Friday, May 6, 2016

Day 39: Harestanes to Morebattle

A few reflections before I start in on the happenings of today's portion of the pilgrimage along St. Cuthbert's Way:

1. This is absolutely the most beautiful part of the world I've been in -- both Steve and I feel a deep connection here not only to the beauty around us, but to the people as well.

2. The hours of walking in silence is a great blessing. Being with my partner for more than 34 years is a also great blessing -- and being able to be present to each other yet not speak is a great gift we have shared from the beginning of our dating until now. We are very comfortable in our silence, yet it is surprising how often our thoughts or feelings parallel each other not only at home but on this trip.

3. This walk is physically grueling -- but it is worth every step. While I may have done as many steps in a day in Italy, the mud, the climbing and ascending, all take their toll.

4. I was never so excited as to get a stamp in my book for how far I've come. The young lady at the Visitor Center Desk in Harestanes coudn't have been more helpful and encouraging! It was also unbelievably rewarding to see how far we had come while walking, looking back at the Eildon Hills (this one from yesterday):

5. Things I need to focus on keep coming to me in pray and reflection during the long walks. These are important and at times I stop and make notes on my iPhone to make sure I capture the thought or idea.

It started out a happy walk because both of us were fed and cared for well at Allerton House at Jedburgh.  That is definitely the place to stay there!

We loved the initial walk and I kept on wanting to take pictures of wildflowers.

We kept stopping to admire the beauty!

And then there was the only tea shop on the route:
Thank goodness -- a bathroom!

We were back on the trail and in for more ups, downs, a bit of mud, and walking too long on paved roads, but there were more beautiful breaks:

Near the end of our time on the dirt/grass trail we went through a farmer's field. The farmer was in the field on a large piece of equipment -- the yellow plants are a source of oil -- which comes from their seeds. There were fields and fields of them as we walked.

The last few miles were travelled on paved roads which is much worse on the knees and feet, so by the time we walked into the hotel we were staying at, I was done. Thankfully the room as comfortable (not as nice as the one last night, but clean and comfortable). I immediately took a shower and felt somewhat revived -- at least revived enough to put my shoes back on.

Steve and I went down to dinner -- I had gammon for the first time -- it was on the specials board. I didn't know what that was. Basically it is a big slice of ham, but unlike ham, it is raw when purchased, and then cooked at home. It was delicious! I had the choice of having a fried egg over the top or pineapple. Anyone who knows me knows that the fried egg wouldn't be my choice! It also came with peas and "chips" (French fries).

A very sweet local couple sat next to us. They were "second timers" as they told us, between them they have 6 children of their own and 2 foster children. Her 19 year old daughter came home from the city for a few days so they took advantage of her being home and went on a date night -- and here they were next to us eating one of the other specials of the night -- lasagne. They talked to us about Scotland and our trip so far. They were encouraging about our walk tomorrow.

We took a walk after dinner (yes, really!). The town of Morebattle is very pretty -- small, but very quiet. Here are a few pictures -- in the first you can see our shadows:

And here is where we stayed:

We met a sweet dog who was walking with her owner (off leash). He asked us if we were walking and we said yes. "You gotta go up the hill, you know. It's not that bad. View is great". Okay, another grand recommendation for our day tomorrow.

Total steps waked: 36,189.  13.92 miles

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