Earlier this month I joined a group of approximately 80 people to walk from Channelkirk church, just north of Oxton, to Melrose, writes John Duffield.
This was the annual ‘Walk with St Cuthbert’ event to follow in the saint’s footsteps on the 17-mile route he may have taken, as a young shepherd, to Melrose abbey where he became a monk.
It was my first attempt at the walk – and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
After registration, the relatively large group of people soon became quite spread out, with most of us walking in pairs or in groups of three or four. As a result, the six hours or so it took to cover the distance flashed by as we chatted and made new friends.
Overall, the walk was superbly organised and supported, with buses to the start, marshals along the way, good sign-posting, first aid support if needed and refreshments laid on every six miles or so.
The first stop was Lauder school which the head teacher had opened up for us and provided biscuits, hot drinks and access to lavatories; the second stop was at Bluecairn where water bottles could be replenished and mobile toilet facilities were laid, so no need to hop over walls for all-important functions. At the end, we were even treated to tray-bakes.
As a person who usually walks alone, I heartily recommend this as an experience. Also, if you wish, you can ask friends and relatives to sponsor your participation so that you can support your favoured charity. In fact one lady on the walk this year raised over £500 for cancer research.
The walk is an all-round winner – good for your physical and mental health, and good for charities. Apparently, getting funding for the event is not always easy, but is required to cover the quite substantial organisational costs, so hopefully it will run again next year, in which case I will definitely sign up again.
Some of us are even considering wearing robes!
z Pictured are the walkers getting ready for the off.