Thursday, 25 February 2016

A new walk and a new day - The Borders Abbey Way

Monday 22 Feb 2016
Melrose to Kelso - 30km
A new walk and a new day - The Borders Abbey Way
Melrose is a quaint place, the Abbey however is stupendous! When I arrived the previous evening I went
straight to the ticket office and announced to the interested English Heritage employees that I had just completed a brand new walk linking Rievaulx Abbey, North Yorkshire with the daughter abbey Melrose. I believe they were interested, they certainly asked questions but it unfortunately didn't grant me free entry to the abbey, so I took photos outside.
My accommodation last night was comfy, a double bed for a change and it was warm. Once again I settled into the usual routine of washing boots, gaiters and drying sweaty socks and clothes. My room always has a particular odour to it when I leave, but I think I am a good guest in that I always leave the windows wide open to let the fresh air in and the stink out.
After a hearty breakfast of porridge with honey and fresh cream, and a cooked breakfast I waddled out of the door to the start of my walk. From Melrose Abbey I retraced my steps from the previous day's stage to St Boswell and the wooded path above the Tweed before descending down to the suspension bridge across the river to Dryburgh Abbey. Dryburgh was first established in 1150 and belonged to the Premonastratensian Order. There was no possibility of getting photos close and inside without paying and
again despite informing staff of what I was doing there was no free entry. Never mind, I did get some really good photos from outside and once I am back in the office at home these photos will be added to this blog.
After nearly an hour of wandering around and snapping pics I returned to the footpath that took me along the banks of the Tweed before ascending a steep track and then my worst enemy......the road. On and on and on it went. There was absolutely no respite at all. Now I don't know about you but my feet do not like the constant pounding of a solid surface ... it seems to draw my feet and before too long the ache set in and it's just a case of mind over matter to get to the end. 
En route I passed a signpost staying "find the lost book you’re looking for". Needless to say unfortunately it was just off my route and the day was long enough without adding more kilometres it.
Today I was treated to a hot and sunny day making it enjoyable in respect of the weather. Once more as I pounded the road my mind drifted off to la la land and as you might have guessed I missed my footpath and only realised when my gut feeling woke up and shouted at me  'YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR ! '
Ok, I woke up and checked the map, checked my GPS just in case the map was lying, how can a map lie ? never mind my gut feeling was right. I had gone too far, I refused to turn back and instead completed two sides of a triangle to get to the path again. My route thankfully disappeared across fields before returning to tarmac and paths past Kelso race course and along an alleyway in a housing estate. I am always wary
when walking through somewhere like that when I don't know the area so my senses were on high alert. The local numptys helped me on my passage through the urban streets ( not ) by turning the Borders Abbey Way signs round. Consequently I had to use intuition and something unfamiliar to my sex, i.e. ask for directions! 
I was guided through the local rugby ground and out the other side before a quick left turn to the town centre and Kelso Abbey. Guess what? It's free to get in! Well to be truthful there is very little of it it left, but what is still standing gives a true sense of the scale of what it may once have looked like.
After taking full advantage of being able to get into the abbey for free, I asked, yes I said "asked" for directions to my b&b. This turned out to be two minutes away, and was an absolute oasis of loveliness for all the right reasons.

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