Day 36 -starting with coffee with Peebles in crowd

Trip Start Jun 12, 2010
Trip End Nov 18, 2010

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Flag of United Kingdom  , Scotland,
Sunday, July 25, 2010

We were pleased to check out of last night's B&B as we found out last night the bed was the worst we've yet encountered.  Despite a big walking day yesterday we struggled to sleep much.  Whereas the old communcal bathrooms with shared blocks of Imperial Leather soap brought a certain nostalgic flavour to our stay here, if you can't get a good night's sleep, everything else is irrelevant.  Also, on checking out after a cooked breakfast which included an  egg fried to oblivion by this elderly stooped white haired but steely-eyed lady, why was it that the consumately Scottish looking old lady added up the bills in German?  A question we will never know the answer to.  We were out on the pavement by 9.15 am and knew that we needed supplies for tomorrow's lunch as we would be walking in a remote area and there was very little expected at Innerleithen, where we were staying tonight.  Keith looked downcast as every cafe we passed on this Sunday morning was still closed.  The earliest would not be open until 10 o'clock and even he could not justify a 45 min delay to wait for a bad coffee.  We stacked up on enough food for four at the local co-op and headed over the lovely bridge to the south side of the Tweed to commence our walk.  It's a shame that we can't spend more time in Peebles which is clearly a very historic place.  The bridge dates from the 15th century and there is a small area called Parliament Place in the centre of town where, when the English took the Scottish King David the second in 1346, the Scottish Parliament met.  Time being of the essence, we were about to set off down the river when Debby's keen eyes located an information board for bike riders and walkers.  From this we deduced there was the potential of a better riverside walk all the way along the north side of the Tweed.  So, we switched back over the bridge only to find the clock in the tower chiming 10 o'clock.  Bingo, said Keith, the cafe's open!

This cafe was a real delight.  It was like being in a sit-com series, Seinfeld or Friends cannot really be compared.  It dawned on Keith it was exactly like being in the Dendi Deli with the swimming group back in Melbourne.  There was pleasant enough owner with a gruff deep Scottish accent and a penchant for sarcastic humour.  In the course of the first 10 mins of opening in came half a dozen men of a certain age who were clearly mates but who would never own up to it.  There was no doubt this was the highlight of their week, coming into communion with each other to throw sarcastic jibes at one another and generally be exposed to humiliation.  Just like the Icebergers their motto must be 'strength through humiliation'.  So we were delayed by being able to experience this wonderful cameo of Scottish manhood, so what!
We hit the trail at 10.45, sustained by a pretty poor coffee and a delightful still-warm fruit scone, ready for anything. 

The going was good at the start by walking the side of the River out through the Peebles parkland apart from a small deviation to get around the Innerleithen Water Treatment Plant (we thought of you Greg) we were able to follow this magnificent river through to a somewhat odd modern village that had been constructed around two golf courses in a place called Cardrona.  We walked through this sterile village which appeared somewhat inhuman even giving the appearance of a modern ghost town.  We exited the village onto the B7062 to Traquair.  Although we were now on a minor road, there was very little traffic and we were still enjoying the walk.  By now we are getting very close to the hills we have been looking at for the past two days.  These are the Southern Upland hills and tomorrow it is exciting to think that we will be walking straight up into them.  We believed we had a very short day today of only 10 kms. but we began to realise we had seriously underestimated the effect of our change of route.  We would now be walking a good 5 or 6 km further to go into Traquair and past the magnificent old home which has been visited by about 27 Scottish kings and is the oldest continuously inhabited house in Scotland. It's a feature of walking however, that no matter how short or long your day, frustration creeps in when it is taking longer than our thought and so it was that we became frustrated long before we walked into Innerleithen.  It was not yet 2 pm but we had expected to be here by 1 pm.  Still, arriving at the Traquair Arms, was an uplifting experience as we found we had a very well appointed room and they served Timothy Taylor's Landlord real ale at the bar. 

We had a lazy afternoon/evening with nothing much to report other than the simply tasteless food which we had from the kitchen for both lunch and dinner.  It was stretching the imagination that a wild mushroom risotto, which we both chose for dinner, could possibly be so completely devoid of taste that both of us applied salt and pepper to get some taste, before pushing away half eaten plates. Innerleithen was saved when we made a brief sojourn in the afternoon up the High Street, by a small cafe at which Debby was able to consume a good slice of freshly made Apple Cake.  For the first time, just about, on the trip we turned on the television in our room and watched an episode of Sherlock Holmes before falling asleep.
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Morag on

I like being the first to make a comment! I had previewed your photos from day 35 earlier today and so was anticipating the blog. Sleuthing again!
Now Peebles I have been to once but have little memory of the place, so from now on I am going to be educated by you on countryside unfamiliar - I look forward to it!

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