Wednesday 25th July 2018
9.53 miles today. 734.66 miles total.
My night in the Mountain Refuge Hut was uneventful and suitably refreshed I set out on the wrong direction, twice.
Eventually it dawned on me that the path continued along the east side of the fence and I used the same unofficial border crossing point as the many before me whose path I had been following.
Lamb Hill, Beefstand Hill, Mozie Law, up to Windy Gyle and Russell’s Cairn. Russell’s Cairn supposedly marks the place where Lord Francis Russell died in 1585. Or not. Depending on which history you read. The pile of stones under the cairn is from the Bronze Age and I like the idea of thousands of feet through the centuries treading the same paths.
I took my first break here, sitting in warm sun on soft grass listening to the bees in the heather. It was tempting to go to sleep, enjoy the sunshine and forget the walk but I have a journey to complete.
The clear weather meant I had excellent views all day, and could marvel at the strange lumpy Cheviot hills that look so different from the surrounding landscape.
The next section seemed like an endless trek on flagstones through heather-covered moors, uphill.
There is always another hill. And always something small to notice too. This prompted the earworm, “Green and Yellow.”
When I stopped for lunch a walker approached from a distance. It was Kerry, who as expected, was walking alone. He strode off ahead of me and stopped for his lunch at Auchope Cairn.
When I caught up with him he was just taking a call from Adam, now safely in Kirk Yetholm. Apparently Adam asked if Kerry had seen me. I don’t think he expected the answer, “She’s standing right next to me.”
For the first time in two days I had brief access to a mobile signal, but it vanished as soon as I began the precipitous and toe-bashing descent towards the second Mountain Refuge Hut, my planned stop for the night.
Again the visitor’s book makes amusing reading. I particularly liked the rant about the condition of the en-suite facilities, WiFi and room service. Many of the comments underline how well used and valued these shelters are.
I’ve collected some rubbish to take away, but that has been rare on the PW, it has been generally very clean.
An afternoon visitor was a bearded man called Nick, (aka Dumbledore) walking twenty-five miles a day. He seemed to think this is quite normal and I later discovered that he had left Byrness at 4.30am. He took his break and then marched on.
I went to sleep quite early and was woken at dusk by someone knocking on the door. Two women had walked the eighteen miles from Byrness.
Andrea is German and has been walking some of the well-known trails of Great Britain including the West Highland Way and The Great Glen Way.
Brooke is from Texas and is spending the first three weeks of her work break walking the Pennine Way. She has previously hiked the Appalachian Trail, also no mean feat. The women started as solo travellers, met on the train and have walked the whole route together. They were glad to hear that Adam is safe.
Incidentally, when I mentioned the most common question I’m asked about feeling safe as a lone traveller they laughed and added the phrase, “as a female”. It was good to meet someone else who has heard the same question and a similar attitude. Thanks ladies 🙂
The sunset was special.