Challenge ‘was never going to be stroll in park’

The hardy band of walkers who scaled Ruberslaw on their way to completing Sunday's 17-mile Challenge Hawick trek
The hardy band of walkers who scaled Ruberslaw on their way to completing Sunday's 17-mile Challenge Hawick trek

THERE are easier ways to get to Denholm; there are easier ways to get to the top of Ruberslaw; and there are easier ways to spend a Sunday.

But the Challenge Hawick walk wasn’t about taking the easy way – as 32 hardy souls found out.

This was a challenge in every sense of the word.

Setting off from the Think Fitness gym in O’Connell Street, the group, which included several of this year’s Weel Kent Face contestants, followed the Border Abbeys Way to Denholm, basking in the early morning sunshine.

It was a sight so far this summer everyone craved, but the blue skies and soaring temperatures weren’t welcome as they began the ascent of Ruberslaw.

From the Jedburgh side, the terrain was tough and so was the breathing as they snaked their way up the 1,287-foot climb.

Walk organiser Stuart Oliver told the Hawick News: “The warm weather and lack of air made an already hard route even harder to get to the top of Ruberslaw.

“As the top was only the halfway point I could have understood people wondering what on earth was in front of them on the second half of the walk.”

The breathtaking views of the Borderland eased the pain but after a quick refuelling stop it was back down carefully through the fields to Bonchester Heights, where the inevitable spots of rain were first felt.

Typical of the season so far, this soon became heavier and the soaked set were severely tested as they progressed via Adderston Lea and in past Kaimend to be welcomed by the sight of Hawick at the top of the Wellogate – their 17-mile journey complete.

Stuart said: “What was supposed to be an easier second half where everyone could wander home and enjoy the scenery turned into a bit of a nightmare due to the rain and the swamp-like underfoot conditions.

“This made it an even tougher challenge. I had hoped that everyone could have stayed closer together and that I’d be able to thank everyone at the end point, but, understandably, there were a few starting to struggle towards the finish so I had to drop back to make sure everybody got home safely.

“Despite the contrasting weather conditions and the horrendous terrain at points I hope everyone enjoyed the challenge. It was never going to be a stroll in the park.”