Adventure

Cycling Day 8: Bedrule (Scotland) To Berwick-Upon-Tweed (England)

Yesterday evening I posted this aspirational image to Instagram:

The reality, as with much of what we see on social media, was very different. I woke up for the second day on the trot in a tent surrounded by water. I packed, once again, inside the tent and quickly dismantled the tent in the rain. For a few moments – more than a few moments in fact – I stood in the covered area of the campsite looking at my wet bike while wearing wet clothes contemplating a wet morning on the bike. A triple-whammy of wetness. Added to this, I didn’t really know where I was going.

The local options for breakfast were Hawick and Jedburgh. I asked the woman running the campsite which was the ‘best’. She said Jedburgh was the prettiest so it was to there I headed. On such turns of a coin things pan out…

Arriving in Jedburgh I went for a pootle around on the bike. Everything tourist-wise (the Castle / prison, the derelict abbey, Mary Queen of Scot’s House – she has stayed there overnight…) was closed of course but I found a friendly café and spent half an hour or so pondering my options whilst eavesdropping on the comical conversation of the three old Scottish boys behind me. They were discussing the reactions of the nurses who, over the years, had inspected their bladders and nether regions. It was all very Still Game. Perhaps we English have been fooled all along and Still Game is actually an observational documentary…

I had by this point asked Twitter for some thoughts on my options:

  • Direct to Edinburgh
  • An elongated / indirect route to Edinburgh or
  • Head to the coast and cycle along it from Berwick

Of the three options, the coastal route seemed to have the most favourable comments so I decided to head north-east along the border to Berwick-upon-Tweed. Basically this meant following the Tweed river and cycle route 1 (EuroVelo 12). It turned out to be a good option.

I picked up the route in beautiful Kelso. Had you asked me what I knew about Kelso this morning I would have said that it was one of those obscure places that Dickie Davis talked about on World of Sport in the 1970s: “But first we are going to Kelso for our first race of the day; over to you Brough…” How ignorant am I and what a lovely place Kelso is! It reminded me very much of one of the small towns that you find along the Loire Valley in France; beautiful arched bridge over the wide river, picturesque buildings on the bank, a main square (a main square!!! How often do you see one of those in Britain?) and a great hulk of a stately home / chateau next door. There is much more to Kelso than Dickie Davis and Brough Scott…

Post Kelso I picked up route 1 and spent the next few hours negotiating 90° turns along farm tracks. Lovely countryside. The kind of stuff your granny would like. And me. Perhaps I am your granny. That would be weird. Move on…

The route did meander back into England a couple of times and my destination was, of course, in England but not before passing over the wonderful chain bridge that I remember crossing from the north bank back in 2009.

The memories of that trip were further reinforced when, upon arrival in Berwick, I remembered that this is where it all began; Berwick railway station on August 1st 2009 when I set off, rather nervously, along the route of the Pennine Cycleway.

The railway station seems to have spruced itself up a little in the eleven intervening years. As I stood there this afternoon, a couple of trains sped through en route south. Should I call it quits? It would certainly alleviate the looming accommodation situation…

Earlier in the day I had called a campsite a few miles inland but they had no availability. I had nothing booked upon arrival in Berwick so cycled down to the harbour and went online. The nearest campsite was a Camping & Caravanning place on the south of the Tweed. I’ve never stayed in such an establishment before. I always associate them in my mind with swingers. Apologies if you are a regular at these campsites and are offended by this comment. Apologies if you are a swinger and offended by being associated with camping and caravanning. Irrespective, I phoned the number…

Well it’s only 9:30pm so you never know what might happen on the coming few hours (the guy in the van three pitches down who is currently charging my power bank – not a euphemism – told me he didn’t go to bed until at least 3am…). I’ll report all tomorrow. But that aside, with a wonderful view of Berwick…

…and dry clothes courtesy of the sun that has now returned…

…all washed down with some M&S food and wine…

…what’s not to like? See you tomorrow in, well, who knows?

Categories: Adventure, Cycling, Travel

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