Day 15 – Southern Upland Way, tick

Longformacus to Cockburnspath, 30Km

Ho, Ho, Ho said the taxi driver. It’s Long-form-acres and Co-burns-path, he emphasised when he collected me from the B&B in Lauder to return me to the trail, this morning. He was also taking my bag to the hotel in Durban. “Are you sure you don’t want to come with your bag?”, he asked. “This is your last chance”. Of course not, why would I skip the final stage of the Southern Upland Way?

I wish I’d stayed in the taxi. It was not the best of days. The taxi had just departed when my telephone rang. It was the B&B saying I’d left my flask of coffee behind. I suppose the call was better than the utter disappointment of discovering the loss after two hours struggling through driving rain. I then had a close encounter with a young bull who took a dislike to my waterproof jacket and charged at me twice.

The landscape was quite dull and the last few kilometers were confined inside a spruce plantation, which is a horrible place to be. Everything is dead, like some sci-fi B movie. I had to cross the A1 which was a blur of speeding cars and then the main East Coast railway, but on a bridge. Finally, the SUW emerged into the sunshine and there in front of me was beautiful Pease Bay on the east coast and my first sight of the sea since I left Portpatrick several years ago. And it was truly awful (see photo above). I looked up the coast to the power station on the next headland and the cement works on the one after that.

There was no welcome sign in Cockburnspath. Nothing to mark the end of the coast to coast walk. Perhaps they were too embarrassed. I bought a Magnum ice cream in the Community shop and waited for the taxi to take me to Durban.

But it wasn’t all bad. The weather was fine again and I passed St Bathan’s Abbey at 11.00 to discover the finest bakery cafe I’ve ever seen. An excellent cappuccino and Danish pastry cheered me up. I wish I could have bought a loaf of their bread and a slice of every cake on offer.

I have a rest day tomorrow and will visit the John Muir museum to prepare myself for the John Muir Way, starting on Monday.

St Bathan’s Abbey Bakehouse.
Spot the missing Danish pastry
I was tempted to grab one of these
Your days are numbered
You’d think one of our nearby nuclear power plants had blown up
I’d rather walk along the A1

14 comments on “Day 15 – Southern Upland Way, tick

  1. Oh dear Tim! What has happened to our beautiful world? All those horrid human beans spoiling the place. You just have to thank God for St Bathan and their bake house … every cloud has a silver lining (or excellent pastry – whichever is more preferable).

    • I suppose I’m being elitist again. I should pack up my poetry and head straight back to the Albert Hall for the Proms. The beach was packed with families having a great time.

  2. Ooooh…..Just look at those pastries!!

  3. Vicky Williamson

    Kia Ora,Tim, what a ghastly sight those buildings are in your photo. Is that a Butlins Camp!!?? or perhaps a prison camp!? How can any sensible local authority allow that kind of development. On a second look I am wondering if it was immediate postwar solution to the problem of people homeless through bombing. Whatever, I am in disbelief that a beach is so blighted. The St Bathans Bakehouse picture has me drooling! Enjoy your Zero day. Kia kaha, Vicky

    • Hi Vicky, I was wondering what it takes to get planning permission for such a development right on the beach. It’s quite new. Presumably the regional plan says cement works – power station – holiday camp

  4. Guy Fawkes

    I love the large, red cylinders of LPG outside each chalet. It gives me an idea for regional improvement if you’re not busy tomorrow…

  5. Tassie Kaz

    🎉 Congratulations on completing the SUW Tim 👏 despite all manner of trials…
    Yes, the encampment is a blight on the land/seascape but possibly less so than a highrise or 5…
    Enjoy your rest & regroup day as you prepare for the next stage.

    • I guess it was a shock after walking the uplands but makes sense to confine tourism to one bay and let hundreds of people enjoy themselves. Shame about the power station and cement works right on the coast.

  6. Philippa

    Are those black dots in the water people? Swimming? Surfing? In wetsuits? My memory of swimming off the west coast suggests it may be a little chilly? Maybe you could test the waters and let us know!

    • Yes well spotted! People swimming and having fun. Very popular with surfers too. They are having a good holiday and I shouldn’t be critical of the development

  7. oh those pastries and gorgeous breads!

    • I’ve been given a tip for the best ever bake house at Skara Brae on Orkney. Keep reading!

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