Miles walked today 13.4 miles cumulative 974.2 miles
I haven’t done any multi day walks since lockdown so although I have only been walking 3 days I planned a rest day because I was unsure how I would feel after two 20 mile days. In fact, I think I would have been fine to carry on. The weather was a bit drizzly so it worked out rather well.
On Saturday I started my day off by walking upriver through a waterside park and through a wood to Neidpath castle
There was been a fortified tower house here since about 1190 but the first one was burnt down by the English. The current castle dates from the late 14th century although it needed partial rebuilding after it was attacked by Oliver Cromwell. You may have seen the castle if you watched the BBC series “Merlin” you may recognise the castle.
I returned to the town and visited Cross Kirk. A cross and a stone urn were found on the site in 1241. It was believed the urn contained the remains of St Nicholas (who died in Turkey) and Alexander III arranged for a friary to built on the site. It is now ruined and there was no access today.
Peebles is a pleasant town. There is a park in front of the river. The wide high street has a lot of independent shops and some attractive Victorian buildings. It was good to see people using a “real” butcher and baker and I took the opportunity to get lunch for tomorrow’s walk. I then popped into a cafe for lunch and after an afternoon’s sleep and the entertaining Portugal v Germany match I was ready to resume the walk.
Sunday dawned a bit brighter and I set off early. It was another day following the old drove route and my last full day in the Southern Uplands. The path quickly climbed up the side of Hamilton Hill with good views back to Peebles and the hills that I had crossed the day before.
In general, the walk was at a lower altitude than yesterday. There were still great views of the surrounding grassy hills but for most of the morning I was walking between fields with grazing sheep and cows. For the first time since the first day, I noticed some traffic noise as the A703 ran through the valley below.
I descended to the remote farms at Stewarton. There was then a short boring climb through a thick pine forest, the trees planted in close rows so there was no undergrowth, before I emerged at the abandoned farmhouse at Courhope.
The path descended through open forest to emerge at the Flemington burn. It then wound round the hillside to the Fingland burn which the Cross Borders Drove Road web site describes (justly) as a highlight of the route.
The path ascended gently towards the trees on the left in the distance. I passed the only other person that I saw today a fell runner. There was one family about a quarter of a mile ahead but they turned off my route before I caught them up.
I took one last look back at the valley before entering the wood, crossing a col and descending through farmland at Rommanobridge. I passed a group of bullocks who expressed an interest in chasing me. For once I felt in control as they were on one side of the fence and I was on the other.I don’t think they would deliberately hurt me but they are big and stupid.
I then had a short walk into West Linton. I could see my next target, the Cauldstane Slap in the distance
I could see West Linton on the map but where was East Linton? Up until the mid 18th century there were two Linton villages, the other lies about 35 miles to the east. This caused confusion to the new postal service so the villages were re-named west and east. West Linton is one of the oldest Burghs in Scotland and was an important stopping point for the drovers.