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The Schil

The Schil

Mon 11th September 2017

Extremely low cloud and mist covered the Cheviots and the roads into Kirknewton and Hethpool  were awash with rainwater as our walkers for the day met at Hethpool car park, the starting point of the days walk. The weather  forecast was not great so waterproofs and gaiters were the order of the day as we set off along the road to Elsdonburn farm and followed  St Cuthberts Way up to the border ridge.

As we steadily climbed to the ridge, the clouds lifted and visibility had improved to such an extent that wonderful  views into Scotland and the Eildon Hills by Melrose were enjoyed. Our route followed the Pennine Way for several miles and we encountered a few hardy walkers who were relieved to be on the final stretch of this 270 mile walk! The climb up to Whitelaw Nick ensured everyone needed a short rest and the opportunity to remove at least one layer of clothing. The path to the Schil (and on to the head of the valley) whilst very wet underfoot was a joy – tremendous views of the hills were all around and while rain showers threatened nothing more than a few drops were felt.

Just as our group saw the rocky outcrop at the summit of the Schil (607metres)in the distance the cloud descended but once again by the time we got to the top full visibility had been restored and wonderful views to Windy Gyle and Cocklawfoot on one side and the Hen Hole and the Cheviot on the other. The latter remained shrouded in cloud all day. As our group progressed to the head of the College Valley a herd of animals were seen grazing in the distance. Initially Mark thought they were the wild goats (much to some walkers delight) but as we drew nearer it became obvious they were a herd of cattle.

The return to Hethpool via Mount Hooley along the valley floor showed the College Valley at its most beautiful with bright sun shining on our backs.

This walk is, in my view, one of the best in the Cheviots and all our walkers thoroughly enjoyed the day which was admittedly enhanced by the surprisingly fine weather.



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