threatened with dismemberment like a little rag doll by a damn great German Shepherd, probably called fluffy or something by the old lady who was failing to impress on it to stop going a bit mad.
hoselaw loch
Hoselaw Loch was pretty and the day was cheering up. A couple in a cottage who had just had a conversation about what a hard day’s work they had coming in the garden, shouted a Southern English Retired From The Rat Race And Now We’re Actually In A Novel About How We Left The Rat Race And Moved Into A Cottage Right On The Fckn Border, I Mean You Can;t get Further North Than That I Mean Ter Say - cheery “hello” – a bit scarily cheery, actually. I think they’d maybe started to get lonely.
crossing the border again
And another old chap who was up to his neck in undergrowth waved a hello as I grazed on his blackberries. Actually, when you read that back, it sounds a…  well ANYWAY, the route I followed along the lanes popped in and out of both Scotland and England, occasionally managing to achieve both at the same time. there was little evidence of warfare despite the proximity of Flodden Field, about which nothing at all should be mentioned when on the Scottish side.
Finally, I lurched back into England and made the mistake of taking yet another Northumberland County Council Comedy footpaths. This one lead the innocent rambler (me) to a long strip of thickly planted conifers. there was no way to tell which side of the conifers to walk on as they weren’t on my map. I chose the right hand side. Wrong. This lead to eight foot deep (I kid you not) nettles and not one deep ditch with a stream, but two.
not this way and not this way either
I retraced and found, hiding in the long grass, a waymark, pointing to the conifers. Must be the Left hand Side.
The left hand path skirted the conifers and tried and failed to squeeze between those and a deep ditch full of nettles and thistles and hawthorn bushes and all kinds of vegetable and mineral obstacles to any kind of progress.
I retraced to the entrance stile and plodded off grumpily towards Cornhill on Tweed by road.
best not go that way
At the exit to the path (and I use that word very very loosely indeed) was a sign saying that the field had been sprayed with sulphuric acid, so you’d better keep out or your feet will melt. I got the impression that walkers were not welcome. I got the impression that the pheasant feeders by the copse were a bit of a clue as to why not.
Cornhill is closed in any month with more than 23 days in it, so I wandered across the Border into Coldstream. Coldstream has two campsites marked on the map, neither of which exist, but it does have a Co-Op supermarket and a number of pubs. So all was good.
I bought water and butties and beer for a discreet camp somewhere by the Tweed and wandered off in search.
I found the River Tweed exactly where it was supposed to be and followed a  good path through stubble fields to the road.
river till and twizell bridge
There’s a path from nearby which goes back to the Tweed, but it fails to cross the River Till, despite the existence of a disused railway bridge. having had previous experience of Northumberland CC’s paths, I wasn’t going to get suckered into a two mile cul-de-sac, so I plodded along the main road to the road bridge over the Till at Twizell Bridge – an ancient structure by-passed by a modern bridge. From here a narrow path through nettles and Himalayan balm leads to the River Tweed where I found an excellent seat on a bench on which to sup a few tins of beer.
The evening was now hot and sunny and the sound of a combine in the nearby field, together with the small birds and the burbling of the River persuaded me to put up the tent for a lisle nap.
The lisle nap lasted approximately 12 hours.
It was a noisy night , though.
There was a combine working over in Scotland throughout the wee small hours, an owl too-witted (male tawny, I think), a quiet conversation was overheard from somewhere nearby, some farm dogs occasionally had a frenzy and there was some strange barking very close by – maybe deer, I suspect.
I spent the night with a spider who built a small web in the top of the tent which caught several flies and beetles, all of which were quickly despatched.
Today was 19 miles and 1400 feet.
borders day 7 part 1 borders day 7 part 2


Humphrey Weightman said...

So you trundle within 500m of my house and don't call by? I guess you're on yr way to Beartown tomorrow. Am across the Border at Uppsettlingham by Ladykirk.

Mike Knipe said...

I went to Norham... to the shop
I was in no mood for extraneous explorations, though as I had an urgent apointment at Foulis Fish and Chip shop. Very nice it was, too.
Uppsettlingham - a good name for a Border village, if a bit understated. Pillagedandburnedlingham....

Greg said...

I ve just got back and started reading. sounds like hard work. I hate negotiating fields as I seem to get stampeded by bullocks. Driving down the M74 there looks to be scope for backpacking but I think I read somewhere that its difficult crossing the southern uplands due to the conifer plantations.

Mike Knipe said...

Ah yes, Greg, bullocks - an assertive approach is required and they all run away. then they come back, then they run away again.
I've done a few long distance routes in the Southern Uplands and, basically, its pretty good.
We have a six day one coming up shortly - a second attempt at Peebles to Moffat - for instance...

Mark said...

Is this a general problem with Northumberland CC and neglected footpaths? I walked a Ravenglass to Lindisfarne coast to coast a few years back and I can remember a couple of days when I gave up on footpaths and walked on the roads becuae every path seemed to be overgrown, blocked, non-existent and well supplied with bulls. It rained a lot too. Happy days!

Mike Knipe said...

As Northumberland is mainly arable and very big and not heavily populated, I suspect that many of the paths aren't used all that much and that in the past its not been much of a priority for the County Council. I expect that their Rights of Way team are spread fairly thinly and they concentrate on Hadrians Wall, St Cuthberts Way and popular walking areas such as Rothbury.
They seem to be responding to my complaints, though, so maybe thats what's needed - ie people to report stuff....