Yetholm & The Cheviots – Walking

I did promise to write up this walk; but it was 3 months ago now so I might be making most of this up.

Loyal readers will recall that I was camped in Town Yetholm, in my cheapo Millets tent, in below freezing night-time temperatures.  I’d not had time to think about where I was going to walk, so I just booked in for one night until I’d had a chance to look at my new maps.  It was soon pretty obvious that there was plenty of opportunity for good walking – with St Cuthberts Way and the Pennine Way on the doorstep –  so, in the morning, I extended my booking for another couple of nights.

With so many footpathP1020441s, I’m not really sure why I spent the first hour walking on the road but I think it was because I’d been told “England is just over there” and I wanted to be sure.

Satisfied that England was where it should be, I left the road and started to link up whatever paths I came to.  It was a beautiful day; the cold night nicely balanced by warm sunshine but with a slight bite in the air.  Sitting in the sun at the edge of a path, I was suddenly overtaken by a strange urge to go up a hill.  I’ve found this has been happening more and more recently, and I’m not sure what the cure is.

A tempting hill

A tempting hill

The climb was hard work at times, but there was no need to rush and I took my time admiring the views or (for those of a less charitable nature) huffing and puffing whilst clinging to my Pacer Poles for support.

The climb was worth the effort:

P1020464Dropping down off the hill, I ended up on St Cuthberts Way and heading back into Scotland.  I called in at the Town Yetholm shop on the way back to the campsite and was disappointed to find that they did not sell any proper beer; just industrial waste in cans, so I made do with pop with my tea.  I was delighted to find that the out-of-date couscous in the split packet which had been in the back of my car for a couple of years was delicious!

I did another circular walk next day, taking in parts of St Cuthberts Way and the Pennine Way.   After only 10 or 15 minutes, I realised that something was amiss.  I have a Suunto miniature compass and thermometer which I clip onto my rucksack shoulder strap so that I can easily get a rough compass bearing without having to get out my full-size compass.  I’d hung this up inside my tent so that I could keep an eye on how cold it got overnight – and I’d forgotten to take it with me on the walk.  I did have my Silva in my pack, but I’d not realised how dependent I’ve become on the smaller Suunto; the Silva seems HUGE by comparison.

St Cuthberts Way marker I can’t remember much about this day’s walk – pleasant though it was – although I obviously still had last night’s beer disappointment on my mind.  I knew that the shop shut at 6pm and I decided that I’d give it another chance to satisfy my alcoholic cravings desire for a drink with my dinner but this time I would buy a bottle of wine.  Unfortunately, I only decided on this course of action at 4:30 when passing a PW marker which said “Kirk Yetholm 6 miles”.  Oh dear, the shop is in Town Yetholm which is further away, but I should be able to do 6 or 7 miles in an hour and a half, shouldn’t I?

I set off at a fair lick; jogging the downhill sections and walking as fast as I could on the rough bits.  I came to a sign which, to paraphrase, said “Steep, nasty PW this way; Flat but slightly longer PW that way” – I took the flatter route.

As I walked/jogged, I thought through my options.  I didn’t really want to burst into the shop at 1 minute to 6, just as the shutters were coming down, and splurt out “Wine! I need wine!”, so maybe the pub in Kirk Yetholm was a better option?  However, I’d been in there on my first night and I reckoned they’d charge a lot more for a bottle of vino plonko than I usually pay – so the shop was still my best option.

Eventually, I reached the tarmac road at the end of the Pennine Way and walked uphill to Kirk Yetholm as fast as I could.  Having not heard the distinctive chimes of the church clock, I assumed that I was still on schedule and took a quick look at my watch.  Oh bother!  It was 5 past 6.  I’d failed in my mission.

The only option now was the pub.  I’d seen some bottled ales behind the bar so I decided to buy a couple of those rather than the more expensive wine.  After a slight delay while I arranged a meeting with the Building Society to arrange a mortgage, I left the pub with two half-litres of liquid gold served in crystal decanters.  Yes, it looked like beer – but it certainly wasn’t priced like it!  How can a pint of cask ale, served in a glass, cost £3 but a 500ml (ie less than a pint) bottle cost £4?  As I walked away from the pub, I swear I could hear loud chortling and cries of “There goes another one!!”, but hopefully I played my part to help the local economy.  You’ll be pleased to hear that the beer went very nicely with my [in date] dinner.

I enjoyed this trip very much.  The new tent worked well and the walking was amazing.  The Border region has a lot going for it and I’ll certainly be going back – but via an Off Licence.

A nice picture to end on

A nice picture to end on


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5 Responses to Yetholm & The Cheviots – Walking

  1. JJ says:

    Only one way to cure the urge I’m afraid…..climb a hill!
    As for expensive beer, well it’s expensive, Innit.


  2. Andrew says:

    If I didn’t live in East Anglia, I would pop out on those hills for the views, avoiding the pub. 🙂
    Oh the memories of days without RAIN.


  3. AlanR says:

    Take some beers with you. I presume you went in the car. Would you be thinking of joining Mike and friends on the Peebles/Dunbar walkies by any chance?


  4. Alan R says:

    Thats good. Maybe we could share transport. Sort something out nearer the time.


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