Walking Nearby: 3 Hills
If the weather is good we tend to spend most of our time outside and usually end up climbing a hill or going for a walk. I may be biased, but I think the rolling Borders landscape is one of the most stunning in the British Isles. The undoubted highlight of the year is in June when the daylight lasts until 11pm, the sun just won’t set properly and mornings start at 3am.
But back to the walking. Depending on company and how fit we feel, we walk straight out of the front door towards the abandoned shepherd’s cottage. It’s a lovely low-impact walk with a little bit of a slope that lasts about an hour and a half.
An alternative is to drive a short distance through the long-since disused Stobs Army Camp (fascinating web site with lots of old photos) to another lovely hill along the road that Mary Queen of Scots took in 1566 to visit her lover James Hepburn, the Fourth Earl of Bothwell, who lay wounded at Hermitage Castle after a local skirmish. She rode there and back in one day over the wild and dangerous hills from Jedburgh , a distance of about 40 miles.
Exhausted when she returned, she lay in a fever for some weeks in a house in Jedburgh, now known as Mary, Queen of Scots House, until she recovered.
If you are looking for a slightly higher heart rate, the third and highest hill to visit in the neighbourhood is Ruberslaw at 424m. It is about 20 minutes’ drive in the car and best approached from the south via Bonchester Bridge. This is the hill where in the 17th Century the Covenanters used to secretly come together to hold then illegal Presbyterian services at ‘Peden’s Pulpit’ (you can still see the stone “pulpit”). By the way, Rubers Law is a disused volcano! This walk takes about 2 hours.
If you are serious about walking there are loads of ways, routes, streets and walks to take as the Borders has several walking routes of varying distances. In no particular order:
A brilliant website that I found recently is http://walking.visitscotland.com/walks/, a comprehensive database of walking routes in Scotland Not only are their walks colour coded to fit your precise requirements, there are over one thousand walks to choose from.
Green – Moderate Walks – walks up to 5 miles/8 kms in length;
Blue – Longer Walks – walks over 5 miles/8 kms;
Black – Long Distance Walks – walks usually of more than 25 miles/40 kms;
Red – Hill & Mountain Walks – strenuous walks which involve prolonged ascent and descent.
If it is a guided walk you are after try one of these:
Guided walks on a Saturday:
Walks based around Galashiels
For the person who likes to combine several forms of sustainable transport!
Every year the Scottish Borders holds a walking festival and this year the Festival is centred on Eyemouth and district. The festival runs from September 2-8 2012 and more information is available at www.borderswalking.com