Melrose to Harestanes
Distance: 24 km (15 miles) Duration: 6 – 8 hours
St. Cuthbert’s Way starts at the gates of the magnificent 12th century Melrose Abbey in the lively Borders town of Melrose. From Melrose, an invigorating climb takes you over the iconic Eildon Hills whose triple peaks are one of the best loved landmarks in the Scottish Borders. As you pause to catch your breath, there are panoramic views in every direction: Melrose, the Moorfoot and Lammermuir Hills to the north, and the mighty Cheviot range to the south.
After dropping back down to the village of Bowden, nestling in the lee of the Eildons, the route winds its way through gentle farmland and woodland to Newtown St Boswells. The next section along the tranquil banks of the River Tweed offers glimpses of Dryburgh Abbey, and takes you into St. Boswells, and then on further down the Tweed past the Crystal Well into the village of Maxton.
Walking south from Maxton along Dere Street, you will be following in the footsteps of the Romans who built the original road, now a tree lined grassy track, passing Lady Lilliard’s Tomb. Harestanes Countryside Visitor Centre which lies only just off this section of route offers tempting food and drink. If you are feeling energetic you might fancy a quick detour to climb up to the Waterloo Monument, a local landmark. On your first day you will have experienced first-hand all of the countryside which is so frequently admired by Sir Walter Scott from his favourite viewpoint above Dryburgh.
Most people walking St. Cuthbert’s Way spend either their first or second night along the route at Jedburgh, which offers a wide choice of accommodation and facilities. If you don’t mind walking an extra 4 km (2.5 miles) you can walk from Jedfoot via the Borders Abbeys Way. Or you might prefer to catch a public bus from the main road just near Harestanes Visitor Centre, or arrange a taxi from Harestanes or Jedfoot.
Continue to Harestanes to Kirk Yetholm