Southern Uplands & Borders, Scotland

The Scottish Borders are a striking example of how my interest in exploring the countryside really only developed after I'd left Edinburgh. In fact, it took me until 2002 before I ventured into what lay around Peebles and Innerleithen. It was later again before I ventured into the western end of the Southern Uplands with a visit to Lockerbie and Moffat in June 2006. That proved to be my first taste of the Southern Upland Way (there was a glimpse of the Devil's Beeftub too on what was a grey day that never really brightened at all) too and it was followed later in the month by a visit to Galashiels and Peebles. September of the same year saw me return to Moffat for a sun-blessed walk from St. Mary's Loch, an alluring spot that was very hard to leave, back to Moffat again. That followed a lengthy stretch of the Southern Upland Way but I get the impression that many stages of this national trail are the same in this respect. That glorious trot has not been the end of the story for there have been walks between Selkirk and Melrose (May 2010), Wooler in Northumberland to Kirk Yetholm and Newtown St. Boswell's on sections of St. Cuthbert's Way. The latter even fitted in a visit to Dryburgh Abbey and a bit of time spent ambling around the Eildon Hills. There even was some time for exploring Melrose Abbey during the same weekend at the start of July 2011! Photos from those later trips have yet to appear here but they deserve inclusion so it's an omission that I plan to remedy.

While Galloway is further away and that makes it easier to see why my footfall never was felt there until later, it is curious why I never ventured into the Scottish Borders from Edinburgh. Even the Pentland Hills were left unexplored and I could see them from a bedroom window when I lived on Dalkeith Road. The delights of Edinburgh and fiddling with computers really must have blinded me to what was on my doorstep back then. After all, places such as Peebles are just an hour away from the city by bus and the same nearly could be said for Galashiels and Melrose. The hills around either of those places would have been a good training ground for what lay further north but the possibilities simply never entered my head. Since that wouldn't be the case nowadays, things really must have changed for me.