Southern Upland Way 26 Main Street , St Johns Town of Dalry , Castle Douglas , Scotland, DG7 3UW, United Kingdom
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16. Abbey St. Bathans to Cockburnspath

Nearest Town: Duns

Start: Abbey St. Bathans

Finish: Cockburnspath

Accomodation Search: Click here

•Distance: 10 miles
•Approx. Time: 4hours
Difficulty: Moderate/images/gradientmoderate
16. Abbey St. Bathans to Cockburnspath
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Route Description

Beginning and ending amongst forest scenery, this final section from Pease Bay to Cockburnspath takes you to the east coast before leading you inland to Cockburnspath itself in order to officially complete the Way.


Detailed Description

Abbey St. Bathans Youth Hostel to Pease Bay and Cockburnspath:
Starting at the Hostel, follow the road downhill and cross the footbridge over Whiteadder Water. The Way then turns right on a riverside walk through some deciduous trees until a small footbridge is reached. Once over this footbridge tutn left (north) up the wooded gully, on the track up out of the river valley. The track divides at two points, but keep to the left, following the track westwards round by the south face of a plantation. At the west end of the plantation, cross the stile and head northwest across a field to another stile and along a boundary until the Way abruptly turns north again, to cross under a power line and reach a farm track. There is a cairn with a weather vane beside the track, built in 1948 and commemorating the ownership of the lands by one family. A bench is beside the cairn. The track continues onwards through a plantation and beside a farm building before reaching Whiteburn Farm. There is a public telephone box here, which may make the farm a useful roadhead.

The Way goes partway up the drive to the Off-Road Training Centre before turning left over a stile to go around the Centre, rejoining the track once beyond it. The track passes through plantations and through fields until it turns left; at that point, the Way turns right and follows a fenceline east towards a minor road (NT 766649). Turning left (north) the Way follows the road north for a short distance before turning right (east) onto a farm-track and descending the north-west face of a series of small plantations towards Blackburn Mill. Just short of the Mill, the track makes a dog-leg round it, then heads uphill to a second dog-leg, turning right and then left down a beech-hedged lane towards cottages on the hill-crest at Blackburn Farm. The Way follows the track down a mile or so towards the roar of traffic from the A1 trunk road, following the edge of a steep valley with deciduous woodland - the uppermost part of Pease Burn.
Cross the A1 at Penmanshiel with great care. Turn left (north) to opposite the point where the crash barriers end, then cross there onto the path to the old road.

Writers report the old road to be the victim of 'fly tipping', so take care walking along it. After about half a mile, the Way turns right across a bridge over the East Coast main line between Edinburgh and London, then left along the edge of the woodlands, entering Penmanshiel Wood by the cottage of that name. The Way then follows a path through some fine lowland deciduous woodland, until it reaches the tracks in Pease Dene. At that point (approximately NT 792693), the walker must turn back hard right (southeast) up a hairpin-bend track that zigzags its way up the east flank of the Dene. There is a second junction at NT 795687, at which the walker must turn hard left (northwest) for a gentler climb up to the crest of the hill. From there, the tired walker will be relieved to see the North Sea, with the Bass Rock. The Way then follows the track downhill towards the 1783 stone Pease Bridge that carries the A1107 road 100 feet above the Dean. The Way crosses the road just beyond the east end of the bridge before descending into Pease Dean Nature Reserve. Please do not pick any flowers or take any cuttings - this area is protected and should be respected. The path deliberately skirts the edge of the Dean and descends wooden steps towards Pease Bay, crossing Pease Burn by a footbridge before reaching the road.

Pease Bay Caravan Site offers public toilets and a public telephone. Access is across from where the Way reaches the road.

However, the Way has not yet finished with the weary walker; the Way turns left (west) up the road for about a third of a mile before turning right off the road at Old Linhead onto a cliff top path. This attempts to reproduce the walk from Portpatrick, but has its own attraction in Cove Harbour, a curious pincer-shaped haven dry at low tide and with approach through a tunnel. The Way does not actually enter Cove Harbour, continuing along the cliffs for a way until it reaches houses on the outskirts of Cove village. There, the Way turns left (south) down a track to Cove Farm, to pass across the road then along its dedicated track to two pedestrian subways beneath the embankments of the railway and the A1. From there it is a short walk down a track to the old A1 on the edge of Cockburnspath; the Way turns left along the road then half-right by the War Memorial up a street into the square opposite the Church (tower and spire). The old cross in the square with its thistle finial marks the end of the Southern Upland Way. (Unfortunately Cockburnspath no longer offers the weary walker a pub to celebrate in but the local post office will sell you a beer!)