Monday, 18 June 2007

Byrness to Jedburgh - Into Scotland & I didn't know it!

Leaving the hostel at 8.30 am from the "Bedrooms" front door, feeling like one of the Beatles in "Help" ,I made what turned about to be a good decision to stick to the A road. Although it looked like it was going to be another hot day I didn't want to take another footpath risk.. As I walked passed the Catcleugh Reservoir I could see the mist rising, followed by hazy sunshine. I climbed up & up & the road was fairly quiet, traffic wise, for an A road. At 10.00 am (about 5 miles along) a cyclist passed me by, recognised me from the hostel & stopped for a chat. "What time did you leave" she asked "Oh, 8.30 "I said, nonchalantly, thinking she'd be impressed. "how about you?" "It's taken me 10 minutes to get here" she replied, clearly not happy with her own progress. She'd cycled up from Cambridge & had to be in Edinburgh by the next day. She zoomed off up & away into the mist & was gone. I trudged on passing by a sign which said "Scottish Borders View Point, 1 mile ahead" Wow, you must be able to see for miles on a clear day to see the Borders, I thought. I carried on, unable to see more than 10 metres ahead. The mist was rolling into the...sounds of bagpipes playing"The Mull of Kintyre" I shook my head in debelief. Stopped & listened again, sure enough, I could hear bagpipes! Hurrying on I came to the next sign, "Welcome To Scotland" I spun round & looked behind "Welcome to Northumberland" I was in Scotland and I didn't know it! At "Carters Bar"entering a layby there was a tray of CD's for sale, a hat with loose change, and information boards about "The lovely views" (Not today) but where was the wee Scotsman? Over the road at the mobile teabar, as I discovered when I went to get a warm drink. I got chatting to him & the tea lady when suddenly he said "Och Aye, there's another one" & with that, he picked up his pipes, & sped across the road to entertain another coach load of Japanese tourists.
I watched him for a while, waved & set off again. He gave me a nod, a wink & played on. Well! here I was, across the border. I hadn't realised Jedburgh was in Scotland. Geography was never my strongpoint & quite clearly wasn't improving either.
As I made my way down into town the view of the Abbey was striking against the dark skies and when reaching the bridge, just in case, despite all the signs in all languages, you didn't realise you were in Scotland here was "The first cafe in Scotland" blue & white flags waving in the window.
My first port of call was the Tourist Information Centre as I'd recklessly done something I've never done before, i.e. booked a place to stay. It was quite exciting to be so cavalier, but of course they found me somewhere straight away & in the town centre.
I gratefully dropped my heavy pack & went to see what Jedburgh had to offer. Not a lot on a cold grey evening but I found a nice cafe/bistro bar to have an early evening meal. I was worn out, not used to carrying the pack again.
Tonight was a breakthrough, in that I watched T.V. without getting angry at the triviality of "Trinny & Suzanna" I had to switch Simon Cowell over though, that was too much, & watched an interesting history programme about "The Thatcher Years"
Looking forward to a rest day. I planned to do the "Town Trail" .I'd missed Bewdley's & wasn't going to miss another. However, the next morning it was freezing, windy,wet,cold & grey. The only place to go was ...the library.

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