Updated: Jul 10, 2021
Before I start part 2 of my journey along the Tweed I have received some information regarding Part 1. Adjusting the regulation of the floodgates of the Talla, Fruid and Megget reservoirs can increase the Tweed level by several inches.
Before undertaking part 2, I checked the forecast the evening before which predicted rain up to 10am so I made the decision to go ahead. Leaving Norham early am I arrived at the Innerleithen Forest car park in the rain just gone 9am. The next three stages of my journey will be undertaken by cycle so the actual distances will be doubled for each as I need to cycle to the start and then back to the car. So this 19 mile section was almost 40 miles. A photo of the start/end point shows how the weather had improved as predicted on my return to the car and the tarmac was now dry. It’s a popular destination for cyclists and includes part of cycle network 1 plus various other routes. Sustrans work tirelessly to provide a national network of routes for cyclists. Route number 1, (the blue signs with a red 1 seen in the village) starts in Dover and finishes in the Shetland Isles covering 1721 miles.
I reached my start point of Stobo Castle which is secluded by trees and is now a luxury spa retreat if that is your sort of thing. As all the photos for all the journey have been taken on my phone, please refer to google images for those of Stobo Castle.
After discussing with friends my journey I had inadvertently overlooked a visit to Stobo Kirk so I have included a wiki link in which there are images of stunning stain glass windows.
Shortly after the castle these photos were taken from the bridge over the tweed on the John Buchan Way. My hand is pointing back towards the source (right)and the one with my bike seat in it is looking upstream (left).
After a right turn off the B 712 onto a minor road left I was presented with a sign reminding me to start my long overdue diet.
A short distance on the left in a field are the two standing stones at Sheriff Muir. Circled green in the image. https://canmore.org.uk/site/51525/sheriff-muir There is two possible stories relating to their existence. Folklore suggests they are the remains of a Druid temple with Pinkie’s Hole or that they are the remains of a burial cairn, so take your pick.
Pump up the volume!
Lyne Water (above left) feeds into the Tweed just past the bridge giving extra volume to the river. Here there are two options for crossing the river (above right) the first being a ford and the second which is a narrow footbridge which was permissive for cyclists and part of the C2C (sea to sea) route. This was undertaken by the MMRC in Norham. See https://www.norhamlife.co.uk/mmrc where you can navigate from their page to download for free various GPX. files of local cycle routes which have been created by the group. Always scan with a reputable antivirus programme first just to be sure. Pausing for a moment to consider my options I went for the sensible one and crossed via the bridge.
Safely over the river there was a short track before a climb which resulted in spectacular views over the Tweed valley with the river being obscured by the trees.
Pausing for a break opposite a cross like footpath sign it was a case of watching me watching you. Something I missed was the Standing Stone just before Bellanrigg which was easy as it forms part of a stone wall after having viewed it later on google images.
Just before the A 72 this was photo was taken at the start of the bridge with a fisherman hopefully enjoying a good days sport.
Back on the route I could ignore this closed road as it is still open to walkers and cyclists. My OS app showed it as an open for vehicles so if you are ever driving in the area ignore your satnav! According to online articles published by Peebles news it has been closed for some and was handed over to a private estate. Checking my Scottish dictionary it confirmed that Brig is English for bridge. Originally built in 1702 by Lord William Douglas it was restored back in 2015 to its former glory.
A steep climb to the top of road is rewarded with two stunning view points at Manor Sware. The first looks back at the valley and river. It's information board stating that clear and soft water which flowed from the peaty hills was used in the washing processes in the woollen industry and its power was harnessed to drive mills. The second view point (right) overlooks the town of Peebles.
Today trout & salmon on the Tweed is an important source of income. Perhaps the fisherman I saw earlier has now caught one by now?
In recent years forestry has become a major feature of the steeper and more exposed areas replacing rough grazing or scrub birch with conifers. These woodlands providing cover for game birds such as pheasants.
The road now descends into Peebles which has numerous equestrian facilities in the vicinity. On the subject of roads the nearby A 72 clings to the valley side which is an easy place to build and above flood level.
A sign of the times
Here at the pleasant town of Peebles the Tweed has increased in size and included cycle a friendly road reminiscent of those in Holland. The Street name signs had a bright red background. On the subject of signs, Peeblesshire news has reported that 80 local towns and villages have introduced a '20 is plenty' mph rather than a 30 mph limit.
Exiting Peebles on the B 7062 and fortunately not setting off any speed cameras the road meanders towards Cardrona which in a few places is only a few feet from the river.
Innerleithen was now in the distance. The orange sign below was a warning not to excavate 50 m either side of a high pressure pipeline. Not having a shovel with me at the time and for obvious safety reasons I decided to continue cycling.
Close to where the car was parked I manged a sneaky peak through the wrought iron gates that overlooks Traquair House which claims to be the oldest continually inhabited house in Scotland. Pre lockdown I had visited here and its well worth a visit. Check their website https://www.traquair.co.uk/ for more information and any Covid related postponements. The 1970 horror film Tam-Lin starring Joanna Lumley amongst others was filmed here so on learning this I like the house even more :-)
These cattle were split on whether more rain was due or not, which fortunately it didn't.
Also, not such a wild Scottish cat.
Various photos of the river on the final approach into Innerleithen, the bottom left one is a bridge for pedestrians and cyclists.
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Part 3 - Now available - click,