Walking in the Scottish Borders

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  • Scott's View with the Eildon Hills in the distance, near Melrose
    Scott's View, near Melrose
  • Two walkers on the clifftop overlooking the Harbour of St Abbs, a village north of Eyemouth
    St Abbs Harbour, north of Eyemouth
  • St Cuthbert's Way
    St Cuthbert's Way
  • Yetholm, St Cuthbert's Way
    Yetholm, St Cuthbert's Way

Boasting over 1,500 miles of walking routes where you can step back in time, discover landscapes that have inspired literary masterpieces, or choose between challenging long distance routes and short country rambles, walking in the Scottish Borders is second to none.

Walking in Scottish Borders

Boasting over 1,500 miles of walking routes where you can step back in time, discover landscapes that have inspired literary masterpieces, or choose between challenging long distance routes and short country rambles, walking in the Scottish Borders is second to none.

Explore the area on foot and you’ll find a land of contrasts and one of Europe‘s most beautiful unspoilt regions. With rolling hills, extensive mature forests, superb river valleys and interesting towns and villages covered with tracks and paths you can choose to walk for an hour, a day or a week. Combine spectacular views with an abundance of natural wildlife and you have a seductive mix to tempt you outdoors.

Below is just a small selection of the many trail you could choose from. Find out more about walking routes.

Easy walks

River Tweed Circuit
Distance: 5.5km; duration: 1.5 hours
Starting from Melrose Abbey this gentle walk meanders through the streets of Melrose to the mighty River Tweed taking you past a number of interesting buildings and shops. The route continues along the banks of the river before returning via a spectacular suspension footbridge.

Dryburgh Abbey and the Tweed, St Boswells
Distance: 7.75km; duration: 2 hours
Starting in St Boswells this varied circuit follows waymarked paths and a minor road along the banks of the River Tweed. The route passes the Temple of the Muses before climbing through a forest to reach a huge memorial to William Wallace. The rout continues through the forest to Dryburgh Abbey.

Duns Law and Castle
Distance: 7km; duration: 2 hours
This straightforward walk follows woodland paths and tracks through the grounds of Duns Castle and includes an easy climb to the top of Duns Law. The route offers views over the town of Duns and to the Cheviots along with an opportunity to feed some ducks and other wild fowl in the Hen Poo, a former curling pond.

Cove Harbour Circuit
Distance: 4.5km; duration: 1.5 - 2 hours
From the car park follow the path down to Cove harbour where you can explore the fascinating natural harbour, beach and hand-hewn tunnel which is said to have been used by smugglers and fishermen. The route returns through the tunnel before following a coastal path along the impressive clifftops.

Salmon Leap Walk, Selkirk
Distance: 6km; duration: 2 hours
This lovely waymarked walk explores the banks of the Ettrick Water which is a tributary of the River Tweed. The route takes in a weir with salmon ladder before returning past an old watermill. Here you can take a short detour to a cafe before following the Mill Lade back to Selkirk.

Moderate walks

Eildon Hills
Distance: 8.75km; duration: 3 - 4 hours
The walk begins from the romantic ruins of Melrose Abbey and takes in the three summits of the Eildon Hills. Used by the Romans as a signalling point, the summits of this mountain trio offer unparalled vistas across the region and as far as the Lake District. Accessible by excellent tracks, they are some of the most famous landmarks in the Borders.

Ettrick Hills Horseshoe
Distance: 15.75km; duration: 5.5 - 6.5 hours
This pleasant walk follows a fine undulating circuit around the green rounded hills at the head of the Ettrick valley. Beginning with a gradual ascent through the forest this route is easy to follow thanks to the ever-present boundary fences.

St Abb’s Head
Distance:6.25km; duration: 2 hours
This coastal walk takes you around the dramatic coastal headland of St Abb’s Head National Nature Reserve. This is a straightforward route around the Mire Loch and the cliffs of the Head. The reserve contains an amazing variety of wildlife and the walk provides the opportunity to see nesting birds on the sheer cliffs. A tearoom is located next to the car park.

Three Brethren
Distance: 9.25km; duration: 2.5 - 4 hours
If it's spectacular views you’re after, pay a visit to Yair Forest. Situated near Selkirk in the Scottish Borders, this circular route meanders through woodland and open moorland before reaching the Three Brethren Cairns. The cairns there are fantastic vistas of the River Tweed and the surrounding hills.

Glentress Forest Trails
Distance and duration vary.
Glentress Forest is one the 7stanes mountain biking centres, but also offers a range of waymarked walks. The Ponds, Glen and Buzzard’s Nest trails all start near the café building at Glentress Peel. The Time Trail and the Tower Trail begin from the Buzzard’s Nest car park.

Long distance walks

Southern Upland Way
Distance: 340km; duration: 6 - 8 days
The Southern Upland Way is Scotland’s Coast to Coast National Trail. It is the country’s longest and arguably most dramatic long-distance route, covering 212 glorious miles from Portpatrick on the south west coast to Cockburnspath in the east. It is challenging in parts but other sections are ideal for families.

Sir Walter Scott Way
Distance: 148 - 151km; duration: 5 -7 days
The walking route links St Boswells with the attractive Borders towns of Melrose and Selkirk, and includes some beautiful stretches along the banks of the River Tweed. The route celebrates the life of the great Scottish romantic novelist Sir Walter Scott who lived in the Borders.

St Cuthbert’s Way
Distance: 100km; duration:  4 - 6 days
St Cuthbert's Way runs from the beautiful Borders town of Melrose to the magnificent Northumberland coast and takes four to six days to complete. It links with the Sir Walter Scott Way, the Roman Heritage Way and the Southern Upland Way.

The Berwickshire Coastal Path
Distance: 46km; duration: 2 - 4 days
The Berwickshire Coastal Path stretches from Cockburnspath in the north down to the English Border and Berwick-upon-Tweed.  The route is packed with secret coves, stunning clifftop scenery and exceptional birdlife.

Borders Abbey Way
Distance: 109km; duration: 5 - 6 days
The Borders Abbey Way is a waymarked circular walk focusing on the region’s historic abbeys in Kelso, Jedburgh, Melrose and Dryburgh. The route also offers a great opportunity to visit the historic towns of Hawick and Selkirk.

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