Walk completed August 28, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 61 – Innerleithen to Eddleston, 12 miles

Today was another day for meeting interesting people. Although there was no recurrence of yesterday’s foot problem, I was getting tired of walking on paved roads. So I scoured the map for an off road route that would take me in the right direction. The first opportunity came about 4 miles out of Innerleithen. The map showed a vehicle track leading away from the road, turning into a footpath, passing through a private garden estate, and back to the road for about a mile. I decided to take it.

On the ground, things don’t always look like they do on maps. In real life, the lane looked more like a driveway, and was posted with a notice that it was only for guests of the bunkhouse. I wasn’t a guest at the bunkhouse, but I’m a foreigner, so that pretty much excuses any trespasses. As I started down the driveway, I came upon a lady tending to chickens. With my best American accent, I asked her if this was the track which connected to the footpath.

Champion chicken
She replied that it was indeed the right of way, and explained that she was in the process of moving her hens. Her name is Dorinda and she and her husband run the bunkhouse. More interestingly, their hobby is raising exotic chickens. They’ve got chickens from Japan, Poland, Russia, and I can’t remember how many different countries. The chickens all look different, and about the only thing they have in common is feathers, beaks and feet. Several of the chickens are British champions, and she shows them regularly. I’m not exactly sure what’s involved in showing chickens; I doubt they are led around on leashes. Some species were bred for fighting, but since that’s no longer allowed, I’m not sure how they are judged.

Dorinda pointed me in the direction of the lane, and told me to climb over the first locked gate, and proceed to Kaislie Garden, about a mile down the path. After passing through the garden, she said my way would be barred by a high, locked gate, but I should turn left down a lane, pass through the gift shop, and out to the car park. Since I was walking and not visiting the gardens, I wouldn’t have to pay the admission charge.

Well, OK. I followed her instructions to the letter, and when passing through the gift shop, I told the clerk in my best American accent, “I think I’m lost.” She pointed me to the car park and I left without paying the admission. Funny thing, though, I walked through most of the garden to get there. I wonder if the same process works in movie theaters.

A little later, I was back on the road, and saw a man working in his garage. I don’t normally enter people’s garages to engage in conversation, but right there next to him was a vintage Triumph. So I walked up and introduced myself to Peter, and asked if I could take a picture of his car. Peter built the car in 1984 from a kit, so it’s not exactly a vintage Triumph, but it is 27 years old.

The walk continued on the road to Peebles, after which I tried several times to follow footpaths to Eddleston. Generally the footpaths worked, but every time they brought me back to the major road A703 between Peebles and Eddleston. I finally gave up and walked the final mile dodging high speed traffic. I figure it was good practice for when I have to walk the busy A99 between Inverness and John O’Groats.

© 2011 Ken Klug

1 comment:

  1. I bet those chickens made you hungry...they are fluffy and beautiful. Peebles reminds me of Woodbridge.