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Lockerbie, Eskdalemuir, Kirkhope, Innerleithen, Bonnyrigg, Edinburgh, Scotland.
(3˝  day bike-pack)
Sat 15 Jun - Tue 18 Jun 2019

Mon 17 Jun 2019

Sat 15 Jun 2019
Sun 16 Jun 2019
Mon 17 Jun 2019
Tue 18 Jun 2019
 
Constant rain through the night but not too heavy. Still overcast in the morning as I packed up but enough wind to take the moisture off the tent. I'd wheeled my bike across some wet and rushy ground to reach my camp spot but noticed a track nearby. When the bike was loaded I wheeled it over and found it took me directly back down to the road. I could see the pass road winding its way up ahead and wondered if I'd be able to ride the whole way up. I continued steadily until the start of the last steep gradient.
Shelter at the pass summit
Presented to Lord Eskdaill by the Tenants and Staff of the Bowhill, Eckford, Eildon, Branxholme and Dalkeith Estates to mark his 21st Birthday on 2nd August 2005
21st birthday.
I stopped to have a last look back down the valley and set off upwards. I was pleasantly surprised to find gears 2 & 1 were fine for the final climb and I stopped at the summit area to investigate a substantial stone windbreak. There was an inscribed stone tablet in it detailing its presence. The map calls the area Witchie Knowe, a wonderful name. I used my brakes a lot on the descent to keep my speed down to the buildings of Yarrow and Yarrow Water. I reached the A708 and turned left into a head wind. I soon reached the steps up to the war memorial which was interesting as the inscription tablet had the dates in Roman Numerals and had the end of the war correct as 1919.
War Memorial
There was a nice flat grassy area around the stone memorial and checking my phone gave a good signal and 4G, which was a surprise. I continued west heading upstream along Yarrow Water until I reached the Gordon Inn.
Gordon Inn
I stopped briefly and turned right to head up the Glenlude Pass road. It was fairly quiet and an enjoyable ride as not too steep. The weather was fine and I had the wind behind me. Over the summit I had a lovely descent, mostly freewheeling to the outskirts of Innerlethen.
Glenlude Pass road

Into Innerleithen

Iron Bridge
I stopped on the Iron Bridge over the River Tweed and information plate about its construction. In Innerleithen I called at the Co-op supermarket to buy some jam doughnuts as I needed something interesting after 3 days of dehydrated food. I bought some doughnuts and from a bag of 5 I ate 3 then continued through the town. I stopped by a stone plaque above a shop commemorating the visit of Robert Burns.
Robert Burns was here
I called in a charity shop to speak to an old lady behind the counter. Many years ago I knew an old lady at Withnell Fold called Mrs I. McKissack. She had worked as a housekeeper until she retired and lived with us for a while until a home could be found. She was from Peebles originally. I asked the lady if McKissack was a local name, it wasn’t. Mrs McKissack’s first name was Isabell and that was very common locally. When I got home I checked the deaths records and found Isabella Riddell McKissack age 90 died 1973.
 I left the town by the B709 heading north by the Leithen Water. I've cycled this route before but then the weather was bad and raining. Today the sky was mostly clear and I had the wind behind to help. The road winds through the golf course then heads north up the valley.
Golf Course
A few miles after leaving the golf course I came to a sign by the road. It was a measure of feet and metres on a reflective white backing. The river was adjacent but I can’t see how it could measure depth. There was another board visible from the other direction.
Road depth, or to judge distance?
I followed the road winding through the valley then started the long climb of the pass. Eventually I reached the summit and stopped by a stone on the left marked as the 'Pipers Grave'.
Piper's Grave
The Piper's Grave lies alongside the B709. Tradition tells us that this is the last resting place of an itinerant piper who eked out his meagre living some time early in the 18th century. He was known to frequent the local hostelries taking wagers that he could play any tune that a customer could care to name. One evening after a bout of particulary riotous jollification, he chanced to remark that he could play non-stop all the way between Traquair House and Edinburgh Castle, a distance of some thirty miles, without repeating a tune. Virtually everyone took up his offer of a bet.
Piper's Grave

 Late that night, the motley throng set off, high on ale and expectation. Almost immediately some lost heart as the magnitude of their challenge hit them, immediately returning home to the safety of their turf fires. Others however, of sterner composition were determined to follow the piper even into the wilds of the Moorfoot Hills. It was only as the night grew wilder and the terrain more inhospitable that doubt started to creep in. The piper, obviously at home in this sort of terrain, showed no signs of flagging and, of course, he had no need eventually to retrace his steps back to the start.
The whole situation was now becoming serious and subterfuge was necessary. Seizing one of the pipers unguarded moments one of the group made a hole in the windbag of his pipes.
The extra effort now required to play, combined with the steep climb past Dewar, quickly drained the pipers stamina. On reaching the top of the pass he sat down exhausted, never to rise again.
Here he was buried along with his pipes.

==
A long straight descent followed down in to a wide valley. After Garvald Lodge there is a branch road to the right but my way was straight on along the B7007. The road began a long climb into the open hills. Way to my right I could see windfarms. I crossed an impressive embankment over a deep ravine followed by a deep cutting into the hill. A flat section followed then a long straight descent with open views ahead. It was depressing seeing so much rubbish dumped by the road in this beautiful area. I reached an area called Whitelaw Cleugh with a concrete reservoir off to the right. This was my planned camp and I wheeled my bike through the gate and behind the reservoir. It was very windy and I made sure the pegs were well in. I got water from an adjacent stream but it was very peat stained. I made sure I gave it a good boil. I was on the flightpath for Edinburgh Airport and planes were flying overhead all afternoon and evening.