Some Great suggestions for both walking and cycling in the Scottish Borders

Posted by Linda Maclaughlan on 23 November 2010

<p>Morebattle (click to enlarge)</p>

Walking

The St Cuthbert’s Way – starts in Melrose and finishes on the breath taking HolyIsland. People take 4 -7 days to complete it. The walk passes through Morebattle which is an ideal base as it’s so central. If you have use of a car you could walk some sections then get picked up at the end of the day.

The Pennine Way – starts in Derbyshire and finishes on the green in Kirk Yetholm. Again if walkers have a lift they can walk sections and get picked up. The two Northern sections I have walked are from Byrness on the A68 to Kirk Yetholm. At around 25 miles it’s a push but it follows the English/Scottish Border through the Cheviot Hills at the end of which is a feed and a beer! Another variation on this is taking the unclassified road from Wooler south west into the National Park. The road is a dead end. If you get dropped off there then take the 3 mile climb to the Cheviot itself then follow The Pennine Way to Kirk Yetholm. It’s about 12 miles in total.

The Cheviot Challenge – this is a biggie – 22 miles over certain way points and not for the fainthearted! I’ve done it twice and it’s been 10 hours each time. The official race is in August each year and it follows part of the Pennine Way. If it’s rained be prepared to get very dirty. It can be done anytime of the year but the race is good fun and usually attracts teams from all over the UK although individuals can enter.

Leaderfoot Bridge ( click to enlarge)
Leaderfoot Bridge ( click to enlarge)

Borders Abbey Way – This is a circular walk in the heart of the Scottish Borders, full of attractive countryside passing by four 12th Century Abbeys in Kelso, Melrose, Dryburgh and Jedburgh and through several Border Towns. The Way is 64.5 miles / 103 km in length and is divided into five sections of roughly equal distances. This can be undertaken in either a clockwise or anti-clockwise direction starting and finishing at any of the Border towns. This would make several days of good walking. It can be started in Kelso and the good thing about it being that public transport can get you back from each section. The sections range from 12 -15 miles approx.

Southern Upland Way – this is the big Scottish coast to coast walk. Portpatrick to Cove south of Dunbar. Plenty of possibilities if you have someone to drop off and pick you up.

College Valley – This is a private estate with limited car numbers allowed, however, there is a car park so people can proceed on foot or as I did on bike. It’s around Kirknewton. Lovely quiet valley,great for wildlife but there’s a memorial to the World War II pilots who died/ crashed there during the early part of the war when radar wasn’t too efficient or non-existent. It’s a one way road leading to a dead end. I made a circuit out of it by following the valley to its end then scrambling up the hill and following the St Cuthbert’s Way back towards Kirk Yetholm.

Jedburgh Abbey (click to enlarge)
Jedburgh Abbey (click to enlarge)

Kelso to Jedburgh – I did this following a foot path that follows the River Teviot. I started by Kelso showground then walked over the stone bridge (by the caravan/ mobile home park).From memory Iwalked past Nisbet and picked up a footpath (possibly The Borders Abbey Way) leading to Jedburgh and finished by the Abbey. Lovely peaceful walk and I’ve never seen so many Herons and Kingfishers on a river walk. Not a strenuous walk that allows time for a look around and refreshments.

Berwick upon Tweed to Eyemouth – about 10 miles of sign posted coastal walking. Not strenuous. Leave the car at Berwick upon Tweed and enjoy the scenery along the coast to Eyemouth. Have a sitdown, fish and chips and then catch the bus (several/regular service) back to Berwick upon Tweed.There enjoy a beer in The Barrels Pub by the old stone bridge. A cracking day out!

Cycling

On road anyone visiting the Borders will be spoilt for choice for cycling on quiet roads – just bring a map or a road atlas. The tourist information centres do some good guides to cycling in the Borders so start there. One of my favourites is Morebattle to Holy Island via Ford and Etal. (Approx. 30 miles) You will experience the causeway crossing to the breath taking Holy Island. Plenty of options for refreshments on the Island. A shorter option would be to stop at Ford or Etal, two lovely places. Again refreshments available. For those who don’t fancy the return journey get one of the group to drive and collect the cyclists.

Mountain Biking

The Borders are well served for mountain bikers. Mountain Bike Scotland has a great guide available free from the tourist information centres. The closest to Morebattle are Glentress, Innerleithen and Newcastleton . I have driven to each of these from the Morebattle area had a day out and then returned without busting a gut. Other Mountain Bike sites I have gone to are Hyndlee and Craik Forests. Not as popular as the aforementioned but still a worthwhile day out. Also Hyndlee and Craik offer signed walking paths.

My most used map is the OL 16 The Cheviot Hills 1:25000. The area is covered by the 1:50000 Landrangers.

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