Stage1 - Melrose to St Boswells
(7.5 miles / 12kms, with Max Ascent 1400 ft / 450 metres)
The walk, technically, starts from Melrose Abbey, so making your way up to the Square, past the public toilets, are the first steps of the stage to St Boswells. From the Square, which is actually triangular, pass the Market Cross and head up the hill between the Public Library and Russell's Restaurant. The route then turns to the left, off Dingleton Road, up a long flight of steps onto the open hill. From now on you can rely on the waymarkers.
Dingleton Road led to Dingleton Hospital, which was for many years at the forefront of treatment for those with psychiatric problems. With the change of philosophy, to more care in the community, the need for a large establishment with wards, no longer existed , so the hospital was closed. The ground has been sold for re-development.
Market Square, Melrose
As the path rises up the slope towards the col between the two main Eildons, a panoramic view will develop on a clear day. There is a view indicator on the summit, which shows the Lammermuirs and the Moorfoots to the North, the hills of upper Tweedsmuir, often snow-capped, to the West, and, perhaps, most impressive of all, the Cheviots, the barrier between the Scots and the English throughout the centuries, and towards which you will head and through which you will pass on your way south and east.
See also: Melrose Web Site.
Tweed Horizons Centre
As you head on downhill towards Bowden, you may like to think about the tales of Michael Scott the wizard, who in legend, is credited with the creation of the Eildons, or Thomas the Rhymer who met the Queen of the Fairies in the glen between the Eildons and Newstead, and was spirited away to Elfland.
Or, perhaps, in more rational mood, of the ancient peoples who inhabited these hills, long before the Romans came up over the border, and who spent their lives in the forts whose remains ring the hills. Or of the Romans who built such a massive fort at Trimontium as the main base north of Hadrian's Wall and south of the Forth. Or perhaps, like most people, you will just enjoy the scenery and the wildlife which lives and grows on the hillside.
And so you enter Bowden.
See also: Bowden Web Site.
Having turned right, and left following the sign for 'Bowden Kirk', and left again, before you reach it, you are following the Bowden Burn on the short step to Newtown St Boswells.
See also: Newtown St Boswells Village Web Site.
Footbridge to Dryburgh
Having crossed over the road into Newtown St Boswells, you will continue down and under the main A68 heading towards the Tweed. En route you pass 'Tweed Horizons', a fine building which started life as a seminary for trainee priests, became an outdoor centre for Glasgow school children who came with their teachers and stayed there for a week or a fortnight at a time, and has finally become the centre for various environmental projects and small technological development workshops. Down the hill, you come to the end of the footbridge to Dryburgh Village.
The path stays on the south side, but, if you have time, a short walk over the bridge will bring you firstly to the Temple of the Muses, then Dryburgh Village, and, if you have half an hour extra to spare, turn left in the village and go up the 'main' road, from which a path will take you to the Wallace Statue.
If you stayed on the path, or having returned from your visit to Dryburgh and its intriguing sights, the route takes you along the south side of the Tweed until it climbs up into the pleasant village of St Boswells.
See also: St Boswells Village Web Site.