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Rosie leads the way over the bridge

First cyclist of the day

More cyclists enjoying the day

Alpaca on walk

Dorothy and backpack at kissing gate

Stop for a refreshing drink

Starting an uphill section

Top of the climb

Getting a bit hot

Other travellers we met

Bale wrapper

Sponsored Walk  - Saturday 9 June 2018

Report - Jim Paterson. Pictures - Jim Paterson, Dorothy Paterson, Gordon Macdonald

The sun shone on the 11 walkers, and Rosie the dog, as they set off from St. Mungo's to walk the Tweed valley from Cardronna to Innerleithen. Along the river and over the hills, with a call for ice creams at Caldwells in Innerleithen made it a great
day out. Some walkers even turned out in their shorts.

We arrived at Cardronna station, which was an intermediate station on the Peebles to Innerleithen extension which eventually linked up with the Waverley Line at Galashiels, from 1864 to 1962. The old station waiting room is home to Nashy's Coffee House providing a great place to park up and grab a bacon roll before heading off on the walk.

We shared the walk with the morning golfers on the Macdonald Cardronna course, before crossing the River Tweed over the Woodend footbridge to the north side. Meeting cyclists on the route of the now disused railway line became a regular occurrence on the path, with the call 'cyclists' becoming a regular feature, for those approaching us from behind. We commented that not many bicycles seem to be equipped with bells these days.

Eventually we reached Glenormiston Halt, a rest point where some kept on the riverside walk, heading for Innerleithen, whilst others set off up the hills toward Velvet Hall. The spot we divided, at Glenormiston, has its own fascinating history, but we will come to that later.

I joined the group heading up to the hills. The farmers were busy harvesting silage and as we passed they were scooping up the cut grass into those big rolls you see scattered across fields after harvest. Another tractor then lifted these rolls, two at a time to take them to the farmyard where we watched a machine wrap them in black polythene. Having never seen it done before it was quite mesmerising.
Crossing the A72 Peebles to Innerleithen Road we headed uphill passing the Velvet Hall Alpaca centre. Nothing in the stables or field, so where could they be? From around the corner just ahead of us they appeared, led by a group of keepers, walking the animals along the forest paths. Recently shorn, the Alpaca's  that is, meant they were cool under the noon day sun.
Onward and upward into the forest heading north uphill toward Lee Pen hill. A sharp turn east through the trees led us eventually to the  'kissing gate' into the sunshine at Caerlee Hill, the site of an iron age fort, now home to a radio mast providing 4G mobile telephony to Innerleithen and surrounds. Dorothy Paterson lost her flask of tea at the kissing gate, heaving her backpack over the gate to make it easier to pass through. Pity the backpack landed on the thermos flask inside, with a sickening sound of breaking glass, as the thermos inner flask took the brunt of the landing, leaking hot tea over the grass.

We were all grateful that it was all downhill now to Innerleithen, and the prize of a world famous 'Caldwells' ice cream. Here we met the riverside walkers, now on their third cone!  Where did I go wrong? Lunch on the 'green' followed, where those with any grub tucked in and enjoyed a refreshing drink. O, apart from poor Dorothy, but we won't mention that again!

Refreshed we headed south out of Innerleithen toward the River Tweed, passing the old tollhouse, turning west along the riverside, before we reached the bridge over the river to Traquair. The rough track led to a tarred walkway, the path of the old railway, where we passed more cyclists and other travellers, enjoying their event. The route led back to Glenormiston Halt, where we split on the outward walk.

When the Cardronna to Innerleithen section of the Peebles to Galashiels railway was built in 1864, William Chambers, born in Peebles, cofounder of Chambers Encyclopedia and Dictionary, publisher, and Lord Provost of Edinburgh, the then owner of Glenormiston House, built this now demolished private station, or halt, to allow his guests to arrive and depart by train. The building of private halts was not uncommon at the time. William built the Chambers Institute in Peebles, his birth town, with a library, reading room, gallery and museum. Not unlike the Cowan Institute built by the philanthropic Andrew Cowan in Penicuik.

Back to Glenormiston Halt, where residents of Old Howford village on the opposite bank of the Tweed could cross at the nearby Ford, to reach the railway, some taking to stilts to keep their feet dry.

We were on the home stretch now and managed to avoid the forecast thunderstorms. The foreboding black clouds which gathered when we were in Innerleithen had dispersed and moved away, to allow the return of the sunshine..

A great day, taking in beautiful countryside, right on our doorstep. Your church sponsored walk truly 'walks through history', and is a great way to find out more about the community we live in. If you are not able to join us please think about sponsoring someone who does. All funds raised go to the upkeep of your church.

Total received from sponsorship is £859, much of which is ‘gift-aided’ and should yield a further £142 (approx.) in recovered tax.
While short of last year’s all-time-record-breaking sums, a very good effort, especially when there were only 11 walkers (inclusive of 1 octogenarian and 3 guests) with an average age of over 70.

Very WELL DONE and THANKS to both our WALKERS and their SPONSORS.

Enjoying ice cream

enjoying the sunshine too

Stepping out in style

Published 13 June 2018
Updated 28 June 2018
Penicuik: St. Mungo's Parish Church (Church of Scotland). Scottish Charity No SC005838