Wednesday 9 October 2013--After yesterday's walk, I'm thinking to take a day off; but my feet feel pretty good, so I test them with a short
walk near Cocklawfoot. There are several dead-end roads around here that reach into the border hills, and the farm at Cocklawfoot is at the end of
one. Walk up to examine the earthworks of an ancient settlement on White Knowe.
My feet still feel fine, so I drive down the spur toward Nether and Upper Hindhope, stopping at the the point where Dere Street, the ancient Roman road, intersects. I walked up to Woden Law the last time I was here; today I intend to continue on up Dere Street to the Pennine Way, along to the Roman encampment at Chew Green, down to the road at Nether Hindhope, and back to the car. I've gotten out a bit late, as usual, and so have to watch the time--I've figured it as a four-hour walk, and have five hours and some until sunset. If I'm not at Chew Green in two hours, I'll turn back the way I came.
The pavement of Dere Street is either buried or gone on the the first stretch up the hill, but it's still recognizable as a road. Some way past Woden Law, it curves along the shoulder of a hill, and it's evident that the roadbed has long ago slid down the slope. The trail is but a narrow footpath, and the hillside below is covered with gravel. A herd of feral goats watches me from above. A little more than an hour along, I reach the intersection with the Pennine Way, and not long after that, cross over into England. I am just about on time, but when I reach Chew Green, I know I don't have any time to explore the old Roman earthworks, and in fact lose a half hour on my theoretical schedule circling around it. Another time, perhaps, I will explore this site via the road up the Coquet Valley in Northumberland, which I can see across the valley.
I push on along the Pennine Way, and presently I can see down to the road at Hindhope. I can't find the trail down to Nether Hindhope, however, and spend time I can't afford looking for it. The sun is setting, and I'm starting to feel panicky. After a while, I decide to bushwhack down to Upper Hindhope, which I can at least plainly see. It's not easy walking, that much less so because I seem to be raising blisters on both heels. I reach the road about twenty minutes after sunset, at the far edge of twilight. It's two or three miles yet down the road to the car, in the dark, with burning heels. I know I'm lucky not to be up in the hills yet.
Arrive at the Plough looking for dinner, but I'm too late--the kitchen closed at 8:00. It's quiz night, and I'm told there will be sandwiches at halftime. Neither sandwiches nor quiz appeal, and I head for the door. I'm almost outside when I realize I'm being stupid...it's sandwiches or starve. Turn around and order a pint, and gorge myself when the sandwiches arrive. I am grateful for them.