Most people would never return, but I don’t have that luxury if I’m ever going achieve the prize, so a month later I’m back.
But first of all, I stopped at St Abbs, shown below (top centre) on a rare outing for the Navigator.
It’s a lovely spot, with a National Trust car park (£4) that of course ensures a flood of NT-ticking visitors.
A Geordie dad with four toddlers asks me if the cliffs are safe for his children.
“As long as they don’t fall down them” seems to satisfy him. My conscience is clear.
The skies became increasingly threatening as I headed towards the border, and I just made it into the old school comfort of a small Scottish hotel covered with fishing pictures and candles in bottles.
I was a bit surprised to find the First & Last (pub in Scotland) open, but at the prescribed hour of 4pm there were already two Old Boys at the bar.
Back to my speciality; Old Boys counting out pennies for their pint of Tennents.
Actually, one of them had the Loch Lomond Harbourmaster, so I took his lead. Stupendous, as Niall Quinn so famously said. Cool, rich, complex, a rare NBSS 4 in the Borders. So good I recommended it to the nice man from Ripon who came in, soaking with his suitcase. Obviously he ignored me.
Apart from bench seating and mobility scooters, the other sure sign of a Proper Pub is a puffer fish hanging from the ceiling. Here it is.
So, a great way to end the Borders, in a hotel that’s a Proper Pub. Who’d A Thought It ?