Rolled over last Sunday morning and realised that I wasn’t especially hungover, the forecast was optimistic and I needed to get on the bike again. I had a couple of days to spare so I decided to head down to the borders and stay over in Over Phawhope bothy, the thick end of 50 miles south of Edinburgh. And more crucially up and down three sets of hills, which true to form I hadn’t really factored into the journey. Add into the mix a stumbling supermarket shop in Innerleithen, where I bought way too much food and ended up carrying a load in my backpack, and I was understandably knackered when I started on the last 10 mile stretch in the gathering gloom. So it was an immense relief to be offered a lift by a passing shepherd who unceremoniously threw my bike – panniers still attached – into the back of his Discovery and sped up the road at a fair rate of knots. There was a time in my life when I would have refused an offer like this, judging that wanted the satisfaction on reaching my objective under my own steam, but those days are long gone. What a champion bit of luck.
It being a Sunday night I assumed that I would have the bothy to myself, spending the rest of the evening slowly flicking through my Weekend Guardian and contemplating what I was going to do when I got up in the morning. However, I could see tell tale lights coming from the window, and I walked into the spectacle of six likely lads cheerfully knocking back a large carry out, and attempting to burn a stack of sausages on the stove. I gratefully accepted a seat by the fire, surveyed the scene and thought fuck it, I’m still down with the kids, opened my wine and just went with the flow. The guys turned out to be band from Auld Reekie called Gathering Lights, who were just kicking back and were on their second night in. They not only had two acoustic guitars but also a bass, and we ended up having a fine old sing song, probably the most slick I’ve ever been involved in! I passed on the Jager Bombs but later on the offer of starting up a Ouija board session was just too ridiculous to refuse. Unsurprisingly we didn’t get that far but I’m so glad I got a photo of the scene. Thanks to Greg for the snaps.