Frosty Hills and Prints in Penrith

Today we were heading south along the Tweed valley enjoying the sun as it gradually rose above the hills.





There are several footpaths around the Devil’s Beeftub and I saw at least one person on the ridge today. I hope to return when we are not so pushed for time and explore some of them. Still in sub-zero temperatures, we stopped at the Rheged Centre on the outskirts of Penrith. It hosts numerous activities for both children and adults including play areas, workshops, a cinema, cafe, shops specialising in local and British produce and a gallery. We were there as I was very keen to see an exhibition of prints I had seen advertised. Over 380 works from different printmakers are exhibited and there is a lot of information about and a demonstration of printmaking techniques. I am hoping to do more of this and so found it fascinating. These are some of the landscapes on display:
The exhibition is on until February 26 2017 and is free. We had a bite to eat in the cafe and then returned to the very busy motorway. Looking at the crowds at each service station we passed, we were glad we did not need to stop here. After giving up on the M6 just after the Thelwall Viaduct and finishing the last few miles on the A50, our neighbour’s cat was waiting for us at home.

A new (old) railway to the River Tweed

Born 29 days after Beeching took up the chair of British Railways Board and closed so many railway lines, I grew up with abandoned railways all around the country. Many of these have become footpaths, some of which I have walked upon. Today we travelled on a railway which re-opened last September. We had intended to do this much earlier but poor weather and other commitments meant it did not happen until today.It is the northern part of the old Waverley Route which used to run between Edinburgh and Carlisle and which was closed in 1969. The train takes an hour to get from Edinburgh to Tweedbank through some of the communities I used to work in and which are almost unrecognisable 30 years later as so much new housing has been built. At one point I had thought that I might walk along the abandoned railway line alongside the A7 as part of my planned walk from my home in south Cheshire to the one in Edinburgh. That will not happen now and I have found an alternative route. From the station at Tweedbank there is a cycle path to Melrose but you can divert on a footpath by the River Tweed which is part of the Southern Upland Way and the Borders Abbey Way and takes you into Melrose.
Path by the Tweed 4 June 2016-1
One of the first places it passes is Skirmish Hill, site of a battle in 1526 when Archibald Douglas, Earl of Angus, was challenged by Walter Scott of Buccleuch over the custody of the 14-year-old King James V. Wildflowers were in bloom along the path and particularly striking was the comfrey.
Comfrey by the Tweed 2 4 June 2016-1
Nearer to Melrose we arrived at the Gattonside Suspension Bridge which is also known as the Chain Bridge and opened in 1826. In the town, we had a snack, bought some books (Melrose has a new and a secondhand bookshop) and explored the Priorwood Garden and dried flower shop which gave me some more ideas for drying my own flowers and plants.
Priorwood garden Melrose 4 June 2016-1
From the garden and surrounding streets you can see the abbey.
Melrose Abbey 4 June 2016-1
We did not have time to visit it today but walked back along the path to the station. Back in Edinburgh it was time to replace my old rucksack which has done many miles but is slowly falling apart despite lots of repairs. That done, we headed back to flat for diner with a friend before planning tomorrow’s journey.