The wind buffeted our little tent relentlessly all night making sleep difficult. It was, and still is, forecast to continue until the weekend. I let myself be persuaded, too easily perhaps, by the chap who looks after the campsite that my planned ride to Jedburgh would be into the wind all the way, and terribly hard. In the course of a long discussion about all things, which involved a welcome cup of coffee in his hut, another chap arrived and concurred with the advice to stay put till the weather improved. I’m not sure they were right about the headwind, and I was determined to get to Scotland today, but I certainly was tired.
Anyway, after a visit from some cows, who seemed to enjoy Raisin’s barking, we set off to explore the environs on foot, finding a babbling burn and impressive, purple sided gorge right on our doorstep.
Then we rode the 7 miles or so to the village of Norham, laughing at how easy the hills felt with no luggage to haul, with just Raisin in the trailer, headwind or no. A couple smoking outside the Queen Victoria flagged us down for a chat about the trailer and what we were up to, pointing us in the direction of the village shop and of Scotland.
We also saw Norham Castle, defiantly giving its northern neighbours the finger after being besieged by the Scots many times over the years. The border with Scotland here is the river Tweed, and Norham has a fine bridge spanning it. The island in the middle (‘no man’s land’) would be a tax haven, the chaps at the campsite had told me, if the owner wanted to build a house on it. But it’s a bit prone to flooding….
To celebrate reaching Scotland at last, we went to the Mason’s Arms back in the village for lunch and found our new friends from ‘the Vic’, Pockets and Cobey, we’re there. Pockets (excellent nickname; real name Lesley) told everyone in the pub that I had cycled from Suffolk with the wee dog and declared me a hero, which was nice if somewhat embarrassing.
So it’s good to have got this far but I am still pondering the next move. Route 1 goes inland now, East then North to Edinburgh, and Jedburgh is the next campsite in that direction, which puts us into the hills I think. Or, as I only realised today, Sustrans Route 68 continues up the coast, where Dunbar is the next campsite and where I have the offer of a place to stay a bit further round in North Berwick. But the wind will make that 35 miles difficult. I’ll (try) to sleep on it.