21.9 miles – sullen skies, desultory rain later on
There was a ‘hard route’ and an ‘easy’ route on offer: the former covered 22 miles to Melrose over the hills, the latter on a lane by the banks of the Tweed. Wanting to make Melrose by evening for sure, I chose the easy route; however, the Tweed was mostly obscured from view, and under those leaden skies the scenery was rather dull most of the way. Nevertheless, the elegant Tweed did show herself, escorted by sweeping beach trees towards Melrose. However, most of the day seemed like I was just plodding out the miles.
I enjoyed seeing the train on the newly-reopened line pull into Tweedbank Station. There used to be a great network of railways connecting all the important Border towns – Peebles, Galashiels, Melrose, Selkirk, Hawick and Kelso – all gone in the 60s under Dr Beeching’s axe. How can it have been allowed to happen?! A couple of years ago they reopened a 35 mile stretch from Edinburgh to Tweedbank – it’s a couple of miles short of Melrose; the trackbed beyond is taken over by a road. The new line was an immediate success. It may now be impossible to reopen the whole line to Carlisle; oh that they had not ravaged it in the first place.