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.
Mary Queen of Scots House, Jedburgh
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).
Borders View on Day 2 Walk
The Eildon Hills from the Dere Street
River Tweed between St Boswell’s and Dryburgh
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).
Pleasant Path on Day 3
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).
Riverside Walk Outside Melrose
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”.