LETJOG – Day 37: Wednesday 23 June – BYRNESS to JEDBURGH (22 miles)
Wow! What a great day’s walk! Today will remain long in the memory, particularly for the views coming down from the Cheviot tops over and into southern Scotland. I must have uttered “wow” to myself a dozen times, and aloud at least twice!
My day started with a 6.00 am alarm, and a cold breakfast thoughtfully prepared for me last night by The Redesdale Arms, in order to meet my early taxi back to Byrness. The steep climb, in places a scramble, through the pines and up onto the Cheviot moorland, is a rude awakening to any walking day, but once more I was blessed today with good weather – dry with a cover of cloud, and a gentle breeze to keep the midges at bay. I had done the first seven miles of this path, along the Pennine Way, two years ago, as it traverses the wonderfully-named Cheviot peaks of Windy Crag, Ravens Knowe, Ogre Hill and Brownhart Law, all at around 500 metres high. Shortly after the site of the Roman Camp at Chew Green my path diverged from the Pennine Way, for a wonderful dozen miles along the ancient Roman road of Dere Street: first through the high Cheviots, then undulating across rough pasture, before descending along a modern metalled lane to a delightful grassy deciduous-tree-lined section between arable fields. This was a humbling experience indeed, walking the historic thoroughfare and retracing the steps of the ancients over nearly two millennia.
My walk concluded with a foot tour of Jedburgh, its high street and abbey area, before reaching my B&B for the night. I certainly feel that I’ve had a full walking day – in all, the 22 miles and over 800 metres of ascent, took me nearly nine hours to complete, including breaks. Once again I had no rain, save a brief passing shower that I sat out under a large oak tree by Dere Street. A super day, and a great introduction to wonderful Scotland.