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Night Walking

May 21, 2010

As the Caledonian Challenge lasts for 24 hours, it is inevitable that some of it will be walked in the dark.  Eeek.  The organisers recommend that you practise walking at night… so we did.

Equipped with my newly purchased 40-lumen-strong headtorch and accompanied by one of my team-mates (the other three having made their (legitimate) excuses not to join us), I left Edinburgh at 11:30pm.  This is not a normal time to be leaving the house to go walking.  It felt very odd.  An hour and 10 minutes later we set out along the Borders Abbeys Way.  We began our walk at St Boswells with the aim of reaching my team-mate’s parents’ house in Kelso (15 miles away) for an early morning post-walk cooked breakfast.

It was a cloudy night.  There was no moon.  There were no stars.  It was very very dark.  We could only see what was in the beam of our head-torches.  It was strange to have so little idea about what surrounded us but, at the same time, it was beautifully peaceful and it felt somehow special to be experiencing the world at a time when most people (sane people!) are tucked up in bed. Due to the aforementioned darkness, I can’t tell you much about what the Borders Abbeys Way looks like.  I can, however, tell you that it smells lovely.  Blossom, wild garlic, general country riverside freshness… delightful.

What was not so delightful was that it rained for most of the night.  But even this did not negate my enjoyment of the experience.  It was more drizzle that rain really, the kind you hardly notice when happily wrapped up in waterproofs. And, had it not rained, we would not have ended up sheltering in a phone box (the traditional painted red kind) at 4am eating blueberry muffins.  A surreal experience, the memory of which I will treasure.  Much as I will treasure the memory of the cooked breakfast that we made it to Kelso for. I don’t think I’ve ever appreciated a cooked breakfast more.

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