Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Pennine Way

Byrness → Windy Gyle

pennine-map.jpg Distance: 13.00 miles
Ascent: 880 metres
Duration: 4 hours 54 minutes

Walking to Scotland ... again
« Not walked | Not walked »

On the previous occasion that our walking took us across the border to Scotland we were accompanied by family and were celebrating the end of a 3,000 mile journey around the coast of England and Wales. Today's crossing was appropriately lower key, given that we've a much smaller distance under our belt this time.

byrness-hill.jpgDid I suggest a singular crossing? We actually passed from one country to another five times today, but didn't once see a sign indicating this. In fact, on at least one occasion the border wasn't visible on the ground at all — not even accompanied by the low "border fence" that we walked alongside for much of the day.

archaeological-area.jpgFrom Byrness we started our traverse of the Cheviot range of hills. Every minute was absolutely glorious, with spectacular 360 degree views almost every step of the way.

There are no settlements between Byrness and Kirk Yetholm, but the 28 mile distance the Pennine Way takes is a little too much to complete in a single stretch. (And with views like this, why rush?) The best solution is to stay at the Forest View Walkers' Inn in Byrness, which offers a pick-up service halfway through the range, thus allowing wayfarers to have a day with a lighter pack.

no-motors.jpgForest View is pretty much the only place to stay in Byrness, so it collects Pennine Way walkers into an informal community. It's a former youth hostel, bought by the neighbours when the YHA withdrew. Colin gladly clean and dry your boots before you even realise what's happening, while Joyce prepares a filling home-cooked dinner; soon everyone is gathered in the lounge chatting about their day's walk. It's a delightfully old-fashioned way to connect with people, and a brilliant way to share knowledge and experiences with kindred walkers. (Tonight we've met up with a couple we first saw in Twice Brewed, and then again this morning in Bellingham.)

While chatting with Joyce this morning I happened to mention that I quite like haggis. By the time she'd collected us from the path in her minibus she'd visited the butcher in Hawick to ensure a "special" of Haggis, Neeps and Tatties was on the menu tonight. It's that kind of place.

Forest View is on the market at the moment, but Joyce and Colin insist that they'll only sell to people who'll ensure this unique place retains its flare. Fancy a change of lifestyle? If only it was the other side of the border we'd be sorely tempted.

Posted by pab at 21:05 | Comments will be back one day. Please email me instead!