Before I start this post, I don’t claim this to be particularly engaging stuff yet, I just have to set the scene of what I have to deal with this week….. And to keep Bev informed of how things progress since she can’t be with us in person (although Sarah has painted her name on a rock and brought that instead, which is probably a concept we could use with other people in the future).
Here we are then on the afternoon of Friday, the day before starting to walk St. Cuthbert’s Way, with the final three brave walkers coming to join us. The initial plan was they were going to get a bus or taxi from Tweedbank to Melrose as they had brought too much luggage to carry with them (other than Steve, who packed very professionally rather than bringing enough for a cruise trip). Then, their plan is savagely foiled as the bus has just left and the taxi would take over 30 minutes. I find it very decadent that they even considered a taxi, but then again, Gordon has got the means so I suppose he has a different mindset.
So they decided to walk. And, as the most responsible person in the group (and I am unanimous in that), I thought that I’d walk back from the hotel to meet them to ensure that they received a friendly welcome into Melrose and also to make sure that I got any gossip first before Sarah and Andy heard it. I suggested to Steve, Susanna and Gordon that one of them put their live location on WhatsApp, so that I could see where they were going (experience tells me it’s just easier and avoids anyone going missing). Sarah and Andy helpfully put their live location on, so that I was reassured that they were still at the hotel. But that didn’t entirely assist me. The technology was too much for these group of warriors (and to be fair I told them to click on the paper clip icon, forgetting they didn’t have Android phones which are the only ones that have that), so I set off anyway along the river.
Steve sent this shot, showing they were walking down the main road and not along the river path. I had satisfied myself that the river path was entirely fine for wheeled bags, but Susanna has I think some very precious things and didn’t want to take a chance. Gordon at that stage, I’m reliably informed, was just huffing and puffing after walking 100 metres. I did ponder whether I could get Bear Grylls to do a television show with Gordon and Susanna…..
Views of the river walk that I enjoyed going back.
Finally, the technologically savvy Steve gets live location working after searching on Google how to do it (he’s very good at resolving things like this, very persistent and calm), as does Susanna. Gordon didn’t bother as I think he was at this stage ready to be abandoned by the roadside as he was now nearly one mile into the walk. It was though then clear from the map that I was further away from the hotel than they were at my little spot by the river, so I did a Challenge Anneka attempt (as Sarah put it) to go and find them.
This is the view that the merry band of three opted for on their walk. Nice, you get a really good feel for the road surfaces they use in Scotland picking this route.
I said what a gentleman Gordon was pulling Susanna’s bag. It transpired, I was told, that he just wanted to put his big blue bag on top and wheel it rather than carry his own. I didn’t say anything, I didn’t want to come across as rude.
Here is the athlete, now carrying his own bag and not far from the hotel. A few minutes later, as Steve was checking in I couldn’t help but notice that Gordon just collapsed into the chair at reception completely exhausted. What a brave soldier we all thought…… At this point, Sarah and Andy appear at the hotel reception, ready to order gin and tonics. Also, there was some confusion at the hotel as Gordon had said that he had two people in his room, which had enough space for three people (I’ve got a small and cheap single room, whereas Gordon seems to have the penthouse floor), so there were some raised eyebrows about what was going on.
But, all was well, and after some confusion about what beers there were at the pub (which I finally resolved later on by just having all of them) we sat in the beer garden and listened to how Gordon was furious at the loud people on the train. Quite rightly so and Gordon revealed that he had complained about the situation to Susanna as he didn’t like to complain directly to the train crew.
Incidentally, the gin and tonics had been ordered by Sarah after checking via message what Susanna, Steve and Gordon wanted. Susanna and Steve selected their gin and tonic, whereas Gordon asked Susanna to ask Sarah saying “what has the pub got?” expecting a long list to be produced. I don’t think there was much engagement on that point, Gordon went for a gin and tonic and had another grumble.
That’s that bit anyway and I accept that this story isn’t that engaging or riveting, but it’s a little reminder to myself that this adventure was now coming together.