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.