Footloose in the Scottish Borders

When it came to deciding last autumn which of the ATG programme of Footloose independent walks to choose for this summer’s expedition we found that we are running out of level 2/3 walks in places that we thought would be interesting. We also considered a return to Northumberland where we spent 4 self-catering holidays (before taking up this hotel-to-hotel walking lark) and where there is still so much to see and do. In the end I came up with the idea that we should do the 5 Day Scottish Borders Walk and follow this with a 3 night recovery period in a cottage in Northumberland. So this was what we did the last week in June. Our cottage was right on the Border just outside Cornhill-on-Tweed.


Lightpipe Cottage near Cornhill-on-Tweed

This was the ATG 5 Day programme :

Day 1 : Arrive in the “Royal Burgh” of Jedburgh, a pretty Borders abbey town.

Jedburgh Abbey1

Jedburgh Abbey

MQS House

Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh

MQS sign

Possibly Mary Queen of Scots visited this house

Day 2 : Jedburgh to Dryburgh: Follow a stretch of Dere Street – the Roman Road between York and Scotland, along farm tracks and winding Tweed riverside paths to Dryburgh – an undulating walk, offering stunning views from the Roman road (10.5 miles, 5 hrs).

Day 1 view a

Borders View on Day 2 Walk

Day 1 view b

The Eildon Hills from the Dere Street

R Tweed

River Tweed between St Boswell’s and Dryburgh

St Cuthbert's Route

Much of our route shared with St Cuthbert’s Way

Day 3 : Dryburgh to Melrose: Walk up to the viewpoint, beloved of Sir Walter Scott, before descending to the Victorian viaduct at Leaderfoot, where three bridges converge. Then walk up to the viewpoints over the former Roman settlement at Trimontium, before following paths to the foot of the Eildon Hills. Walk around the northern flanks of the hills and down to Melrose, with its magnificent Abbey (7.5 miles, 4 hours).

Scot's View

Scott’s View

Day 2 Leaving Trimontium

Pleasant Path on Day 3


Leaderfoot Bridges

Day 2 path

Flanking the Eildon Hills

Day 4 : Melrose to Selkirk: Take a riverside walk before visiting Sir Walter Scott’s baronial mansion at Abbotsford. A steady long climb over paths and farm tracks and a section of ancient drove road lead down into Selkirk, where the courthouse used by Sir Walter Scott can be found near the town square (11.6 miles, 6 hours).

River Walk

Riverside Walk Outside Melrose

Lunch stop

Lunch Stop at the Highest Point of the Walk


Sir Walter Scott and his Courthouse, Selkirk

Day 5 : Departure day. [We visited Abbotsford House instead of on Day 4]

This walk particularly appealed to us as it is “rich in history and folklore” and “an unspoilt landscape”. It is the “soft, rolling countryside beloved of Sir Walter Scott” and we would “follow the banks of the winding rivers Teviot and Tweed through heather-clad hills” and we should have the opportunity to “visit Dryburgh Abbey and Abbotsford House”.


Abbotsford House




10 comments on “Footloose in the Scottish Borders

  1. sherry says:

    Sounds simply magical!

  2. ms6282 says:

    Looks like the weather was kind to you. Intresting that you covert part of St Cuthbert’s Way. A relative from Sunderland has it in his mind to follow the route and we were thinking we could walk it togethor. I was put off because I thought he said it started in MONTROSE rather than MELROSE (i put my mishearing down to his accent of course 😉)

    • ms6282 says:

      That should be “covered” not “covert” of course. Damn autocorrect 😟

    • It did rain but not when we were out. St Cuthbert’s Way seems very popular – I collected names of 6 companies than transport your luggage (plus another I forgot the name of) and that was just from people we stopped and spoke to. Give it a go!

  3. Fran says:

    The distances you covered each day are pretty impressive, especially when totalled up!

  4. […] our way up to Scotland in June we travelled via The Bowes Museum at Barnard Castle and Lanercost Priory. At The Bowes we […]

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