Walk Day 49 – Jedburgh to Melrose

Day 49 – May 27 Jedburgh to Melrose
 Weather: Sunny then showery  B&B: Dunfermline House (£45)
 Departed: 8:40 Arrived: 14:40  Walked: 5h 04m Rested: 0 hr 50m
 Distance Today: 16.5 mi / 26.55 km  Total Distance: 765.31 mi / 1231.65 km
 % Complete: ~ 66.66%  Pint of the Day: Vital Spark Ale
 GPS Track for: Day 49

My Jedburgh b&b was very comfortable and while tucking into my first “Full Scottish” my host mentioned that she had already had 8 or 9 “End to Enders” stay there this year. Now some of these could have been cyclists but it makes me wonder exactly how many walkers are taking on a LEJOG or JOGLE. My original estimate was a few dozen but I suspect its more. Whatever the number one thing that’s certain is that its popularity is growing rapidly.

I was away at 8:40am under bright and sunny skies. I walked through Jedburgh and picked up St. Cuthbert’s Way which for much of the day followed Dere Street. The SCW carried on through some fields but I opted to stay on a local road, the first of several shortcuts I had planned for today. There was almost no traffic and both sides of the road was overflowing with spring wildflowers. A very peaceful walk to start the day and no major climbs either.

The SCW rejoined the road just before crossing the A68 and then followed a river named Jed Water which almost immediately merged into the River Teviot. The vegetation was lush and colourful, a big change from all those days spent on the Pennine Way. Eventually I crossed a suspension bridge and entered the grounds of Monteviot House, a manor house with extensive gardens. The SCW spent at least half an hour weaving its way through woodlands dotted with bluebells.

The landscape changed again when I began a long and very straight section of Dere Street. For the most part it was an avenue of mature trees dotted with a lot of gorse. Not as pretty as the one Steve and I walked through yesterday but the walking was easy and I made good progress.

Just before I reached the end of this straight section the black clouds that had been building for the past hour let loose a fairly intense hail shower. I took refuge under some trees and put on my jacket and pack cover. The shower was short-lived but it was to begin a pattern that was to continue for the rest of the afternoon: half an hour of nice weather followed by 10 minutes of intense hail or rain.

I had been planning to lop a few miles off today’s walk and the dicey weather was an added incentive to do so. The SCW wandered quite a bit so it was easy enough to cut corners here and there. I walked a short section of the A699 to St. Boswells before rejoining the SCW at the River Tweed. I left the SCW for good at Newtown St. Boswells and headed to a tiny hamlet called Eildon. Just past Eildon the road was permanently closed to motorists but remained open to cyclists and walkers. A couple of miles later I crossed the A68 and within 10 minutes I was in Melrose.

When I arrived at the Post Office my parcel of maps was waiting for me and best of all my b&b was right across the street.

My first impression of Scottish towns is that they are very clean and well organized. Not as many pubs although my Good Beer Guide recommends one of the hotels off the High Street and so I’m heading there for dinner. Tomorrow I’ll walk to Innerliethen and then take the bus back to Galashiels where I will be riding out the bank holiday weekend.

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