Saturday, 13 June 2009

Day 28 - Jedburgh Castle Jail.jpg

And finally for the day... Jedburgh Castle Jail. A very neat and orderly castle that is in fact a jail or should I say was a jail. Built on the original site of the castle the jail was deemed to be cutting edge when it was built in the early 19th century. It didn't last long as human rights began to expand and was only active for about 80 years. Yet again, worth a visit even if it is just to remind how prisoners should/could be kept.

Now it is time to go back and prep my kit ready for tomorrow hike to Byrness and with it the crossing of the Scottish/English border.
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Day 28 - Jedburgh Abbey 3.jpg

Jedburgh Abbey. Apparently the English in their many disputes with the Scottish would almost always start by attacking Jedburgh. During Henry VIII's reign the Abbey suffered it's greatest destruction. Yet part of the Abbey continued to be used by the locals into the 19th Century, until a new church was built. Again well worth a visit if for nothing else than to get a feel for the sheer magnitude of the place.
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Day 28 - Mary Queen of Scots Abode in Jedburgh.jpg

Here starts my tour of Jedburgh. First stop, the house where Mary Queen of Scots stayed when she visited. It looks really small from the outside but on the inside it's quite well proportioned.

The building was dedicated as a museum to Mary back in the 1930s. It depicts her life and those people around her that had an influence on her, both in the positive and negative. There is a copy of her Death Mask and even a lock of her hair on display. Well worth a visit as admission is free, but donations are most welcome.
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Day 28 - Airenlea B&B.jpg

Rest day in Jedburgh. This morning I opened the 4th money pot in the company of Mrs A. Scott, proprietor of the Airenlea B&B. This week the collection amounted to £220.81 which moves my running total to approximately £8150, thank you.

My aim today is to take in the sights of Jedburgh as the last Scottish town I visit before I cross the border into England tomorrow.

Amanda and Chris run a lovely, spacious, well presented bed and breakfast. Pity I'll be leaving tomorrow.

The Boundaries, Jedburgh Borders. TD8 6EX
Tel. 01835 862216.

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Day 27 - Monteviot Bridge 1999.jpg

This bridge looks sturdy but looks can be deceptive. When you step on the bridge is begins to sway just like a rope bridge. Imagine my nerves given the stuff I'm wearing.
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Day 27 - Ancrum Moor 2.jpg

This is a symbolic grave to the memory of the Battle of Ancrum Moor and the maiden Lilliard, who according to legend had both her legs cut off but continued to fight the English on her stumps.

On the 27 February 1545, close to this spot, a Scottish force under the Earls of Arran and Angus defeated a larger force led by the English captains Sir Ralph Every and Sir Brian Latoun, who were both killed.

The site is located just North of Ancrum, next to the ancient Roman road - Dere Street. Which is now heavily overgrown and is more of a meandering path.

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Day 27 - Llama in.jpg

Look, I've found another friend. No he didn't spit at me, in fact he came up close just for a photo.
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Day 27 - The George and Abbotsford Hotel - Melrose.jpg

Last night I had the good fortune to have a soak and rest my weary feet because I'm starting to get a tingling in my left foot.

Whilst dining in the hotel's restaurant I overheard people at a table who were discussing with a waitress the fact that they had seen a strangely dressed man with a flag on the approaches to Melrose. Needless to say I introduced myself.

The George & Abbotsford Hotel
High Street, Melrose, Scotland, TD6 9PD
Tel. 01896 822308
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Thursday, 11 June 2009

Day 26 - Crossing the River Tweed.jpg

It has been a bit uneventful today as I have taken to walking along the roads instead of the hills... It is a shorter distance and if I walk the hills route I may not make my destination. As it was I was passed by Chris and Peter from the Crown Hotel, who I met yesterday. They stopped to say hello and wished me all the best...thank you.

The photo was taken as I crossed the River Tweed a couple of miles from Melrose.
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Day 26 - St Ronans Hotel

Last night I spent the evening in the good company of Hector and Cath owners of St Ronans Hotel. I also had the pleasure of watching England demolish Andorra 6-0 plus down a few beers and a couple of rums. Just what the doctor ordered to relax.

St Ronans Hotel
High Street, Innerleithen, Peebleshire, EH44 6HF
Tel. 01896 831487.

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Progress so far - Day 25

This was produced on MS Paint and - because my hand isn't too steady - it makes Malcolm's route look like he's wandered aimlessly through the Scottish countryside.

It is therefore only an approximate record of his achievements so far.


Charity Pikeman HQ

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Day 25 - Chris and Peter Cassisdy of The Crown Hotel - Peebles.jpg

I stopped for lunch at the Crown Hotel, were I met Chris and Peter Cassidy owners of the hotel. They were close friends of marine Alex Lucas of 4/5 Commando... who was killed in Afghanistan by an IED back in Nov 2008.

Iraq and Afghanistan touches a great many people. We must support our troops and give them the very best of care. Let's not forget those who are left behind.
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Day 25 - Neidpath Castle - Peebles.jpg

Can I buy it... Do it up and live here?
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Day 25 - Rowallan B&B.jpg

This is where I stopped last night, battered and bruised from the walk over the Pentland Hills... Well extremely sore through chafing... bring on the Vaseline.

Having pushed 5 miles past Garvald (my planned stop) I now intend to push through Peebles today by 6 miles to Innerleithen, which will make my journey tomorrow to Melrose that much easier.

The Rowallan B&B is run by a retired couple Adrian and Caroline Cottam who were very hospitable. It has a very homely feel about the place and allowed me to relax.

Rowallan B&B

Mountain Cross, West Linton, Peeblesshire, EH46 7DF

Tel. 01968 660329

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Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Day 24 - Blyth Bridge 1st WW memorial.jpg

This memorial is just outside Blyth Bridge and it just starts to make you wonder/realize that this was a farming community during the 1st World War. The lads names on the memorial are all young men. It must have been devastating for those left behind to continue working their farms with the loss of these men. Even now Blyth Bridge isn't a large village.

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Day 24 - Garvald Home Farm.jpg

As I came down and out of the Pentland hills I came through the community at Garvald. It was here that I met a gentleman called Mathew, who explained that Garvald was a community that looked after people with special needs. He offered me a drink and I accepted.

Whilst talking to members of staff and others I noticed that they had built two outdoor clay ovens, which they use for cooking pizzas in etc. I was really quite taken will the attitude and methods employed by staff as they sought to improve the lives of others. Well done everyone keep up the good work.

On a different note, I've been using an Anti-Chafing Gel called LANACANE for the past two days and I must say, for me it doesn't work. I'm really feeling quite sore and my walking speed is dropping off quite considerably, so I'm afraid it's back to the good old favorite Vaseline.
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Day 24 - Covenanters Grave - Pentlands.jpg

I arrived at the Covenanter's Grave at 1430 where I met a couple of hill walkers (Sid and John). They informed me that the grave stone was Victorian and replaced an older grave stone which was now at a nearby church.

The inscription reads:
To the memory of A COVENANTER who fought and was wounded at Rullion Green Nov 28 1666 and who died at Oaken Bush the day after the battle and was buried here by Adam Anderson of Blackhill.

Rullion Green was a victory for government forces led by Tam Dalyell of the Binns over the Scottish Royal Army Covenanted Rebels led by James Wallace. The battle saw 50 rebels killed and many more died in the Pentland Bogs as they fled.
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Day 24 - Cruachan B&B.jpg

I arrived at my destination nice and early, which is good because it gives me the opportunity to rest before I tackle the PENTLAND hills tomorrow.

I have take the time tonight to email Paula most of the photos I have taken so that I can free up my phone memory.

The Cruachan Bed & Breakfast is run by Kenneth and Jacqueline Hawkins. Very friendly and accommodating.

78 East Main Street, Blackburn, By Bathgate, West Lothian. EH47 7QS
Tel. 01506 655221.
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Day 23 - Crossing the M8 into Harthill.jpg

Today has so far been quite uneventful. The roads have been mainly flat and it has made walking relatively easy compared to the last couple of weeks. I'm definitely more at ease now that I have a lighter load. I must remember to try a find a way to weight myself to see what the difference is between what I was carrying compared to what I am now carrying.

This picture was the view I got as I headed into Harthill about halfway through my walk for today.
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Monday, 8 June 2009

Day 23 - Leaving Craigpark B&B.jpg

Last night I arrived at the Craigparkhouse bed and breakfast at 1815. O.K. I'm tired now but not shattered.

I met my hosts Kay and Billy Main who are a lovely couple who made me feel extremely welcome. They gave me a lift to the local pub where my evening meal had been booked and paid for. ;-))

As for the accommodation, it is extremely well presented, comfortable with everything one would need in a B&B and then some... Including a complimentary bottle of beer in a mini fridge.

Can you spot a trend here. Everyone so far in Scotland have been very friendly, approachable and polite. You hear on television and in newspapers how society is turning on itself with the issue of ASBOs, but out here there is a real feel of friendship and goodwill. Maybe people need to get out of the cities and large towns and visit the countryside.

Craigparkhouse B&B

57 Airdrie Road, Caldercruix, Airdrie, ML6 8PA

Tel. 01236843211

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Day 22 - Wind Turbine.jpg

This wind turbine is not on my map but I was able to get really close to it only a couple of miles from my destination for today in Caldercruix. (I've adjusted my planned route slightly.)

There was a slight hum as the blades rotated but not to be annoying. It was in a field where cattle were happily grazing. Eyesore or not there was something impressive about it.

Infact, given the lighter load I am carrying I'm feeling rather upbeat. Let's hope that continues.

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Day 22 - The Mollinsburn Inn.jpg

To be fair getting started today was a bit of a struggle. In fact it was the threat from Iain to start charging me rent that got me moving. I'm glad I did because as I passed the The Mollinsburn Inn I was invited in for a drink. Everyone inside were welcoming and made me feel at ease. In the photo you can see Carol (the landlady) with some of the regulars. Thanks Carol...lads for the whiskey.
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Day 21 - Fred Morrison Concert.jpg

After an eventful afternoon Iain and I went to a Fred Morrison concert. It was lovely to hear Fred playing the pipes with such passion. He used Highland, Irish and Traditional pipes plus something that was a single tube instrument, but I'm not sure as to what it was.

I was even lucky enough to win the last prize in the raffle, a Fred Morrison Collection music book, containing his pipe sheet music. Something maybe Mark (of the Tudor Group) might like to have a look at.

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Day 21 - Boj at Armour Class.jpg

Rest day today. We opened the collection pot for the third time raising a fantastic £434.23 plus a cheque for £100. The grand total is now just short of £7800. A very big thank you so far.

Iain and Yvonne took me to see Boj of Armour Class who repaired both the back plate strap and the leather shoulder bag. Thank you Boj. I can now carry on with my walk without the fear that something is about to break and cause me to lose walking time.
(Boj. - tel. 0141 951 2262)
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Sunday, 7 June 2009

Day 20 - Passing another border.jpg

Just look at this. In my opinion this county has got it right. Not a boring sign with just a name but something colorful which says Hello, welcome to a county that has pride in itself.
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Day 20 - Kirkhouse Inn - Strathblane.jpg

I have been giving serious thought to the weight issue today and my conclusion is that I need to shed as much weight as possible. Which means I shall send home the tent supplied by Terra Nova, my sleeping bag, cooking gear, gaiters, gloves, trowel, clothes pegs and a few smaller items.

I would like to thank Terra Nova for the loan of the Laserlarge tent, which proved quick and easy to pitch and is extremely lightweight, It also dry's very quickly. On the inside you can easily fit two six foot people.

Unfortunately the rest of my kit is my downfall on camping. I can't sustain carrying 80lb in slung loads. My walk also needs to be fun and if I'm struggling then something needs to give before I quit.

(Kirkhouse Inn - Strathblane - Glasgow - G63 9AA - Tel. 01360 771711 -

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Day 19 - Meet the McCabe Family

After such a hard week fighting against the weight of my kit and the blazing sunshine I find myself eternally grateful when I met my next hosts. Meet the McCabe family (Iain, Yvonne, Gráinne & Catriona). They met me at Dryden and I'm so glad tomorrow I will be walking without my snapsack.
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