OS Explorer map 331, Teviotdale South: Hawick – I own this map, and had visited it before starting this blog. Visited again for this post 9th July 2021. This is the third of six posts about my trip to Wanlockhead in Dumfries and Galloway with my school friends Cabbage, Joystick and Climbing Programmer, including time I spent in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders alone on the way there.
My previous post told you of the walk up the Cheviot that I did on the first of the two mostly- free days I had between my time with Vesper and her parents on Lindisfarne, and my stay with my school friends in Wanlockhead. After I finished that walk, I drove over into Scotland to the Borders town of Hawick, where I’d be staying the night. I admit to not having done a lot in Hawick, so this might not be the most exciting post!
I arrived in the town at about 6pm, and went immediately into my accommodation, which was a one-bedroom flat that I’d rented for the night on Airbnb. It was in a pretty run-down seeming building, with rickety winding internal wooden stairs to get up to the flat’s front door,  but the flat itself was very nice; spacious and clearly recently done up. There was an interesting wide round armchair could spin on its base – I’m not sure what the purpose of this was, especially since spinning it would nearly block the way through the living room, but I enjoyed it nonetheless!
After dropping off my stuff and exploring the flat, I went out to buy myself both (a) some dinner, and (b) a cheap hairdryer, since I wanted to wash my hair and there wasn’t a hairdryer in the flat already. I got a hairdryer from a branch of Argos inside Hawick’s Sainsbury’s, and dinner was a pick-your-own salad from said supermarket, accompanied by some chips, cheese and curry sauce from a nearby kebab shop. I followed this with a quiet evening in; watching something or other as I ate my dinner, then washing my hair before bed.
In the morning, I planned to depart reasonably directly, to get in another walk before meeting my school friends in the afternoon, but I took half an hour to wander around Hawick first. The high street is unfortunately also a main road traffic artery through the town, and has an unnecessary amount of on-street parking, but still it had plenty of shops and was busy with people going about their day. Hawick seemed a nice enough place, and I’d be happy to return. Perhaps one day the Borders Railway will finally get this far, as seems to be occasionally talked about!
After my brief wander, I got into the car and headed off to the place where I’d planned a walk – you have that to look forward to in my next post. I regret how little time I spent exploring this map area – for example, I believe there are various bits to do around related to the area’s textile industry, not to mention plenty of great hilly countryside. I’ll have to come back!
I’ve been to this map area once before, on a trip to Scotland in summer 2015, to celebrate my friend Geochunderer’s birthday. In summer 2015, my friends Joystick, Cabbage and I drove up to Scotland together to join Geochunderer at his parents’ home in Fife, where he was having a gathering over a long weekend to celebrate his 21st birthday, with both us and various other friends of his. We had a great time, both hanging around at the house playing silly games, and making a few trips out to climb a hill, go to the beach, and visit St Andrews.
It was on the way back home after the trip that Cabbage, Joystick and I visited this map area, leaving the to and find ourselves a lunch stop at a pub in the village of Denholm, between Hawick and Jedburgh. I don’t remember exactly where we ate, though presumably it was one of the village’s two pubs, the Fox and Hounds and the Auld Cross Keys. What I do remember, though, is eating haggis bonbons – little deep fried balls of haggis – for my starter, which I greatly enjoyed!
 These rickety stairs also featured a lot of intriguing little wooden doors in funny places, which when I nosily opened one of them proved to be a store cupboard, containing random dusty piles of household items that looked like they hadn’t been touched in decades – yellowing plastic eighties kitchen equipment, old toys, things like that. This reminded me of a similar adventure from my student days in Oxford: my year group at Exeter College had some of our tutorials in a room in the tower over the College’s entrance gate, up a spiral staircase that got progressively narrower the higher you went.
On one occasion, when sitting on the stairs awaiting entry into our tutor’s room, we decided to open a cupboard in the stairs, and found it to contain a large, messy, dusty pile of newspapers, the top one of which dated from 1958!