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Tuesday, 1 May 2007

DAY 62: Stow to Penicuik

Today: 21.7 miles
Total so far: 895.2 miles
Percentage Completed: 53.6%

LEJOG DAY 62

(Click map to enlarge)

The more expensive the hotel, the greater the expectation of happiness? Yes, but then again, there is an awful reality.

I booked the Craigiebield Hotel knowing it was a bit on the heavy side, but after a long day, surely I was worth it? (Kate Moss seems to be worth it by all accounts.) It took an age to book in, and not a Scottish accent in the place. However, the room was pretty good so I settled down and bathed, rang Lynnie and did the smalls.

All well and good. Then down to the 'reasonably priced' restaurant. Its priced okay for a well run joint, but this place certainly does not fit that description. It took an age (a feature of this hotel) to take my order, longer to deliver it, and when it came, the food was incredibly average - and that's being polite. The wine list was at best "reasonably priced" and if you like New World Blackberries, you'll love this place.

I could go on for hours about restaurants, but I won't bore you any more about the Craigiebield - but you have the tenor of it: Pretty disappointing.

To happier subjects - the real meat of the day: The Moorfoots. They are a delight. I met landowners, farmers, stalkers and agents today in my stroll across these beautiful hills. I walked up tracks, down open fell and along stream strewn valleys in glorious weather, apart from a short spell of the haar around lunchtime.

(The Moorfoot Hills)

As I was wandering down to Edinburgh's prettiest reservoir, I bumped into a familiar figure strolling towards me; a certain Mr Shiel, looking decidedly shifty with his binoculars. He had been scouring the hillside for my likely descent from the heavens.

He escorted me to paradise - his caravanette, and laced me with the most delicious juicy fruit salad, washed down with a pint of Bellhaven. He had remembered his own LEJOGs in similar weathers, with parched throats and has very kindly become the Patron Saint Of LEJOGers (the capitals are Very Important Here.)

The walk after that was soft, the motorists generally good natured, and Telford's Bridge over the North Esk still solid.

I have spoken with His Holiness, the Incredibly Irreverend Reverend Dave (I hope he won't mind me poking fun - but he has broad shoulders) who is walking with me tomorrow. David is a fairly recent shiny star recruit to the TGO Challenge who has made his mark in every way possible and I am looking forward to his company immensely.

Today has been a biggish day, but I have found it to be one of the very best. I could get to love this Long Distance Walking Lark!

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