Monday August 31: Kirk Yetholm to Jedburgh

Miles walked: today 17.8 cumulative 896.1

Another sunny day, I haven’t written that often this leg! A slight delay at the start as someone had gone home with the kitchen keys. While waiting for breakfast, I had a wander round the village, which is mainly centred on the village green and I visited the Kirk

Today’s route followed the St Cuthbert Way. Following a vision, St Cuthbert trained as a monk at Melrose Abbey. At the age of 30 he made a pilgrimage to Lindisfarne and the Way is meant to recreate his route. As is the norm on this walk, I am travelling the opposite way, ie towards Melrose

As I have already said, the standard end to end route leaves the PW at Dere Street. The route it takes from Jedburgh through the Southern Uplands appealed to me so I headed south-west to Jedburgh. I initially walked alongside Bowmont Water. I crossed a field containing rather belligerent looking cows. Their eyes said:, “don’t mess with me Jimmy.” They left me alone and I was soon climbing up Wideopen Hill with fine views back down the valley and across to the Cheviots.

On the way down the hill I met a retired vet by a field gate. The path crossed the next field but there was a rather fierce looking bovine the other side of the gate. “That’s a bull” the vet said. Indeed, inspection of the animal’s undercarriage confirmed a male member of the species. There were two bullocks with him. He looked like he wanted to teach his sons how to terrorise the English like the good old days. we avoided the field.

The hard work of the day done early, I descended to Morebattle. The name probably has nothing to do with fighting but derives from the Anglo-Saxon mere-bodl which means “the house by the lake”. It did have a rather nice pub, so I had a leisurely lunch in the pub garden.

The afternoon was an easy, slightly undulating walk through farmland and along quiet lanes. After a couple of miles I came to the ruin of Cessford castle.

The castle was built by the Ker family in the late 15th Century. They were a powerful reiver family who also had a bitter blood feud with another reiver family, the Scotts. It sounds like the borders were a lawless area at this time. A placard at the castle quotes the Bishop of Ross as saying “They do not concern themselves whether it be from the Scots or the English that they rob and plunder.”

The path the went through some pleasant, light woodland and joined Dere Street. I will follow this again when I return, but for now I turned off towards Jedburgh after 200 yards. Jedburgh looks a pretty town and has an old abbey. I plan to look round it when I return to the walk next year.