Tuesday, 23 February 2016


Sunday 21 Feb 2016 
Jedburgh to Melrose 27 km

Well I arrived at my abode ok and it was not quite Fawlty Towers but I only had a small bolt on the inside of my bedroom door, no actual lock. I was conscious that once I had shed all my wet things that all was not quite right, but by then it was too late to re-dress and I was certainly not going to the co-op in my birthday suit!

That said after the usual routine including the now familiar process of washing the mud off my boots and my gaiters in the bathroom sink, I was keen for an early evening meal. I had been told of one place to eat at but I knew there was a wild bunch of semi naked girls on a hen night in there. What's wrong with that I hear you say? Nothing but my personal injuries and general disposition meant that I was very fragile.

I set off instead to the Forresters, nothing really special from the outside, in fact some would say it looks a bit of a dive from the outside but boy o boy the homemade burgers are to die for. Given that I have been christened Bad Tony by my walking friends, yes I said friends, I settled for a Bad Boy Bankok Burger - vegetarian of course. It came with crispy crunchy chips and homemade coleslaw...and it was absolute heaven. I will return to Jedburgh in a few days and will probably head straight back there for another tasty burger.

With my meal consumed it was time to hit the coop for the appropriate solution to my current walking injuries. Now it is at this point that I must warn all readers of this blog that if you have a delicate disposition or are just plain weak, skip the rest of the blog and instead go straight to the next days......you have been warned!!

I do have a little medical knowledge - not quite enough to be able to conduct a heart transplant but it comes close to that so I knew how to alleviate my ailment - chafing. Now before I go on I think it prudent to digress slightly and look at that common sports injury and explore it further......well not that close!

I ask myself why is it that I have read so many reports, articles, advice and reviews about the best walking boots to wear, the best base layers, the best waterproof jacket. Why have I never seen any reviews about what is the best underwear, surely that has to be a given. It could say - Silk is very soft to the skin, highly breathable, washes and dries well, chafe factor between 1 low to 10 oooo that smarts! Or how about - Thong, well you hum it and I'll play it, good breathability, quick to wash and dry but be careful, you know what a cheese wire does to cheese....oooooo!

I'll move on because I think you get the general idea. So I found myself in the Coop, and there are many other good retail stores out there too, to find some Vaseline. Now I am not saying that I am old, but in my day Vaseline came in a pot and there was just one kind. When I got to the right shelf I was met with a plethora of flavours, Cherry, Cola, Rasberry, Mint, all I wanted to do was apply it not eat the darn thing! I settled after much thought and dithering with Hello Vera 'cos I heard she was kind and gentle and good for the skin. Purchase complete I went back to the hotel, applied and stayed awake most of the night.....single beditus...again!

After breakfast my route took me from Jedburgh along the river bank and to Dere street once more. In January hurricane Jonas had caused a lot of problems and flooding in Jedburgh and as I walked along Dere street it soon came apparent just how bad it had been. Dere street descended down to the main road and on some parts of it it the rainwater a gouged out huge deep channels along the street. It was a very sorry sight to see.

From Dere street my route returned to the river Jed Water before joining the River Teviot. Once again the extent of the huge floods that had recently happened were evident with all manner of detritus littering the fields. Pushchairs, children's toys, parking cones and general rubbish hanging from trees and bushes.

I crossed the river using a very narrow suspension bridge which was very wobbly and swingy, yes you guessed it, I took full advantage of its swingyness like the boy I am. Once safely on the other side my journey continued through woods past Monteviot House before rejoining Dere Street. This time it was a pleasure to be walking its length. Before me it stretched and unfurled like a green wide carpet with just the faintest hint of a footpath meandering along it. I have to confess once again I drifted off into la la land dreaming and soaking in the experience of walking in the footsteps of history. 

The street took me past the battle of Ancrum moor, now thankfully over, and then past the Lilliards Stone. A myth relates to "Fair Mistress Lilliards" from the battle and is penned in verse - "Fair Maid Lilliard lies under this stane little was her stature but muckle was her fame upon the English loons she laid monie thumps and when her legs were cuttit off she fought upon her stumps. AD 1544". 

I pressed on to the natural end of the Street, then to the village of Maxton and past the village church that was reputedly built as an apology for burning down Dryburgh Abbey.  I dropped down to the woods by the River Tweed before having to take a detour due to a land slip to arrive at St Boswells. As I followed the detour through the side streets I came across a woman dressed with a tight headscarf dragging a branch of a fir tree slowly behind her. My immediate thoughts were is she a witch? I let her get ahead of me for fear of being turned to stone. 

From St Boswell the path took me through woods but this time high above the banks of the Tweed. I was very conscious that a slip to the right would have meant a very early bath, fortunately I reached urbanisation safely. The final leg of the journey was along a disused road past the Roman signal station high up on the hill to my left and then along into Melrose to the Abbey and the end of the day.

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