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Walker's Data

This page has a host of useful information to help the walker plan. Click on any of the following headings to access this information.

Walking Distances

The sections of the walk are very much defined by the communities that are located along the way, and the route option chosen in the Central Borders. There are limited options in terms of dividing up the walk at the eastern end.
Below are the main distance tables

Section

Start - End point

Distance (miles)

Distance (km.)

1

Moffat - Tibbie Shiels

20

32.5

2

Tibbie Shiels - Traquair

14

22.5

3

Traquair - Galashiels

13

21

4

Galashiels - Lauder

15

24

5

Lauder - Longformacus

14

22.5

6

Longformacus - Cockburnspath

16

26

Total


92

148.5

Section

Start - End point

Distance (miles)

Distance (km.)

1

Moffat - Tibbie Shiels

20

32.5

2

Tibbie Shiels - Traquair

14

22.5

3

Traquair via Selkirk - Abbotsford

18

28.5

4

Abbotsford - Lauder

12

19

5

Lauder - Longformacus

14

22.5

6

Longformacus - Cockburnspath

16

26

Total


94

151

Alternative Walking Options

If the walker is able to access the limited accommodation in the Ettrick Valley or is prepared to use pick up transport then the following option is an example of what is available, this offering an easier start to the walk.

1

Moffat - Scabcleuch

15.5

25

2

Scabcleuch - Traquair

18.5

30

3

Traquair - Galashiels

13

21

4

Galashiels - Lauder

15

24

5

Lauder - Longformacus

14

22.5

6

Longformacus - Cockburnspath

16

26

Total


92

148.5

In this option accommodation at the end of day 1 would be at Tushielaw or further down the Ettrick Valley.


This is only one of several possibilities with the option to use either the Galashiels or Selkirk routes and the ability to extend the walk to 7 days offering more time to stop off at locations such as the Courtroom at Selkirk, Abbotsford, Melrose Abbey and Thirlstane Castle. If you would like to receive a chart of distances and table of suggested stopping points then e-mail Walking Support (Planning, Booking, Luggage Transfer and Guiding experts) and they will forward you the details.


Accommodation Locations

This section is set up to offer suggestions on where individuals or parties might stay while on the route. Not all stages stop at locations where there is extensive accommodation or eating facilities, but in all cases additional local communities and transport provision by private hire are readily available if booked in advance.


Overnight Location Suggestions

Transfer Times (approx)

start

Moffat

zero

Day 1

Tibbie Shiels
St Mary's Loch
Gordon Arms

zero
5 min
15 min

Day 2

Traquair
Innerleithen
Gordon Arms

zero
5 min
15 min

Day 3

Selkirk
Galashiels
Melrose

zero
zero
10 min

Day 4

Lauder
Earlston
Carfraemill
Melrose

zero
10 min
5 min
15 min

Day 5

Longformacus
Duns

zero
10 min

Day 6

Cockburnspath

zero

To link for suggestions on service providers click on accommodation, or transport & bag carrying provision.


Transport Details

The provision of public transport to and from the start and end locations is straightforward with bus services running directly to Moffat from Glasgow (Buchanan Street Bus Station) and from Edinburgh (St Andrews Square). Access can also be gained from rail connections via Lockerbie or Dumfries.

The connections from Cockburnspath is direct to Edinburgh, again with bus connections to link to the rail at Berwick upon Tweed or Edinburgh.

Connection between Moffat and Cockburnspath or in the reverse direction is achieved by way of a change at Edinburgh.

There are no bus or train routes along the line of the Way, but there are bus routes to and from Edinburgh to Innerleithen, Selkirk, Galashiels, Melrose, and Lauder.

Route

Route Numbers

General Comments

Glasgow to Moffat

No 974 to Dumfries

This service takes approx. 1 hr. 30 min.

Edinburgh to Moffat

X100 to Dumfries


Lockerbie to Moffat

No 382

Approx. 30 min. and this allows for connection to rail service to and from Glasgow and Carlisle

Cockburnspath to Edinburgh

No 253

Approx time 1 hr. 20 min.

Cockburnspath to Berwick upon Tweed

No 253

45 min. journey with connection then available to train on East Coast Line

Cockburnspath to Moffat

Services No 253 & X100

Dependent on the time of day the transfer time may vary. Alternatively with additional links the route can be made with train connections to Glasgow and Lockerbie.

Useful Contact Numbers


Maps

The walk is waymarked with the SNH Thistle sign as it follows the eastern line of the Southern Upland Way with the exception of the starting section and a short part at Galashiels.
We would not advocate that the walker navigates purely by the waymarks but also carries up to date maps to a scale of atleast 1:50000 and the walker comes prepared with compass. The OS Landranger maps relevant to the walk are Nos. 78,79,73,74 & 67.
There are in addition specific maps and guide books for the Southern Upland Way:-
Author: Anthony Burton ISBN 185410 4551 - 12.99
Author: Roger Smith ISBN 011495 1705 - 17.50

The website has "not to scale" maps for the two sections not commensurate with the Southern Upland Way.

Terrain

This has been divided into a section for each of the days, and may be helpful for those who are undertaking only parts of the route.

Section

Sub section

Terrain

1

Moffat to Potburn

Short section on minor road before field, hill path and forestry walk then open hill. This can be wet in parts, and the walk is strenuous with considerable ascents. At points there is little shelter , and walkers need to be well prepared for changing weather conditions. There is a bothy at Over Phawhope. Walking boots are essential


Potburn to Scabcleuch

This is all on a tarmac single track road, descending gradually by the side of Ettrick Water. This is on an easy walking surface, but the area is exposed and weather conditions can be variable with little shelter.


Scabcleuch to Tibbie Shiels

All on hill paths, with considerable ascents to reach the highest point at Earl's Hill. This is also limited in terms of shelter and good protective gear is required. Walking boots are esssential.

2

Tibbie Shiels to A708

Generally on level paths with easy walking. Toward the end the way is on a single track hard core drive.


A708 to Traquair

Over hill paths and in open countryside where there is little shelter from the weather. Good walking boots and clothes are required. Last mile on a minor road.

3

Traquair via Three Brethren to Yair

Starts on track, then onto hill path. This can be wet in parts and on occasions stoney. Walking boots are essential and good waterproof clothing needed as this can be an exposed area.

3

Three Brethren to Selkirk

Heather clad hills dropping down to wooded and grazing fields before a short section of pavement walking in Selkirk. Walking boots are essential and good waterproof clothing needed as this can be an exposed area.


Yair to Galashiels

Track then onto open grazing moorland and hills. Some limited paths in woodland. Walking boots strongly recommended and protective wear should be carried.

4

Galashiels to Melrose

Mainly on hard surfaces although some field and river paths. Walking boots are recommended. This tends to be all at a relatively low level so the need to carry clothing for unexpected weather changes is not so important.

3

Selkirk to Melrose

This section is running with the Borders Abbeys Way and is Waymarked. The route has golf course, farming land, grazing fields and lochside walking as well as some single track roads. The earlier part of the section is more exposed and we recommend walking boots and good protective clothing when the weather is uncertain.


Melrose to Lauder

This is on rough track and paths and over open grazing moorland. Walking boots essential and be prepared for changing weather conditions over high moorland.

5

Lauder to Watch Water

Moorland grass paths and tracks then stoney hill paths. Walking boots essential and good outdoor clothing required as this is another exposed and open section.


Watch Water to Longformacus

This is on a minor road. Boots are recommended but not essential.

6

Longformacus to A1

Mixture of open moorland and hill paths with some forestry sections on well made up tracks. This is subject to frequent but not too demanding inclines. Walking boots are needed and walkers should have protective clothing for what could be changeable weather conditions.


A1 to Cockburnspath

Forest track and country paths, which can be slippy in wet weather. Walking boots are recommended.

Weather

This can vary from day to day and area to area. Some of the walk is in open hills and high level moorlands, so mist and low cloud can make visibility and navigation more difficult. The weather may also be bright and in this circumstance there are only limited sections where the trees will afford a break from sunlight.

For information on the weather forecast within the region you can call Weathercall. (This is a premium rate telephone service run by the Met Office.)
Relevant Regions and Dial Numbers:

Region

Walking Day

Dial Number

South West Scotland

1-2

09068 232 790

Edinburgh, Fife, Lothaisn & Borders

2-6

09068 232 792

Alternatively access the Met Office Website.

Communications

Communications in the form of mobile phone cannot be relied upon throughout the route but are generally available at the start and end points. There are variations between the various networks.

Section

Mobile Signal

Public/Emergency Telephone

Moffat to Tibbie Shiels

O2 strong around Moffat but Orange weak. Signals lost shortly after Moffat Water. Signal regained on final descent into Tibbie Shiels

Available at Moffat and Tibbie Shiels
Ensure that there is knowledge left of where you are walking and an expected time of arrival, as this is a remote part of the way.

Tibbie Shiels to Traquair

Signal strong along St Mary's Loch

Available at Tibbie Shiels and Traquair

Traquair to Galashiels

Generally good but a blank area around the Minch Moor

Available at Traquair, Yair Bridge and Galashiels

Traquair to Selkirk

Generally good but a blank area around the Minch Moor and on the descent to Selkirk

Available at Traquair, and Selkirk

Selkirk to Lauder

Generally good with only limited blank spots at the start but becoming patchy in the middle section from Melrose to Lauder

Available at Selkirk, Abbotsford, Melrose and Lauder

Galashiels to Lauder

Becoming patchy in the middle section from Melrose to Lauder

Available at Galashiels, Melrose and Lauder

Lauder to Longformacus

Still to report

Available at Lauder and Longformacus
Ensure that there is knowledge left of where you are walking and an expected time of arrival, as this is a remote part of the way.

Longformacus to Cockburnspath

Signals available at start, at Abbey St Bathans and approaching the A1. From the A1 most of the way is within a strong signal.

Available at Longformacus, Abbey St Bathans, Pease Bay and Cockburnspath

Refreshments

On sections 1, 2, 3, and 5, there are no facilities for refreshment along the route.
On section 4 refreshments are available at Melrose. On section 6 refreshments of a more limited form are available in Abbey St Bathans and them at Pease Bay.
The only other areas that the walk passes other than those mentioned above where shops exist is Tweedbank, so walkers need to be prepared each day with adequate liquid and food stocks. Also remember that at Tibbie Shiels, Traquair and Longformacus there are only limited shop facilities.

Emergency Precautions

The walk takes you over hills, high moorland and into remote forests where you are unlikely to see many other individuals. This may be one of the charms of this walk, but it is also important to recognise that assistance in an emergency will not necesarily be at hand. We also know that mobile telephone reception can be poor or non existant in some of the remoter areas, sometimes being possible with one service provider and not with another. It is therefore strongly recommended that walkers leave word with someone on the route being taken and the expected time of arrival at the days destination. We also recommend that each group has one person carrying some basic first aid kit, and that the group has water and some high energy food in case of having to stop awaiting assistance. Proper outdoor clothing is required as on inclement days a walker could become very wet and cold without the right protection.

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