I always sleep well in a tent and this night was no exception. I think I’ve got the hang of my Thermarest Neoair now and I know how much air to put in so that my boney bits don’t touch the floor but I don’t roll off either. I did wake up feeling cold a couple of times, but I was fine once I’d put on my Rab Neutrino gilet and fastened up my sleeping bag hood.
We were a bit slow to get going in the morning, but as I seemed to be ready before some of the others, I set off up Bodesbeck Law on my own. Looking back down the hill, I noticed that although this landscape has obviously been managed by humans, eg the forest, the fences and the drystone walls, it still feels quite wild. I don’t get the same sort of feeling when I’m walking in most parts of England or Wales. I also noticed that there were hills everywhere; the Borders definitely don’t get the recognition they deserve and I hadn’t realised I had such a good walking area only three and bit hours drive from home.
The weather today was hot and I soon took off my smock. The breeze meant that I didn’t feel my arms and neck burning until I woke up on Day 3. [Note to self: After remembering to put some suncream in the rucksack, remember to apply it to skin].
We stayed high, all morning, walking the ridge between Bell Craig, Andrewhinney Hill (which I assumed was a name Mike had made up), Mid Rig and Herman Law. At Bell Craig the party briefly split into two, with the mad baggers going the extra couple of hundred yards to the top and the normal people enjoying a brief sit down and rest in the sun.
It was a hot day and there was no opportunity to collect any water from becks this high up, so I was starting to feel that I really did need a proper long drink rather than just the occasional sip from my bottle. We were all running low on water and things weren’t helped when our Glorious Leader
wet himself sat on his water bladder valve when we stopped for lunch! I knew we’d be stopping at the Tibble Shiels Inn in a couple of hours and I began to be fixated on the thought of a pint of orange squash. When we reached the Inn, I had my squash followed by a very nice Brie and chutney sandwich and beer.
We then walked the length of St Mary’s Loch, rejoining the Southern Upland Way, and camped where the Yarrow Water meets the loch. We had a choice of a lovely lush patch of grass in a field full of lambing ewes, or a rather scrubby patch of ground next to the track. So as not to upset the ewes (or the farmer) we stayed on the near side of the river. I was slightly uneasy about getting unpacked and pitching this close to the track as there was a car parked there and I prefer to be out of sight; however, the car owner turned up eventually and warned us, in a friendly way, that she’d be back very early in the morning and hoped she wouldn’t disturb us.
Having already eaten at the Inn, I had a simple bedtime snack of tea, nuts, chocolate and dried fruit. Again, we all had an early night but this time we knew we had to be up at the crack of sparrows for the final push into Peebles.