Melrose to Harestanes

We started our adventure (as Handsome insists on calling it) from Melrose this morning – Mama and Papa ran us down last night. Handsome alarmed me last night by pointing out that the 20km that I thought we were walking today was actually 20 miles – that's about 32 km. After exclaiming in a restrained and polite manner… I subsided into a state of shock that could only be alleviated by being taken out to dinner in a rather nice bistro – after half a bottle of wine I was coping with the idea much better.

However, we woke up to a lovely sunny morning, so it didn't seem quite so bad – until we started! Out of Melrose, the St Cuthberts Way goes straight up into the Eildons. However, after that short, sharp shock, the rest of today was actually quite gentle terrain, so it didn't feel as far as it actually was – and it was very pretty walking too, along the river-bank and through woodland. The only disheartening bit was that we kept doubling back on ourselves and looping around (St Cuthbert drank a lot of mead apparently) so the Eildons never, ever got further away… in fact I'm convinced that sometimes they were creeping up on us and getting nearer. Grandmother's footsteps?

We stopped in the rather amazing independent bookshop in St Boswells at lunchtime and had very good coffee and french onion soup, and I resisted buying anything because I couldn't carry it (will have to send Handsome back next week).

Today we saw – possibly a goosander or merganser (black headed big duck thing), sand martins, herons, springs and wells and two parascenders. We ate blaeberries, raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries – we didn't eat the unripe apples or the damsons.

Head on Crystal WellFerns at the Crystal WellCrystal Well near St Boswells

Our target for the day was to make it to Harestanes before they closed so that we could have coffee, and we did – just! Phoned the B&B bloke from there, and he arrived very shortly to take us away in his green volvo – a car that Handsome would not normally be seen dead in. The B&B is rather nice, and tonight we're in Jedburgh waiting for it to be time to eat…

Later – Hobbled Wandered around Jedburgh looking at the sight (s), and checked the results of the 1:25 at Ascot in the bookies – luckily for us we hadn't had time to place a bet today, not so lucky for my cousin 'though. The war memorial in Jedburgh (and the one in Bowden earlier in the day) has some unusual regiments on it – Australian, New Zealand and Canada, and not just one or two entries either, a good quarter of them. We couldn't find out why, I'll need to look it up later…

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