Today we had a Duke of Edinburgh Silver walk out on one of my favourite routes – from Traquair to Tibbie Shiels. We set the kids off from the at Kirkhouse, let them get ahead of us, and then while three of our colleagues took the BYM down to Blackhope to checkpoint them, Handsome and I trailed them on the Southern Upland Way across the hills between the Traquair and Yarrow Valleys. It was a day of bright, brassy sunlight followed by glowering clouds; the light patterns on the hills were amazing.
Actually the kids were faster walkers than us today, although at the beginning we could see them ahead of us on the brows of hills, or crossing the open stretches, all too soon they were obviously so far ahead that we couldn't catch up, even although one of them is considerably smaller than
me – a bit embarrassing really. However, the route is really clear and well way marked and we could tell they were in front of us from the multiple bootprints in the mud, so we just kept going until we reached the first checkpoint, where I'm ashamed to say we caught a lift in the BYM, and headed for the Glen Cafe – being absolutely confident that at this point our little darlings could not go wrong, and would get to the end.
We definitely had to go to the Glen Cafe today, because after eight years of serving the best steak sandwiches in the universe, tomorrow the cafe closes. The owners are retiring (I do hope they enjoy it) so there goes our coffee and carrot cake, parking for the BYM and ice-cream bribery for the kids.
The kids did get ice-creams today (Orkney ice-cream at that) when they all finished cheerfully, on time and together, just before the serious rain started. I believe most of them hadn't brought money with them, so one slightly more prepared walker paid for ice-creams for all the rest. I hope he gets his money back! The minibus smelled rather pleasantly of vanilla as we headed back up the road.