I'm not much looking forward to today. A long A road slog seems to be by far the easiest option and the weather forecast is dire, making any alternatives less attractive and the prospect of the A68 even less inviting. If you are reading this blog for pretty pictures of the British countryside it might be an idea to skip this entry altogether.

Oh shit! I wake up after nine with rain rattling the windows. It is so overcast that it seems dark still.

I am very tired. Four hard days have taken their toll. Worse, my toe is still sore. This problem started on Saturday on the way to Hawick. The skin started to rub on the top of my left big toe. Because it was not a blister as such I put a normal plaster on it it yesterday morning but that just rubbed off. So now I try compeed which, if you are not familiar with it is slightly scary, but very effective, sort of artificial skin.

My route  today is nearly all via the Borders Abbey Way and by coincidence this goes right by the door of my B&B.  The trouble is I have not seen Hawick apart from junctions and a supermarket. It is a long leg and I am still feeling tired so I don't want to linger or detour, but I decided I have to at least have a quick look at the historic centre. The landlady says I will have to ignore the debris of Friday night, and in fact a civic minded chap is going around collecting it.  There are few other people except a posse of identically kitted out cyclists who suddenly hurtle by.
             Having taken some photos of the centre and "Ken the Horse" http://www.kenthehorse.co.uk/song.html" celebrating a victory by local youths over the English Army, I set off back past the B&B and up the hill. In stark contrast to yesterday's entrance to Hawick over a couple of miles I am out of it in no time today. The road turns into a country lane and I meet two dog walkers in quick succession both of whom stop for a chat about the weather.  Friendly folk but I need to get on.

It is the road for me today. Last night I found that I had left my computer printed map of the dodgy footpath in my lost jacket or back home and as I cannot find anywhere to sell me a proper OS map, blundering about the moors on a hard to follow path would clearly be madness.

I wake to the patter of rain on the window. It is nearly 9.00 and I have slept for over ten hours straight. Creaking out of bed I examine the damage. Apart from stiffness the worse is some chafing/burning on the backs of my upper thighs. I apply ointment and hope that this helps. Then I go for a big cooked breakfast which is excellent. When I mention my compasslessness in conversation the friendly folks who run the Blackcock Inn tell me that someone who took my proposed route north from Kielder over the moors got so lost recently that they had to be rescued by helicopter. Oddly they also say the guy got charged thousands of pounds which seems very odd as British mountain rescue is free. Anyway it doesn't make me any more sanguine.

It is still dark. Far too early for a tube. As I wait at the bus stop I decide to replace my second best compass with the new one I bought to replace the one that broke some stages back. I always keep a compass attached to the map pocket of my waterproof to ensure that I remember it.

The bus comes and it turns out to be a night bus that goes straight to Euston. Semi-conscious I get a coffee and find my train. I finish reading Middlemarch as it whistles through the country, through the midlands and Lancashire and on and on and on, all the way to Carlisle. It is late though and I have to run to make my connection to Haltwhistle. I make it with seconds to spare, jump on the little train, sit back and relax.
And then I remember that I have left my waterproof and both compasses on the pendalino and it is now en-route to Glasgow.


Copyright 2006| Blogger Templates by GeckoandFly modified and converted to Blogger Beta by Blogcrowds.
No part of the content or the blog may be reproduced without prior written permission.