On the way back from Wishaw we had to divert off the M6 at Gretna to avoid a hold-up, probably a spill of peanut butter stout, and stopped for 20 minutes just over the border in Longtown. It’s only a couple of months since we were walking this part of the world.

Some weird stuff going on in the OS extract.

Gretna and Longtown both have populations of c.3,000, but only one of them has reached a national cup final and played in Europe.

I sensed an undercurrent of resentment that Longtown gets its pies and cakes from across the border.

But Longtown is the more attractive town, even if you have to wait a few weeks to get married here.

An ideal toilet stop if you can’t wait for the “posh” service station down the M6 (ignore the iron grille),

and some dreamy, creamy streets.

More cask here than in Gretna, but that’s not saying much with just Theakston in the Graham Arms, and the Bush is merely a peeling sign.

Excitingly, “The Tavern” is now “The Pub”, which should be enough to see coach tours flocking here from Newcastleton.

Their Facebook page is limited, but revealing;

May be an image of 1 person

Mrs RM was actually laughing at my attempts to tell the chap sitting outside the hardware shop (top) what I wanted for my Dad’s birthday. Rather like charades, he guessed “a rake”, “a spade” and finally “a hoe”. £9 seemed a bargain.

I think it’s a hoe. I think my Dad was pleased.


  1. I think that’s a hoe. Couldn’t swear to it though.
    I’ve always been fascinated by how accents change across borders. Once Mrs B and I did an experiment; we went to the nearest pub in Gretna to the border, had a beer and then went to the nearest pub in England to the border, which I think was the Graham and had a beer there, just to see how the accents changed. Sure enough, Gretna was properly Scottish and Longtown was unmistakably English, despite being only a few miles apart.


  2. The odd layout on the map is part of the former Gretna Ordnance Factory which is still I think used for ammunition storage. It’s so spread out to minimise the potential damage from explosions.

    Liked by 1 person

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