Day 10 – Three Days to Melrose

Moffat to Scabcleuch, 29Km

The walk this morning was so stunning that I made a quick video (35 seconds) so you can see the view from the top of Croft Head at 637m

The high level route up Gateshaw Rig to Croft Head is a new addition to the Southern Upland Way and must only be attempted in good weather, the reason being there is an almost sheer drop on one side as you walk up the narrow ridge. It is not a walk for vertigo sufferers. A low level alternative path runs through a forestry plantation far below. Today the weather was perfect: clear visibility and sunshine. The ridge is covered in heather which was in flower and the honey bees were buzzing everywhere. You will notice them on the video. And the smell is the same as when you open a jar of Scottish Heather honey for your toasted crumpet.

Near the summit I saw a brand new waymark post with a little brass plate. It was donated by the Rutherford family to celebrate the super human feat of Anna Rutherford who run the whole SUW in 62 hours 35 minutes, earlier this year. I imagine Anna Rutherford has a regular job with the normal challenges of life and quietly goes about her life without recognition beyond a waymark near the top of Croft Hill, visible only to the few who make the climb.

After that, I had to come down to earth. A long and tedious rough tarmac road was my companion for the rest of the day’s walk. The hillsides were covered with the dull spruce plantations, some of which were being harvested. The log trucks thundered past me as I stood to one side. I crossed the watershed of Scotland and entered the Scottish Borders.

This was the first of three tough days to Melrose from where you can almost smell the ocean at the end of the SUW.

The log trucks throw up a trail of dust
The flowering heather on Gateshaw Rig
Keep left
Bench of the day
Crossing the Scottish watershed (the water drains into the North Sea from now on)
The Over Phawhope bothy
Ettrick Kirk

14 comments on “Day 10 – Three Days to Melrose

  1. Great video Tim. I have been following the early days of your walk to the Orkney Islands. It looks an interesting hike and well done on your progress so far. I did write one comment with an answer to your gaiter conundrum but it seems to have disappeared into the ether. – David

  2. Fab views and blessed with decent weather. Make sure your vest is tucked into your underpants when the wind gets up and we won’t mention your gaiters.

    • Thanks. The weather is unbelievable so far. I’m tempted to bin those gaiters

    • Hi Clive, many thanks for the link. I read the article with great interest. I stood on the hill reading the inscription on the waymark and couldn’t take it in, how anyone could run the whole of the SUW in 62 hrs. Staggering!

  3. Peter Mastenko

    Well done Tim. The Scottish Borders are lovely, and I must revisit, though I’ve cycled there several times. Remarkable run by Anna Rutherford. Sounds gruelling.

    • It’s a lovely part of the world. One of these days, people like Anna Rutherford will be properly treated as the sporting heroes that they are.

  4. Huguette Charaudeau

    Hi Tim
    Thank you Tim for the posts beautiful photos and film. You are the champion of hiking.
    We dream with this landscape perhaps except the weather ,really excellent ?

    • The weather is most unusual for Scotland. It can’t last??

  5. Roger Clarkson

    “A thousand words leave not the same deep impression as does a single deed.” (ie video) Looks lovely.
    Nicola Sturgeon is easing restrictions in Scotland from Monday but BBC subtitling changed ‘virus’ to ‘spiders’ and ‘self isolating’ to ‘south isolating’ lol. Seems like the pandemic is over, here in England, as people feel confident enough to cough in public and I’ve had my first shower at the gym for nearly a year and a half.- but don’t throw your mask away just yet.

    • Thanks. I don’t like to clutter the blog with videos but sometimes it just adds to the impression. Did you notice the bees in front of the camera?

  6. Hi Tim,
    I loved seeing the bees (great video) and the thought of heather honey just made my mouth water. How wonderful! I am glad you have had some good weather to keep you company.

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