Cycling the Borders of Scotland 2009

Route difficulty calculated using cycalc

 

Getting ready for the off. Thanks to Sue and Dave we were able to leave our car at their home and start our holiday: 240-mile circuit through the Scottish Borders from Edinburgh.

 

The temperature quickly began to rise, and it was a beautiful sunny day. Day one was a reasonable 44-miles (grade average-C) from Edinburgh to East Linton.

 

Julie is a sucker for cute animals

 

The route from Edinburgh to East Linton is largely on marked cycle routes – a lot of which is old railway, and therefore reasonably level.

 

Day 2 began windy and got worse as we cycled. The day’s ride was intended to be reasonably challenging, south through the Lammeruir Hills, but we didn’t expect gale force winds in our faces!

 

 

We were treated to some nice views, in spite of the wind.

 

We cycled past a couple of well-active wind farms. The wind had blown almost continuously into our faces, and it was with considerable effort that we pushed uphill and into the wind. Even after we had reached the top of this hill (the highest of the day) we had to push ourselves downhill to make progress!

 

After 34-miles (grade mild-D without the wind!) into a head wind the whole way we were rather tired. In retrospect we concluded that this day was by far the most tiring, the wind having turned a Mild-Demanding into an Extreme!

 

We spent the night at the Black Bull Hotel in Duns, and the following day’s weather was great. This was our easiest cycling day: down the coast to Lindisfarne 35-miles grade hard-B

 

What a difference a day makes…

 

Our first view of the Cheviot Hills

 

Looking back towards the Lammeruir Hills

 

The Scottish Borders is a great place for a cycling holiday: long quite roads.

 

Crossing the Union Bridge from Scotland into England…

 

And down the coast towards Holy Island…

 

Across the causeway to Lindisfarne (Holy Island)…

 

Lindisfarne Castle…

 

We stayed at The Manor House, with great views…

 

Lindisfarne Priory…

 

Lindisfarne (aka Holy Island) is isolated from the mainland twice per day by the tides. During low tide the island is packed with tourists. When the causeway is closed, however, the island is beautifully peaceful and quite.

 

Next day was another great weather day. We had timed the visit to Lindisfarne to give us ideal crossing times: the causeway was clear of water at 10.00am; a perfect time to start cycling…

 

Back over the causeway, on route for Jedburgh 42-miles away grade mild-D…

 

Back towards the Cheviot Hills…

 

And there’s always time for tea and scones, as here in the beautiful Northumberland village of Ford…

 

Back into Scotland…

 

And finally our B&B night in Jedburgh, and a peruse of tomorrows adventure…

 

The next day, Friday 11 September, was to be one of the hardest days: 41-miles at grade hard-D (Hard-Demanding) from Jedburgh to Selkirk. The route looked good on the map, and as it turned out was a really good ride: very varied and full of interest.

 

From Jedburgh, you can either take the minor road to the hamlet of Lanton or the B6358 heading west. Going via Lanton involves slightly less climbing but does involve a lung-busting climb right at the beginning. However you get to the B6358 look for, and take, the minor road to Bedrule: this is a wonderfully quite road of very easy cycling and great views.

 

You approach but never ride on the B6357; turning sharp right just as you reach the B-road takes you uphill and continues the quite theme. At Hawthbornside cross over the B6088 at a slightly staggered junction (left then right). The good views continue on a gentle climb to the B6399. Turn right towards Hawick and cycle along the wooded valley of Slitrig Water. Cycle over the bridge and continue along the river, which is now on your right-hand side, and leave the B-road on a lane opposite the farm of Flex.

 

Cycling uphill and around the hamlet of Branxholme brings you to the A7, where there is a cycle lane taking you to the junction with the B711. Easy cycling continues following the river Borthwick Water, but at Roberton the climbing resumes and at Howcleuchshiel you leave the B711 to take a minor road over Woll Rig. After the climb out of Roberton – only a mile or so – the cycling is easy and beautifully varied. Take care to bear left at the clubhouse of Woll golf course; it’s easy to miss, as we did!

 

Finally reaching the B7009 takes you northeast to Selkirk.

 

It was an Indian summer; great conditions for cycling. And an interesting, varied, route…

 

The Eildon Hills. Most of the route afforded memorable views…

 

Deserted roads lead for great cycling…

 

A very enjoyable day…

 

We spent the night at The Glen Hotel, Selkirk. The following day (our last cycling day) continued with good weather to complete our 240-Miles circuit of the Scottish Borders.

 

Back over the River Tweed, we headed generally north towards Edinburgh 43-mile (grade hard-C) away…

 

Through more lovely Borders countryside…

 

Those Eildon Hills again…

 

We don’t think that wind-farms detract from the beauty of the countryside.

 

The last major climb of the holiday takes us over the Moorfoot Hills…

 

And on the north side of the escarpment our destination comes into view: the Pentland Hills, the Firth of Forth and Edinburgh…

 

After last years cycling holiday of almost continuous rain, this year proved to be one of the best weather cycling holidays we have ever had! And we will never grow bored of the Scottish Borders!

 

 

 

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