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Section 4 - Galashiels to Lauder

The section is 15 miles / 24 Km in length. The first hour is spent going round parts of Galashiels before reaching Abbotsford followed by a section of about another hour beside the banks of the Tweed. The way then heads north over farmland and moors before descending into the Leader Valley at the Royal and Ancient Burgh of Lauder.

Pathway onto Gala Hill

The way leaves Galashiels through Scott Park and the entrance drive to Galashiels Academy. It then climbs onto the side of Gala Hill and tracks east towards the Tweed. Soon all the housing is to the north and below the line of the path.

Quin Stone - Scotland's Eden

As the path exits from the wood the dominant landmark is again the Eildon Hills. It is at this point that a stone memorial stands commemorating Roger Quin. He described this place as Scotland's Eden.
The route now passes across a field on the Gala Hill where the walker gets their first view of Abbotsford lying below on the banks of the Tweed. This is perhaps one of the best views of Sir Walter Scott's home and following a zig zag descent round the eastern side of Galashiels a closer view of the house is obtained.

Abbotsford House from across the River Tweed

On reaching the river bank Abbotsford House can soon be seen across the Tweed. This stately house was built by Sir Walter Scott starting in 1818.
After passing the House the way approaches a point below a modern high road bridge at the point where the Tweed is still crossed on horseback each year at the Braw Lads Gathering.
At this point the Sir Walter Scott Way breaks from the SUW route as it progresses to Abbotsford House. This section of the route is not waymarked until it rejoins the SUW just east of Lowood Bridge but a map and directions can be viewed by clicking here.
Alternative the walker can remain on the SUW and pass through an industrial section of Galashiels passed the gas and sewerage works before a short climb to the side of the abattoir. Turn right just prior to the abattoir onto a path that follows the line of the old Waverley Railway, past Tweedbank then reaching a new Scottish Executive Office for pensions and the road coming up from Lowood Bridge.

Melrose - Tweed

The way leaves the main road at a stile on the left and enters two fields then grassland by the banks of the River Tweed. Follow this bank all the way into Melrose. At the high point at the rear of the church you can break from the Way to enter this charming Border Town, otherwise keep by the river path and reach the pedestrian bridge crossing the Tweed to the northern bank.

Tweed at Gattonside

Having crossed the Tweed the path retraces a section of the way but on the opposite bank before heading uphill to the west of Gattonside.

As the way climbs the valley of Allan Water is to the west, where Glendearg Tower of "The Monastery" is located.

Above Gattonside looking towards Abbotsford

After a period of climbing the way breaks out at high level along a straight but undulating track. This is the line of the old Roman road, "Dere Street" which ran from York to the Firth of Forth.

From this point there are views back to the Eildons and the site of the Roman's lookout point on the North Hill. Just below the North Hill was the Roman fort of Trimontium.

Fordswell

After a short section of minor road the Way takes off across grazing land still with wide open views ahead to Soutra Hill. On a clear day the windmills at Dun Law are clearly visible.
All along this section you are likely to encounter cattle and sheep. The cattle are likely to run from you but if they have calves give then space by deviating slighly from the line of the way.

Rowan & Scot's pine near Woodhead Hill

The highest part of this section is at Woodheads Hill and the walk passes by the side of an old ruined house and along the edge of the wood with a mixture of Scots Pines and colourful Rowans.

From here the route descends to the west of Lauder Golf Course before turning east towards the town.

Lauderdale with Lauder in Valley

Follow the line of the Lauder Burn but initially well above the valley. Ahead can be seen Thirlestane Castle and behind the Lammermuir Hills and the area of walking for the next section.

Lauder has a long history which it remember annually in its Common Riding Festival in August.

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