St Cuthbert’s Way Trip – Day 1 (Summary)

St. Cuthbert’s Way – Resources and Index

This will have to be short and sweet, otherwise it’ll never be done. I’ll have to come back later to fill in the details about the history, I can’t be missing out history……

This was the first day of the walking expedition, 19 miles from Melrose to Jedburgh. Before I begin, I have to say that Steve and I are clearly the bravest, carrying our bags with us rather than paying for sherpas to take them from location to location. I’m also away for a while, so my bag is ludicrously heavy and that pre-annoyed me before we even starting walking. Bear in mind then that whilst the others were having an easy time, Steve and I (especially me) were having a much harder walk. But I didn’t like the mention that to the others, I didn’t want to lessen their efforts. Motivation is the key.

Sarah and Andy had the rather lovely idea of bringing their own version of Bev along, a rock with her name on it. We all agreed this was a much less stressful version of Bev to have coming along. She got quite emotional about this act of kindness, which meant that Sarah and Andy were in her good books. I attacked Gordon with a stick later on during the morning, so I was also in her good books.

The Scottish breakfast (or the full English as Gordon tried to order) with the haggis and black pudding being surprisingly nice. The egg was hard, but Gordon said to the waitress “can I pay for another egg?” and got one, so I also went for a replacement one. That one was perfect. It must be lovely to be so wealthy to be able to pay for extra eggs at every turn (the hotel didn’t charge for an extra egg). It was certainly a very filling start to the day.

Whilst mentioning Gordon, his order got a bit forgotten. Susanna mentioned that “they can’t see you with your rimless glasses on” and we agreed that actually, perhaps these did make him look a little invisible. Either way or he had just annoyed the waitress.

Andy and Sarah were luxuriating in their room, whilst the rest of us waited patiently before we set off. The start of St. Cuthbert’s Way is in a slightly strange place, but we had already reccied that the night before, so we were ready. Gordon complained he was a bit tired, but we ignored him.

The start of the walk was up lots of steps and, frankly, it involved walking up a hill that was far too big.

This is the signage for the trail that we’ve been following.

This was as high as Beeston Bump and was very hilly, although it offered lovely views back down into Melrose. We were doing well at this stage, until we managed to get lost. Steve noticed that the path seemed to be disappearing away quite quickly as we were walking along what was becoming more obviously a cliff edge. Fortunately, it wasn’t too difficult to retrace our steps. Four different people got blamed for the mistake, but it was ultimately agreed that Gordon was to blame.

I was going to censor this photo, but then I remembered that Bev told me not to do things like that. I don’t think that I’ll be explaining what was going on here though. Individuals can use their own imagination.

Gordon has Bev on this leg here (the stone, not the real one) and he said something like “give me strength”.

Bowden Pant Well, one of only two of these structures remaining in Scotland.

Bowden Kirk which Gordon tried very hard to get into, but it was very firmly locked. It was only a few minutes walk to get there off the trail and well worth it, even though we couldn’t get in.

I like the “free range children” sign, it reminded me of Liam’s perfect boys.

There was no shortage of forest walking today, which gave us some shade, although it wasn’t overly sunny. It was though still too hot, all being quite humid. I mentioned several times during the day that I was too hot.

I didn’t notice the heron until Andy pointed it out. It was really lovely to walk along the river though, it all felt quite remote and we did feel like we were properly away from things. On the very bright side inside, the phone signal around here is excellent, indeed, it’s better than I get in the centre of Norwich. I don’t like being away from things if that means I have no phone signal.

Some tree roots along the Tweed, adding some character to the path.

This was the moment that Gordon was about to sit down to enjoy his ice cream in the little town of St Boswells. It was also the moment that Steve said “right, time to go”. That annoyed Gordon, but I’m not going to grass him up to Steve (although Gordon said some very rude things). We managed to get a few more supplies in a small shop, after Gordon tried to break into the toilets after discovering they were 30p (he could afford the 30p, just he didn’t have 30p on him, but then again, the wealthy never do carry lots of money).

The winding path continues….

A bridge, the name of which I’ve forgotten. Before anyone complains, I’ll work out later on what bridge it was…..

I had to climb up these. The trial itself is in a very good state of repair, the steps are all in solid condition and the signage is excellent.

I had bought lunch at the Co-op in the morning, but was never really hungry with my large breakfast. That meant I was carrying around food all day and was more relieved than anything just to take the weight out of my bag and to feel that there was more space in it.

If you come to Scotland, it’s important to have the local drink. I am a fan of Irn-Bru, it was a delight to have this available to me. I’m sure they’ve reduced the amount of sugar in it though which is always a disappointment.

Gordon paid for a room for two on his first night and decided he’d get excellent value for money. Here we are with evidence of that, he had taken the bag from the hotel room’s bin to use to keep his backpack dry. Although it was commented on that he looked an idiot, it can’t be denied that his strategy worked well and his bag remained dry throughout. We were secretly quite impressed at the whole arrangement.

This is inside a cave near Benrig House where they had installed a pump powered by a mule to get water from the river up to where they needed it, saving on a maid having to carry the water up in buckets. The poor mule though…..

What appears to be a former railway bench in Maxton.

Maxton Kirk and there’s been a church at this location for over 1,000 years.

This started the long stretch of walking along the old Roman road called Dere Street and I was endlessly excited about the history of this. It was constructed around 80AD and the line of the road is still clear in many places. Further back it is part of the current road, meaning its route is still in use nearly 2,000 years later.

The road and near to this point Susanna said “I expect Gordon was quite sexy in his youth”. He was a little annoyed at this, it wasn’t quite the compliment that he wanted. He also asked people later on though if he had quite a feminine gait and he was annoyed when we told him that he did, as if we were meant to lie.

Possibly a milestone, but located by the Roman road. It was around here that it started to rain, but nothing too hard and it was a least a little cooling. As it was too hot.

The Lilliot Cross, where legend says a woman fought bravely in the Battle of Ancrum.

The line of the former Roman road and off to the left we saw the Waterloo Monument (I got a photo of it in the background, but I’ll find a better one on-line and write about that separately).

More trees. I don’t know what type of tree they are and I’m not sure it matters. Unless you’re a tree surgeon or something.

We put Bev on the nature trail.

The wobbly bridge, where some people scared Gordon by shaking it. He accused them of being childish.

We reach the main road not far from the turning into Jedburgh and have to climb over the road’s safety barrier.

Gordon was in a grumpy mood at this point and really, if I’m being honest, complaining far too much. We told him to cheer up, and here he is being cheered up. The walk did seem to drag at the end to be fair, it’s a three mile walk into Jedburgh (pronounced Jeddart by the locals) after we left the trail. We’re getting a taxi back to the start of the trail on day two (not my idea, but the others are doing it and I don’t want them to be lonely).

My room for the evening. We were pleased to be in the accommodation where it’s clean and dry, which only has three rooms, so it’s Steve, Gordon and myself in this little B&B.

I was surprised to get four takers for my exciting history walk around Jedburgh before the evening meal, the highlight was the abbey. This is a border town where there used to be many conflicts between the English and the Scottish, with this abbey being attacked and burned on several occasions.

The remains of a friary in Jedburgh.

Mary Queen of Scots House. More posts to come about the history of this borders town, this will just have to do for the moment.

Belter’s Bar in Jedburgh, with the beers all being from Marston’s Brewery. I decided not to even bother and went for Pepsi. This was where we’d pre-booked for our evening meal. I was pleased that they weren’t showing the football, although somehow I was the person tasked with telling everyone what the score was.

The pub didn’t look much from the outside, but the welcome was authentic and the food was excellent. The waitress told us that she had seen an otter earlier on in the day, which was genuinely interesting, but then Gordon interjected with a really boring story about a beaver that had no relevance to anything. But the waitress was no doubt pleased to hear “let me tell you my beaver story”.

What we hadn’t realised whilst sitting in the pub is that it was now raining very heavily, which led to a rather moist walk (and indeed run) back to the accommodation. We forgot Susanna, although Steve rushed back for her, although Gordon and I thought she’d be fine on her own. It’s quite hard to stay adult though with Susanna saying things like “when we get back to mine I’ll show you my driveway” to Gordon.

And that concluded Day One. I will come back with more posts to fill in the gaps…..