Day 77 – Jedburgh to Melrose

Today’s route started with a long meander down by the river, which I crossed on the wobbliest suspension bridge ever, then around the grounds of the local stately home (“visiting hours ONLY”). The path then continued to follow Dere Street, through gently rolling fields of wheat and well-upholstered cows. It wasn’t the most exciting walk, but it was good to be away from rain-soaked moorland. The path up to Lilliardstone was lined with mature oaks – the first big trees I’ve seen in a while – and the difference between this quiet, pastoral landscape and the last stages of the Pennine Way is really stark.
Lilliardstone is named after a historically dodgy but nationalistically inspiring woman who supposedly fought the English even after her legs were cut off. There is a nice monument and poetic inscription, as well as a more recent information board debunking it all.
There was then another meander by another river, this time the Tweed. I opted to take a shortcut through two villages – St Boswell and Newton St Boswell – and then decided to head straight for Melrose on a minor road rather than climbing through the Eildon hills for a lark, as suggested by the guide.
My route ran around the bottom of the hills, giving me good views, and also went past the Rhymers Stone, where local legend says Thomas the Rhymer fell asleep and met the Queen of the Fairies, after which he could foretell the future.
There was then a short stroll into Melrose, in a bit of a drizzle, to find Arran and the kids waiting by the Abbey. We were all too tired to explore, so I took a photo from the outside and we headed home in the rain.
Highlights: pale golden wheat and green oak leaves; Scott’s romantic embroidery; a quiet walk through Eildon and down into Melrose.

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