Day 53: 15 May 2014; Moffatt to Abington

Day 53: 15 May 2014; Moffatt to Abington
Walk descriptor LEJOG2014 Day 53
Date Thu 15 May 2014 Start to end time 07h 32m
Start point Moffatt End point Abington
Miles today 18.73 Cu miles 993.00
Ft today 2,335 Cu ft 134,622
Route miles left 496.05 Route ft left 63,604
Today’s weather Dull and misty in morning, after overnight rain. Hazy sun in afternoon. Very little wind. Warm around 16C
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Today’s location
(the red cross in a circle shows where I am at the moment)
GPX based track of today’s walk
(click here to access to access downloadable file)
Commentary

“As I finished the walk today I found myself singing out loud (it was the Proclaimers, if interested). I’m not quite sure why this happened, but it must say something about my general humour this afternoon.

I’d really enjoyed my stay at Moffat campsite – as well as being donated to me free of charge, the bathrooms were a bit of a temple to ablution – spacious, spotlessly clean, and with generous free showers. It rained overnight but had stopped by the time I got up. I was away by 7:30 this morning, as I wanted to allow plenty of time for what I thought was going to be a pretty difficult traverse through the Border hills to Abington. I paused for a few minutes to look at Moffat as I went through – it’s a tidy well-kept town which claims to be “walker friendly”. Like many of these border towns, it’s long and thin, with the majority of the settlement lying alongside the main road, which runs through the middle. I was especially interested to see the famous “Moffat Ram” – sculpted by the same artist as made the Greyfriar’s Bobby dog in Edinburgh and particularly noteworthy because he forgot to put any ears on it.

After inspecting the earless sheep I set off out of town on the Annandale Way again. This quickly climbed out of the valley and up to meet the A 701 road near the gloriously named Willie’s Well. At that point I left the Way and headed off into the forest, not knowing quite what to expect. I planned to follow an old Roman road shown on the map, which I hoped would lead me over into the Clyde Valley and then to Abington. I found the path alright and after a mile or two of struggling through bog and tussock-grass, it turned into a gravel forestry track which was easy to follow. Along the way I rather unexpectedly almost trod on a lizard, scurrying about in the undergrowth.

And then right in the depths of the forest, I came across a huge “Forestry Harvesting Demo”. This event is the highlight of the tree harvesting year, it seems, and according to a couple of security guards I spoke to it attracts all the major tree harvesting companies and £millions worth of tree harvesting equipment was on display. As I wasn’t wearing my check shirt and hadn’t turned up in a pick-up truck with rows of spotlights screwed to the roof I felt rather out of place. But it was interesting nevertheless – a sort of lumberjack’s bring-and-buy sale I suppose.

The walk down the upper Clyde valley to Abington was very easy – I followed a cycleway and a narrow road alongside the railway. I stopped off in Crawford for a bacon roll and some tea, then decided to have a strawberry milkshake and piece of millionaire’s shortbread as well. So perhaps that, combined with the warm sunshine which decided to make a late appearance, was why I was singing so cheerfully along the latter stages of the walk.

My campsite tonight is right by the railway in Abington and I need to spend this evening doing some route re-planning. I’ve adjusted my route to enable me to camp in the Abington campsite, rather than wild-camping in the remote Southern Uplands. But that has put me rather off-track for my next destination, Lanark. A friend has told me about a narrow road that goes part of the way, so I’ll probably use that, but it does sadly mean that Tinto Hill, which I was looking forward to climbing, will have to get the chop. Yes – it’s on the “come back to another day” list.

One of my friends is coming down from Glasgow tonight for a beer – so that promises to be a nice finish to a very interesting and unexpectedly enjoyable day.

Today’s photos (click to enlarge)
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The strange thing apparently growing out of my right shoulder is the famous earless ram of Moffat I almost trod on this lizard, scurrying about in the undergrowth in the forest. I thought lizards liked warm dry places – but this was cool and wet
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If you’re a rufty-tufty lumberjack attending the tree harvesting demo, the last thing you’d want to do is trip up. A solitary fern growing out of a bridge parapet on the track over the infant river Clyde
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It struck me that the sign outside Crawford clinic is just about as big as the clinic itself! Walking alongside the railway again this afternoon. Motorway, path and railway are all crammed together in the upper reaches of the Clyde valley
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Panorama looking back down over upper Annandale. A remote palce, completely silent when I wa sthere this morning.
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