Feeling fresh, invigorated, dry and ready to finally make up those extra miles I missed on the first day, I was going to walk to Jedburgh. Oh yes I was! Or was I?
Taking the easy low road which follows the Tweed, the plan was to weave alongside the main road, stop at Innerleithen for a coffee, and then on to Walkerburn, over the bridge to the minor road to Melrose. None of that "faffing around" with the "Southern Upland Way" going all the way round the houses (literally) in Galasheilds I was going straight to the "St Cuthberts Way" at Melrose. From there on it was an easy route to Jedburgh. All I needed to was book somewhere to stay.
Circumnavigating "Cardrona" the ostentatious housing development favoured by footballers wives, ( how any property developer ever got planning permission to blot the beautiful landscape of the banks of the River Tweed remains a mystery), I arrived at a minor road pointing me towards the hills and "The Southern Upland Way" Well, I considered the options, perhaps this stretch of "The Way" to Melrose might be a good idea, after all. Not long down the road I met a lone female walker. After the initial "Hi, and where are you walking today's" she told me she was walking to Lands End! In the next half hour we swapped stories and e mails before moving on. Blow me, 20 minutes later I met my next "Lejoger" .We chatted about this, that, and the state of play at the Byrness Youth Hostel. (the only place to stay en route) If I booked ahead, as they are getting busy, and remembered the boot rule, I should be ok. Half an hour later, I was off again, thinking I really needed to get a spurt on if I was going to make it to Jedburgh before nightfall.
Undoubtedly, it was hard going, but the views made it all worthwhile. "The Point of Resolution rings "were an interesting "lets stop and get my non existent scientific mind around this amazing sight" sort of moment. Later, pausing for another breather, I met two ladies doing the "SUW" and as we chatted, who should appear up the slope but another trio of "Lejogers" As one of them enquired about the whereabouts of Ruth, I detected a distinct frisson of enthusiasm that she'd been spotted earlier. Could this be the beginning of a Lejog romance, or was my imagination running away with me?
By now, I was way, way, behind time and by the time I'd stopped for another chat with another "Southern Upland Wayer" I'd resigned myself to staying in Melrose.
Which seemed, initially, not a bad decision, I'd really liked the place last year, and regretted not having enough time to enjoy it. So, first stop the Youth Hostel. £30 for a shared room without breakfast! They'd got to be joking. Unfortunately not and as every B & B had "No Vacancies" in desperation I finally checked into a hotel. For £45, I was offered a "non smoking room" (like I should be grateful)which would have been almost acceptable if the T.V. the lights and the shower had worked. In the end, it was so late, I was so tired, I even ate there. Another disappointment. The lack lustre attitude of the bar staff reflected in the service and the food. So, Melrose, beautiful a place as it was, passed me by.