Border Beats

The Scottish Borders is where I started walking seriously in 2000 so I always enjoy walking there. I just wish I had begun recording the beautiful walks I did there earlier. Check the sidebar for my other site links


Edin’s Hall Broch circular (5.5 miles)
Paxton to Berwick linear (10 miles)
Berwick Town Walls circular (1.5 miles)

Edin’s Hall Broch circular (5.5 miles)

This is a moderate 5.5 mile walk with some lovely features, but it includes 2 km of road walking which isn’t very inspiring. It starts from the Riverside Restaurant car park by the trout farm in Abbey St Bathans.

Turn left out of the trout farm and follow the road until you reach a toot sign on the corner. Go through the gate on your left and head down the steps to cross a small footbridge over a stream. Cross the stile and follow the path heading to your left. Keep to the path as it turns right and uphill until you reach a wooden gate. Beyond the gate head left and downhill to the gate in a barbed wire fence. Beyond the gate head right and uphill to reach the broch.

This is one of only ten brochs in southern Scotland and it dates from the 2nd century BC where it was built on the site of earlier earthworks. If you search online you will find images of the impressive Iron Age site from the air. The broch is about 25 meters in diameter with walls averaging 5 meters thick containing small chambers.

From here head eastwards from the broch on the path downhill to a gate where the path continues with trees on your left to a wall with steps in it. Follow the path above the river to another wall with steps. Bear right and follow the wide track and then go right following a wire fence along the Whiteadder. Keep to the lower track which leads to steps down to the bridge over the Whiteadder.

After crossing a stream to your left the path turns right and up to a road where you turn left and follow the road for 2km until you reach a junction at Moorhouse. Here you go left and over a stile to follow the path to Whare Burn where it meets the Southern Upland Way. Turn left and follow the burn down to the Whiteadder and Abbey St Bathans. Cross the bridge here to return to your starting point.

Abbey St Bathans to Edin’s Hall Broch, Ordnance Survey ©

Paxton to Berwick (10m linear)

Berwick upon Tweed is a small walled town which has changed hands between the English and the Scots many times. Personally I think it belongs to Scotland more than England now with Edinburgh as it’s nearest city.

After a comfortable night in Berwick Youth Hostel, I set off on a short bus ride to Paxton. The 10 mile linear river walk along the Tweed and the Whiteadder starts at the Cross Inn in the small border village of Paxton. For the first few miles my route meandered around the Whiteadder before heading westwards along the Scottish side of the lovely River Tweed. The river forms the border between England and Scotland inland of Berwick.

Salmon Ladder
Salmon ladder on the Whiteadder

I passed some dedicated fishermen at intervals along the river bank, which included a few slithery stretches after the rain. After a few miles I reached the bottom of the Paxton House estate which was still ablaze with autumn colour. From here I followed the path close to the banks of the Tweed as far as the Chain Bridge by Horncliffe.

Chain Bridge
Looking south into England across the Chain Bridge.

Here I crossed into England over the Tweed and turned eastwards along the river bank for a further 6 miles on broad grassy paths back towards Berwick.

Royal Border Bridge
Passing under the Royal Border Bridge as the light began to fade

After a brush with the busy ring road around the town, I followed the narrow path through the trees under the Royal Border bridge, and back over the Old Bridge into Berwick, arriving at the youth hostel by dusk.

Paxton Map
Paxton to Berwick Route. Courtesy of Ordnance Survey ©

Berwick Town walls walk (1.5m circular)

This short circuit of the town walls is a pleasant way to see the town which is crammed full of listed buildings. (See Pevsner’s Northumberland). Historians have apparently described the walls around Berwick are “the best-preserved example of town defences in Britain designed for post-medieval warfare” They are protected as a scheduled ancient monument.

I headed up onto the ramparts at Marygate and started walking towards the Quayside in the crisp November sunshine.

Berwick Walls
House by Sandgate on Berwick Walls

I think that this section along the quayside has the loveliest and most eclectic selection of buildings of the whole walk. No two buildings are the same which is so unlike contemporary building schemes.

Berwick Custom House
The old custom house overlooking the quayside and port

The walk then passes the old arsenal used to store barrels of gunpowder for the many cannons stationed along the ramparts which protect the entrance to the harbour on this strategic post on the English / Scottish border. It then passes Holy Trinity Church built during Cromwell’s era which has no spire because bell ringing was unpopular among the Cromwellians. Further along the early 18th century barracks form another impressive feature of the walk

Berwick Barracks

I finished the walk at Meg’s Mount and headed back up Marygate where a band were striking up by the war memorial for Remembrance Sunday. After observing the two minute silence and listening to a speech by the vicar, I wound my way back to the station to catch my train.

Meg's Mount
Meg’s Mount on the Berwick Walls

This walk around the ramparts is filled with evidence of Berwick’s military past. This, together with the scene by the war memorial, reminded me that Berwick has been a barrack town for centuries, and occasions such as Remembrance Sunday strike a deep chord with the local people.

Berwick Map
Berwick Town Walls Route. Courtesy of Ordnance Survey ©

4 thoughts on “Border Beats

  1. Nice pictures and write up.Yes definitely worth a visit. We used Berwick as overnight stop on way to Scotland. I was up early and did the ramparts walk befor going north.Will exploy in more detail next time. It looks like it will be next year before I visit again.

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