Pennine Way - Kirk Yetholm to The Schil
Mon 16th July 2012
Wednesday rained all day all local rivers and streams in flood. Sundance decided to alter the route for Sunday to one where there was only one stream to cross and even that could be missed out. Saturday Sundance had been doing the old soft shoe shuffle now for three days, and the weather had improved.
Sunday 5.30 am bright sunshine has the soft shuffle worked?
The Group met where the Pennine Way and St. Cuthbert’s Way cross the Halter Burn it, was still sunny but the amount of cloud had built up.
We took the Alternative Pennine Way route that follows the Halterburn upstream. As we approached Halterburn Farm there were a lot of sheep penned in a small field next to the farm. Some one said they must be in for shearing but smart pants Mike said no those have been sheared but as we got up to the barn, lo and be hold, they were shearing which prompted Mike to start wittering on about ‘Sheep, shearing and maggots, wet fleeces and the price of a fleece’. Fortunately we were soon passed the farm and Mike shut up.
At Burnhead farm the route leaves the road and becomes a farm track up to Old Halterburnhead a derelict farm. As the track petered out the path became rather soggy in places. So far the path had been rising fairly gently but as we reached the watershed between the Halterburn and the Curr Burn the ascent steepened and those with short legs allowed those with long legs to get on ahead. Eventually we all got back together on the col between The Curr and Black Hag and had lunch. From here we had great views of the route of the last walk which we did not see at the time because of mist.
All too soon we started once more and quickly joined the original line of the Pennine Way. By now it was a strong wind making it feel much cooler and by the time we crossed the border fence into England we all had wrapped up. The Pennine Way now follows the border fence (and the border ridge) all the way to Chew Green some 14.5 miles away. After a boggy quarter mile we started the long hard slog up the Schil.
By now the wind was making walking rather difficult, eventually we reached the sort of summit and this allowed us to take in the fantastic view all round. From the North Sea in the east, across the Tweed valley towards the Southern Uplands to the North, the Cheviots stretching to the west and of course The Cheviot with the Hen Hole immediately filling the view South.
After Mike had taken some photos we set off to the Schil summit proper but only when some one had given Mike his walking poles and some one else gave him his gloves that he had forgotten about. As it is in Scotland we had to cross over the border fence and scramble up a tor to say we had been to the top. Much too every one’s amusement as Mike was dashing about the top he got his boot jammed in a crack and not amount of tugging by Mike would allow the boot free, in the end Mike undid his boot laces and twisted his foot and then his boot before it popped free.
Now according to Mike it was all down hill except for a couple of ‘little ups’, we have heard this before! We retraced our steps back to the border crossing and just below Black Haggs the Pennine Way splits and this time we took the original Pennine Way which still followed the border ridge and fence. The long descent down Steel Rig offered us stunning views to the north across the Tweed valley we could even pick out the Waterloo Monument just north of Jedburgh.
After a pleasant if windy descent we then had a very steep climb to White Law before descending once more to the head of Witchcleuch Burn and the last ascent of the day.
Here St. Cuthbert’s Way joins the route of the Pennine Way back down to the Halterburn and our cars By now the wind had eased the sun was warm and we were walking gently downhill. What a perfect way to end a really good day’s walk.