The image featured is on the top of the 3 Brethren, I can only assume, that is what these cairns are. Many representing 3 brothers or something? Who knows.
Either way, we take the road out of Melrose, passing along the edge of Innerlaithen. We both notice changes, as we in more urbanised areas, people change, attitudes change. Edinburgh is near & we actually walk by the trainline for the start of the day. The start is a bit dull & boring to be honest, however that changes quite rapidly once we follow the Southern Upland way through Gala Hill & down into a crossing called Yair bridge, here we stop to admire the wide river..
There is something very relieving about walking by water, especially when you are being battered by the sun all day. It’s soothing and this is a good stop for the uphill struggle for the remaining 10 miles of the day. We head through the Yair forest up onto the exposed Scottish moors where we eventually meet the 3 Brethern… This is the highest climb we have done in Scotland so far, and a sign of things to come and the hills beyond glasgow, are not hills anymore, but Munros!
Up and beyond the 3 brethern, the path cuts further through more moorland, staying above 500 metres until we drop into Traquair by the end of the day. Traquair is a tiny hamlet but the nearby town of Innerlaithen is nearby where we are to camp for the night. We were hoping to stop in the bothy on Minch moor, however it is now closed. Today was pretty hard, & by towards the end we are both looking at the big birds wondering if they are going to pick us up by our shoulders and drop us into the village..
Today was lengthy, uplifting, tiring, humorous and fast moving. After an amazing night camping in the garden of the forest view inn sharing war stories with fellow campers, we chow down a brief continental breakfast followed by a mighty full English. 2 stones later we depart with high spirits, delighted once again with the hospitality received last night and this morning. The sun is in full effect today and the only way to describe the ramble up Byrnes hill is like a dehydrated camel getting pulled up a vertical ledge.
When reaching the top, its across the green Cheviot Hills, and what a love it is to walk these hills into Scotland, windows of pure joy are felt through this serene environment. Beautiful they are, but beyond , where the infinite is found there really are no words but laughter, laughing at what, we do not know. Neither does it matter…
5 miles on walking ‘the walkers trance’ we say farewell to the pennine way, and follow the old roman road (dere street) towards Jedburgh. We find our way quite easily, across hills until we reach a stream to freshen up. We decide to take the long concrete road into Jedburgh. Even though a quiet walk, any walker knows not to walk concrete. It is the most demanding terrain (in my opinion ofcourse), and for the 7 miles, its not easy feeling like a punctured tyre rolling on the hot floor being gentley pushed by the wind. Only our humour kept us going at this stage. Blistered feet , aching shoulders and worn hips are prevalent, but the pain is ignored as I’m on a mission. Staying focused is crucial, as on hard days like this motivations can be lost easily.
We are relieved tomorrow we rest in Jedburgh with its beautiful abbey and Mary Queen of Scots had her or a house here..
I soon fall in love with Jedburgh, and Im sad to leave.