A Hume Guide to the Scottish Borders # 5
In this our fifth post in the A Hume Guide to the Borders we want to focus on the simple pleasure of putting one foot in front of another.
Walking can be inspiring, invigorating, soothing or meditative; walking across country with friends in a boisterous group of mixed ages and abilities, looking for fresh air and fun, or striding out alone in search of physical challenge; there are endless ways in which to enjoy the pleasures of walking.
We’re incredibly fortunate in the Borders to boast many established long distance trails. Most renowned of these are the Southern Upland Way, beginning in Galloway’s Portpatrick and ending, 212 miles later, on the coast at Cockburnspath, then there’s St Cuthbert’s Way, from Melrose to Lindisfarne, shorter but still, long enough at 62 miles and the recently completed Borders Abbey Way, a circular 68 mile trek linking the four historic abbeys of Jedburgh, Melrose, Dryburgh and Kelso.
Many hikers undertake these walks, over several days, in a single feat of endurance. But it’s also possible to dip into the trails for shorter day walks and to feast on the spectacular scenery of the area.
For day walkers, the Scottish Borders Council has produced an inspirational leaflet to describe eleven routes in the Kelso area ranging in distance from 2½ – 13 miles, a number of which can be completed on bike, or horseback. The routes take in Kelso itself but also the rugged terrain of the Cheviots, the banks of the Tweed and the outlying woodlands and villages. The accompanying notes provide thoughtful insights into the history and wildlife that walkers encounter on their journey, such as the footnote on the monument at Ednam which alerts us to James Thomson who penned the words to ‘Rule Britannia.’
Many of the Border walks are brimming with lyrical and literary references to great Scottish writers, such as Sir Walter Scott and Robert Hogg; such is our legacy that visitors often find on departing, that they are fitter in both mind and body.
Which leaves us only one further recommendation to make – if you’re stepping out on the trail, a decent day pack is your best companion, and we would never be without our trusty chum Matt the Daypack. If you haven’t come across Lake District luggage legends Millican, you’re in for a treat.
If you have recommendations, or simply treasured memories of the area, please post a comment and help us all get the best from the Borders.