Grand Tour of the Scottish Borders

Route Out – Gorebridge to Middleton to Dewar to Innerleithen to Peel to Clovenfords. For route map click here.

Route Back – Clovenfords to Bowland to Stow to Fountainhall to Heriot to Middleton to Gorebridge. For route map click here.

  • Weather – hot and sunny with almost no wind.
  • Distance travelled – 58.68 miles
  • Riding time – 6 hours 23 minutes
  • Maximum speed – 29.5 mph
  • Average speed – 9.1 mph

On Tuesday I decided to go for a grand tour of the Scottish Borders which was going to be my longest cycle ever. Dad and I left just after 7am so that we could try and get back home in time for our tea. Amazingly, despite it being the only hot day of the Scottish summer, we actually managed this…

We left Gorebridge on the quiet B6372 road. After a couple of miles, just before turning off onto the sign-posted National Cycle Route no.1, we spotted a hot air balloon floating in the sky so we stopped to photograph it. It was low enough in the sky that we could see and hear the burning flame. This section of Route no.1 is a very quiet single track road which took us around the back of the Middleton Lime Works quarry before we reached Middleton, where we stopped for a quick snack beside a field of chickens. After that, we stayed on Route no.1 and cycled up into the Moorfoot Hills for about 3 miles along the B7007 until, at the top of the hill, we entered the Scottish Borders. The road was very quiet and we got some great views over to the Pentland Hills, Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh and the new Forth Road Bridge. From the high point on the road of 404m near Carcant Wind Farm, it was downhill all the way to Innerleithen (apart from a short section just after Dewar which was suspiciously, and annoyingly, slightly uphill) so we sped down the road in no time at all. This is a lovely scenic road with hills on all sides. It’s also very quiet so a nice road to cycle on. Just before Innerleithen, we stopped for a short break to eat our crisps on some rocks next to the Leithen Water.

We didn’t stop in Innerleithen but carried on along Route no.1, firstly on a short section of cycle path which took us over a bridge to the south side of the River Tweed and then along the single track road which follows the river along to the village of Peel. This is a lovely quiet road with only a few short hills and almost no traffic at all. At one point I spotted a huge patch of wild raspberries so I stuffed my face for a good 10 minutes or so. I then decided to make some raspberry juice in my water bottle – it was tasty! At Peel, there’s an old bridge over the River Tweed where you get a really nice view so we stopped there for our lunch.

After that, there was short section on the A707 but luckily, it seemed to be very quiet for an “A” road so it was safe enough for us. We then turned off Route no.1 and headed into the village of Clovenfords. There’s a shop there and since it was by now starting to get quite hot, we decided to get an ice cream to try and cool ourselves down. It didn’t really work but at least it was tasty… The next couple of miles was very steeply uphill along another very quiet country road. We got some good views from the top when we finally got there and then we were able to speed back down the other side to the hamlet of Bowland. It was on this section that I reached my fastest speed of the day. Bowland has a nice archway leading to an old mansion house on the hill but we didn’t stop for a visit. Instead, we headed uphill again along a narrow private road (luckily the gates were open) which eventually took us to the quiet single track road on the Western side of the Borders Railway. We stayed on this road for around 12 miles and saw roughly 9 trains in this time so I was pleased. The highlight of the day came when we stopped for a rest at Stow Station and we saw 2 trains passing by just underneath the bridge.

From Stow, we headed northwards, going up and down hills all the way and saw no cars at all. We passed through the village of Fountainhall and eventually turned left onto the B709. This is another scenic and quiet road which took us through Heriot before eventually joining up with the B7007 again. Here we re-joined Route no.1 and headed back uphill through the Moorfoot Hills to enter Midlothian again. The views over to East Lothian on the way back downhill were really good. After Middleton we continued speeding downhill the rest of the way home to Gorebridge. It had been a long day of cycling and I was very tired by the end. I didn’t break my average or maximum speed records but it was easily the longest cycle run I’d ever managed so I was very happy (to get back home and tuck into my fish cakes at least!).

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