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Innerleithen to Peebles Back to South of Scotland Way index West Linton to Kirknewton

Brief route description

The route from Peebles to West Linton is based on Hamish Brown's original route. His first objective is Neidpath castle on the banks of the Tweed, and to reach it you should cross the river bridge at the south end of the town centre and follow the A72 westwards until you reach Hay Lodge Park, just beyond the hospital. Enter the park, walk down to the river bank, and follow it as far as the castle.

From the castle make your way directly up to the road then walk back towards Peebles for a couple of hundred metres before turning left onto a track accompanying the Rae Burn. This leads to a golf course. Keep to its edge initially then follow the access drive to Jedderfield, an isolated house to the west. Stay on the track past the house, which crosses the shoulder of a nameless hill that is crowned by the Peebles TV relay station which you will see rising above you. The track reaches a field corner then keeps to the southern edge of the next field to another corner some 200 metres beyond, where it peters out.

Cross into the next enclosure. You're now on the slopes of South Hill Head. Climb the pathless slope, tending a little to the right; you should, after some ten minutes, find yourself on the ridge forming the northern spur of South Hill Head, which is known as Clock Knowe. Your next objective is White Meldon, a prominent grassy hill one kilometer to the north, and at an elevation of 427 metres the highest point of today's walk. It's a lonely little summit with a seemingly endless vista of similar hills, particularly to the south west. Head off the hill directly to the west, aiming for the southern corner of a wood on the other side of an unclassified road. There is, somewhat incongruously, a picnic spot here.

Walk alongside the wood to the west for 100 metres then turn right to find a track running northwards through the wood and running parallel to the road. Follow this track for some 800 metres, as far as a crossing track, onto which you now tuen left. This track heads uphill for about a mile to reach the little community of Harehope. The route through Harehope is particularly tricky so, unless you have Hamish Brown's text to hand to guide you, I would suggest a longer but far more straightforward alternative. Some three hundred metres short of Harehope turn hard right onto a track heading initially northeast; this curves around to the north, then the northwest, before entering another area of woodland known as Harehope Forest. Stay on the same track, which now makes a long loop to the south to run around the summit of Harehope Hill. An ancient earthwork known as Harehope Rings crowns the summit of this hill; it's worth leaving the track briefly to investigate and also to take in the view. Regain the track on the other side of the knoll and follow it to the northwest, until it exits the forest at a field corner and terminates.

Your route now lies downhill to the north, alongside the edge of the forest. You will need to head well into the pasture away from the forest edge to avoid a boggy area that feeds a small stream, but having rounded this, stroll downhill to the north to reach the ford over Flemington Burn. Here you reach a fairly complicated network of landrover tracks; turn left initially to reach a triple fork. Your onward route is the middle track, heading uphill and slightly west of north. This is the shallow valley of the Fingland Burn, sandwiched between Drum Maw and Hag Law, hill of almost identical height. The track runs uphill for nearly a mile, curving further to the northwest and eventually reaching a ribbon woodland. Continue through this wood. The going here is generally rather muddy, unfortunately.

At the far end of the wood you find yourself looking down at the village of Romannobridge, not far short of West Linton. The path network here is a little tricky and the map doesn't do the best of jobs in depicting it, but your best option is to follow the path downhill and around to the right, to reach the upper end of a small copse of trees; turn left just past the copse to head downhill, with Romanno Mains on your right and Romanno House Farm a bit lower down on your left. You should then find yourself passing the cemetery to come out onto the A701 road.

Although the map suggests a possible off-road route to West Linton via Damside and Spitalhaugh, Hamish Brown makes no mention of it and instead prefers the quieter of the two surfaced options. Turn left onto the A701 at Romannobridge and follow it for the best part of a mile, after which you turn right onto an unclassified lane heading for West Linton via the locality of Bogs Bank. It's about two and a half miles to West Linton and the route has little of interest to offer. Once you reach West Linton itself the busy A702 will come as a bit of a culture shock. The road carries the bus service between Biggar and Edinburgh via Penicuick.

Walk Statistics:
Length: 14.6 miles / 23.5 km
Total ascent: 2671 ft / 814 m
Total descent: 2393 ft / 729 m
Estimated time: 5 hrs 35 mins

Maps: OS 1:25000 Explorer 337 (Peebles & Innerleithen), 336 (Biggar), 344 (Pentland Hills)

Innerleithen to Peebles Back to South of Scotland Way index West Linton to Kirknewton

This page last updated 15th December 2010