Day 13 – some time to savour the delights of Lauder

Melrose to Lauder, 16Km

After four consecutive 30Km days on the wilds of the Southern Upland Way, today felt like a rest day. Not only was it short but it followed a Roman road which facilitated a brisk march. Two thousand years ago it was the main York to Edinburgh expressway but today there was only me and some sheep and cattle.

We’re supposed to spend the morning exploring Melrose Abbey but I did that last year on the way home from Holy Island. I therefore departed Melrose quite early this morning and arrived in Lauder when the day was still young. I got coffee, then lunch, then a beer in the pub before I dared approach the B&B for my room.

It wasn’t a day to take photographs. The walk was rather ordinary and I was focused on where I was putting my feet, among the cattle. I would prefer there to be no cattle anymore. They make a mess in the field, they have a dreadful carbon footprint and occasionally they kill people walking on the footpath. It happened last year to a man who was just three days ahead of me on the Pennine Way, near Hadrian’s Wall. So now I give them plenty of space. I check they all have udders too.

I was also thinking about Europe and wondered whether it will be possible to return in 2022. It will be 50 years since I took all my savings to the bank and bought 10 travellers cheques of £2 each and the first ever InterRail ticket for £27.50, only available to those under 21 (imagine that), and set off for a whole month to explore Europe. I was 17 and nothing has affected me more than that first taste of freedom in 1972, and the trips that followed into every part of the continent.

This pedestrian suspension bridge over the River Tweed leads the Southern Upland Way out of Melrose. It’s very old and weighed down by regulations…
I had my £2 ready but Mr Smart was nowhere to be seen
Some sheep
The old Roman Road cuts across today’s relatively dull landscape
This is about as exciting as it got today

14 comments on “Day 13 – some time to savour the delights of Lauder

  1. Roger Clarkson

    Fine? Contravention?
    Cattle, sheep loitering?
    Before sunrise, lol

    • Or swinging the bridge. Ok to use an electric scooter, having familiarised myself with the byelaws, there’s nothing about scooters

  2. Hi Tim – I thought the following link would help to satiate your appetite for modern poetry and its all Scottish!


    • Thanks David, well researched. Interesting that Stanza has roots in San Francisco. Much to explore

  3. 50 years ago !
    That feels like a different world
    At the age of 16 (1976) I bought a ticket from London to Naples, walked across Paris between stations because I didn’t trust finding my way on the metro got off at Rome for a shuffty and then on to Naples
    From there got the travel bug and have been based in Hong Kong for the last 30 years
    Keep on walking

    • To think about it! 50 years. Overwhelming. I’m tempted to do another InterRail. But as Thomas Wolfe said, You Can’t Go Home Again. It’s all locked up inside me. Appreciate you sharing your journey to Naples

  4. I would be very excited to walk on the main Roman expressway from York to Edinburgh. It is probably exactly the same as it was 2,000 years ago – just you, the sheep and cattle. (May have one or two ghosts wandering along it now though!)

  5. Hadrian

    Have you seen my wall yet? Glad our infrastructure has lasted so well. I recommend you take the high (Roman) road. Ad meliora.

  6. Regina O'Shea

    Love cattle, love a steak, maybe you should remember it’s you who are walking through their space Tim😀

  7. Huguette Charaudeau

    Hi Tim
    I hope you could blow 50 candles next year in Europe, perhaps in France why not?

    • 50 candles, certainly in France. Listen to my heart beating …

  8. Oh, how I yearn to get back to Europe! Not this year, unfortunately. I was 15 when the travel bug bit me. A summer trip to Mexico City with my Spanish class, and the next year to Spain. That was followed by a month in the UK during college. To think, I was fairly near where you are now, although seeing it from a train, not a trail. Would love to see the bonnie Scottish highlands again. Nice to revisit it through your eyes/lens, Tim. Ultreia et suseia!

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