A (long) short walk to Bolton and Gifford

Yesterday’s adventure was a “short” walk to Bolton and Gifford to explore a couple of old kirkyards, with a geocache trail in between. The walk was billed as “ten miles, unless we want to cut it short at Gifford” (more on the distance later!) and it was (mostly) very enjoyable.

The first leg of the journey was the walk to Bolton. Along the way, we stopped by Robert Burns’ Mother’s Well, where I happily grabbed a geocache. We then bypassed the turn for the trail for a quick visit to the Bolton Kirk where we looked at some of the old headstones – including markers for Burns’ mother and other family members. I was also quite pleased to see a headstone that had some of the same carvings as Paul’s headstone (itself a replica of the St Martin’s Cross in Iona). I often see similar stones with the circles and overall shape, but I’ve never seen one with the carvings before. So, that made me smile because it’s another reminder that, no matter where my future leads me, he is still here with me, too. But I digress…

Drink of the pure crystals and not only be ye succoured but also refreshed in the mind.

Inscription on Burns’ Mother’s Well

Leaving Bolton, we started on the route to Gifford. There was an 8-geocache trail along the 3-mile journey and I was excited at the prospect of finding them all! (Goal: Achieved!) The trek was quite nice with a couple of interesting trees and foliage along the way, but it seems that I didn’t manage many good photos for evidence of that fact.

Once in Gifford, we explored around the graves at Yester Kirk. I was surprised to see that it was solid white, as opposed to the stone churches I’m used to in this area. But different is good! As with Bolton, there were several interesting stones in the kirkyard here, too.

We spent a bit more time exploring Gifford, including a short walk through the Gifford Community Woodland where I admired the random sculptures along the path. But with the lateness of the day, and the clouds starting to descend, we decided that we wouldn’t do the “full 10-mile” walk, and would instead take the shortcut back.

Of course, by this time we were at 9.5 miles so I already knew our “short” route would be longer than the long route. Indeed, we totalled 15 miles at the end of the walk. I imagine we might have been at nearly 20 miles had we done the full walk! But I was more than happy to put in the miles and would have been happy for the longer walk, too, if the weather had held out.

As it was, the rain began at mile 10 and continued on-and-off throughout the remainder of the walk. This wasn’t too bad except for two problems: (1) My shoes were sodden and (2) the battery on my Garmin gave up at about Mile 12 meaning that I had to manually input the last three miles and I lost about 6,000 steps from the day’s real accomplishment (the device only clocked 24,035 steps).

But it was a genuinely nice “short” walk and I’m pleased to have done it. Thankfully, today’s walk was less energetic (and much shorter). However, I don’t have the energy to blog about that right now, so I’ll share today’s adventure tomorrow!

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