The Border Country
A Walker's Guide
By Alan Hall
This guidebook to the Border Country region in Scotland and north Northumberland contains 46 day walks, 5 long distance routes and 7 town trails in the broad uncrowded hills of the Southern Uplands, Cheviots, Tweeddale and Teviotdale, Ettrick Forest and the Tweedsmuir Hills. From gentle ambles to harder hill walks there are walks here to suit all.
SeasonsRecommended months are April to October.
CentresMelrose, Kelso, Jedburgh, Yetholm, Selkirk, Wooler, Hawick, Moffat, St Mary’s Loch
DifficultyVaried – suitable for the committed mountain walker to the leisurely valley stroller. All routes graded for difficulty.
Must SeeWild solitude of the Cheviots; historic castles, pele towers and stone circles; Ettrick Horseshoe; Berwick-upon-Tweed trail
Between England and Scotland lies the solitude of an upland area which, though neglected by rambler and mountain walker alike, offers a wealth of adventure to both. The Borders region of Scotland (comprising the districts of Berwickshire, Roxburghshire, Ettrick and Lauderdale, and Tweeddale) and the northern fringes of Northumberland constitute the landmass known as the Borders covered in this guidebook.
This Borderland has a character of its own, manifest not only in the green and rounded hills, the glens and bubbling burns, but also in Border legend poetry and music.
The 46 walks in this guidebook have been planned to suit all tastes, whether they are those of the committed mountain walker or the leisurely valley stroller. They are arranged in geographical groups with one base covering several walks, which is handy as it reduces the need to continually hunt for overnight accommodation.
The Border Country is divided into five chapters and each one is geographically different from the others. The chapters cover mountainous and hilly sections of the region as well as routes of a gentler nature. At the end of the guidebook there are brief route suggestions for five long distance walks plus seven town trails.
Chapter 1 covers 16 walks in the Cheviot range of the hills, lonely and isolated and unchanged over centuries. Chapter 2 describes 11 walks in the romantic valleys of the Tweed and its largest tributary, the Teviot, while Chapter 3 follows in the footsteps of the literary giants of the Borders’ past, with nice walks in the Ettrick Forest. Chapter 4 comprises of 10 walks in the massifs of the Moffat and Manor Hills.
The Border Hills and Southern Uplands
Climate and Weather Patterns
Flora and Fauna
History: Time Charts
Public Rights of Way
Using the Guide
Special Interests Table
Clothing and Equipment
Chapter 1 The Cheviot Hills
Walk 1 Early Christianity and Iron Age Forts
Walk 2 The Cheviot
Walk 3 Mountains, Crags and a Waterfall
Walk 4 A Gentle Introduction to Cheviot’s Foothills
Walk 5 Up and Down the Cheviot Hills
Walk 6 A Border Foray over White Swire
Walk 7 The Lure of the Hen Hole
Walk 8 The Schil, Guardian of the College Valley
Walk 9 To the Changing Summit of Cheviot
Walk 10 By Clennell Street to Windy Gyle
Walk 11 A Walk into the Sixth Century BC
Walk 12 By the ‘Clattering Path’ to Iron Age Forts
Walk 13 A Redundant Reservoir to Celtic Hilltop Forts
Walk 14 In the Footsteps of Agricola’s Legions
Walk 15 The Iron Age and the Romans Inspired this Walk
Walk 16 Border Line and Miners’ Road over Carter Fell
Chapter 2 Tweeddale and Teviotdale
Walk 17 A Sea View Figure-of-Eight
Walk 18 Two Castles and a Keep
Walk 19 A Walter Scott Connection
Walk 20 Dryburgh Abbey and the Winding Tweed
Walk 21 Three Peaks (Trimontium) above Melrose
Walk 22 Three Brethren and Border Mischief
Walk 23 The Cheese Well and the Bear Gates of Traquair
Walk 24 Venerable Beech and Waterloo Monument
Walk 25 An Iron Age Fort, Roman Signal Station and Covenanter’s Pulpit
Walk 26 A Druids’ Stone Circle, Castles Most Sombre and a Rail Bed
Walk 27 ‘Bundle and Go’ – a Reivers’ Cry
Chapter 3 Ettrick Forest
Walk 28 In Search of an Army’s Pay Chest
Walk 29 Pele Towers and an Italian Balloonist
Walk 30 Fair St Mary’s and Literary Giants
Walk 31 ‘That’s the Way for Billy and Me’
Walk 32 A Drovers’ Way
Walk 33 ‘A Glacialist’s Walk’
Walk 34 The Ettrick Horseshoe
Walk 35 By Forest and Fell over Ettrick Pen
Walk 36 An Eagle’s Eye View of the Moffat Water Valley and the Tweedsmuir Hills
Chapter 4 The Tweedsmuir Hills
Walk 37 Two Dramatic Waterfalls
Walk 38 Dark and Deep Loch Skeen
Walk 39 A Waterfall, a Loch, a Gorge and Surrounding Summits
Walk 40 ‘A Walk on the Wild Side’ – 9000 Years Ago
Walk 41 On the Edge of Blackhope’s Glacial Glen
Walk 42 A Walk of Two Halves – Equally Appealing, Distinctly Different
Walk 43 Broad Law – the Borders’ Highest Mountain
Walk 44 Broad Law plus Cramalt Craig
Walk 45 A Walk Through Time
Walk 46 Benign Surroundings Hide a Dark and Dangerous Past
Long Distance Walks and Town Trails
The Pennine Way
The Alternative Pennine Way
The Southern Upland Way
St Cuthbert’s Way
The Borders Abbeys Way
Appendix 1 Glossary
Appendix 2 Bibliography
Appendix 3 Useful Information
Appendix 4 Summary of Walks
OS 1:25,000 Explorer: OL16 - The Cheviot Hills sheet 338
OS 1:50,000 Landranger: sheet nos. 67, 72, 73, 74, 78, 79, 80, 81,
OS 1:25,000 Pathfinder: 460, 474, 484, 486
Harvey: 1:40,000 Superwalker - Cheviot Hills; 1:40,000 Walker’s Route - St Cuthbert’s Way; 1:40,000 Peebles Manor Hills 7 St Mary’s Loch
Forestry Commission - Scotland: Craik Forest Walks & Cycle Trails
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Page 138 at the end of the second paragraph after “ ie north” new sentence, “The walk now follows a clearly defined forest road leading downhill to the public road in the valley floor.”
Page 138, paragraph 4: There is no longer an “open flank of Bold Rig”. Both sides of this track are densely planted replace paragraph 4 with the following description:
“Descend with the forest road for 1 1/2 miles (2.4km). First northwest then north past Bold Rig to a T junction. Turn sharp right on the road leading initially southwest then south before turning back northeast and north. There is a pleasant plantation of hardwoods on the right hand side of the road here, alongside Bold Burn. Keep to the left at the next junction, continuing downhill and north for a pleasant 1 1/4 miles (2km) to reach an engineering works and a group of wooden and modern houses at Glenbenna and the junction of the Forest Road with the public road (D31).”
Walkerburn House no longer houses the Scottish Museum of Textiles
Please note Map on page 137 is incorrect as you do not descend on the west flank of the burn to Glenmead. Follow route description.
Thanks to Patricia for this update.
'This book has all the hallmarks of a Cicerone guide book. It is excellent value for money and will take the walker safely across the miles of Border lands it explores. Alan Hall is an experienced walker and writer who has produced a masterpiece which takes us through both landscape and time. This is the third edition of the guide and contains:
- Around 50 routes as well as outlines of a number of long distance trails that cross the region, several new walks, including an ascent of the charismatic coned summit of Rubers Law and a challenging route through lonely Craik Forest. All routes illustrated with OS mappings.
- Alan has written walking guides which include Scotland and Northumberland. An inquisitive pedestrian, full-time writer and photographer, he has walked in, in addition to Britain, Catalunya and the French Pyrenees, Italy and his favourite island of Crete.
- I ask myself how he has fitted it all in! The answer is bound to be … devotion and dedication. Another lovely walking guide.'
(Joyce Wilson, The Keswick Reminder July 2005)
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Alan Hall is an experienced walker and full-time writer and photographer. Author of ten books on the outdoors, he is the author of several Cicerone guides, including 'The Border Country – A Walker's Guide' and 'Walks in the Lammermuirs'. Alan has explored many parts of the Pyrenees, Italy and Sri Lanka, plus some 20 Greek islands, of which Crete continues to be his favourite island.View Guidebooks by Alan Hall