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Pennine Way Walk
Kirk Yetholm to Kings Seat
Thursday 21st August.
Day: 1 - Distance: 12 miles

After a year of planning we are finally starting to walk the Pennine Way. A four hour car journey puts us in the scotish borders ready to go. We leave Kirk Yetholm at 14.15, the weather was overcast with a light breeze keeping the temperature down to 10-12C. The way starts from the village green climbing up the road that runs due south. It's a climb up for the first mile before dropping down quite steeply into the valley. The path splits at the bottom of this hill. You can turn left up the hill and follow the high ridge to the East of the valley or carry on along the road in the valley bottom to the far end. We chose the lower route to avoid the wind which had strengthed considerably in the last 20 minutes. The 3 miles along the valley was covered at a good pace accompanied by a couple of heavy rain showers.


At the southern end of the valley the way skirts around to the east of Burnhead farm and climbs up to the eastern ridge combining with the alternative route that diverged earlier. The climb is steady and the path moderately easy to follow, but I created some confusion for both of us whilst checking our progress against the guide book we were carrying. The book was set out as a south to north guide and as we were walking form north to south the books have to be read backwards with the maps upside down. As obvious as this may seem I spent two minutes looking at the map in the guide before I finally realised that I had to turn it through 180 degres to make sense of it. The last 400m up to the ridge is steep. As we climbed onto the ridge the full force of the wind hit us and we mistakenly turned South West to climb to the trig point on The Curr instead of crossing the ridge and going South East towards The Schil. I didn't realise that I had made a mistake for the next 2 miles by which time we were well off the route. We climbed down to the valley floor at Auchope to get out of the wind and to identify where we had gone wrong. After a drink/snack break and a good long look at the map we plotted a course to get ourselves back onto the official Pennine Way. After 30 minutes of stiff climbing we were back on the route at Birnie Brae.



The time was now 17.30 and we had another 5 miles to cover to reached our proposed campsite in the trees at Kings Seat. At that point we were high above the tree line in very strong wind with squally rain. Not comfortable for camping. We stopped for a short time at the mountain refuge hut and chatted briefly to a nobo (north bound) walker who was settling down for his last night on the Pennine Way.

The last 3 miles of walking for the day were completed in very strong winds with fog and driving rain. We arrived at Kings Seat at 19.10 and headed for the trees on the eastern side of the ridge. This high forest is very dense with no more than 2 metres between the trees which is in sufficent space to set up a tent. There are however access tracks through the trees about every half mile, and these provide excellent shelter from the wind and their thick grassy surface makes a very soft base for the tent. Our shelter was up and dinner cooked in under 40 minutes. We were in our bags and asleep by 20.15 as the last of the daylight disappeared from the Pennine Way at Kings Seat.

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