Walking: Southern Upland Way

The next day was Friday 24 April. Did we choose well for our lodging? The proof was in the pudding. It was in the (enormous serving of) porridge, actually. And the eggs, toast, beans, mushrooms, tomatoes. A crumpety kind of thing, a sausage link or two. Get the picture? There is no picture, sorry. I’d need a bigger camera.

Before departing Melrose, R visited the Abbey; E browsed a shop or three.



Detail from Melrose Abbey: A classic Memento Mori.


Then we were off to make some progress along the Southern Upland Way to Galashiels. The trail begins just west of the suspension bridge, and follows the River Tweed for a while.


About ten minutes into our walk, we encountered a solo walker who had obviously been frustrated by the diversion (per signage affixed to the trail markers) he’d encountered along the path we were heading toward. We assured him Melrose was indeed just ahead and then didn’t think much more about it. Until four hours later.


The white blooms are wild garlic; it’s fragrant and ubiquitous.


In the meantime, we pressed on, stopping at Abbotsford, the former home of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), where we toured the house and strolled the gardens for about an hour and enjoyed an excellent lunch. While we were exploring SW Scott’s “speak-a-bit” room, pointy weapons room (!), collections of curiosities, not to mention his 9,500-volume library, a new freshness (i.e., coldness!) made itself known with each gust of wind.


One of Walter Scott’s “Garden Rooms.”



Split plate: Brie-red onion jam-avocado sandwich. And check out those chips!


The restaurant at Abbotsford features these fetching works of contemporary art.


Here’s where that part about the diversion comes in. Just beyond Abbotsford, we had to resort to tiptoeing through at hotel’s conservatory, then ask directions from three different local folk to get back in sync with the Way.

The conservatory at the Kingsknowes Hotel. (Photo from website.)



Did we mention it was windy?


With about an hour and a half before our bus, we had some time to get a feel for Gala, as it’s called. The Braw Lads choosing was due to occur in a few hours; we stopped into a tartan and kiltwear shop where we chatted up the owners, a lovely couple who’d just kitted-out a wedding party for the upcoming weekend; and we gawked at a few memorials and gardens.


They really, really like Sir Walter Scott in the Borders. (The pigeons, not so much.)


Our bus ride back to Edinburgh was a bit longer than we’d anticipated but by 7:15 we were back in our flat; by 7:30 it was tipping down*.


*raining heavily


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