Southern Upland Way 26 Main Street , St Johns Town of Dalry , Castle Douglas , Scotland, DG7 3UW, United Kingdom
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13. Gala / Melrose to Lauder

Nearest Town: Melrose

Start: Melrose

Finish: Lauder

•Distance: 14 miles
•Approx. Time: 4hours
Difficulty: Moderate/images/gradientmoderate
13. Gala / Melrose to Lauder
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Route Description

The Southern Upland Way resumes its rural route after Melrose, through gentle, wooded landscape and open fields. Lauder like the remaining halts nestles in a narrow valley beside a river.

Please note: The mileage displayed is an average mileage for this section and is dependent on your accommodation location in Gala / Melrose.


Detailed Description

NOTE: It is difficult to divide the section between Melrose and Lauder, mainly because half of it is on minor roads. Fordswell is the furthest point to which cars can drive before the next roadhead at Lauder.

Scott's View is near this section of the route and may be of interest to those who want to visit the areas traditionally associated with the author, who appreciated the landscape as well as its history.

Melrose to Fordswell:
Beginning at the point where the Way reached the B6374 in Melrose, at NT 539345, the walker should return to the walk right (east) along the river-bank in the direction of the Chain Bridge, a suspension bridge just beyond the weir. The Way leaves the bank about a hundred yards short of the bridge, joining a narrow track onto the bridge. On the north bank, the Way turns left (west) following the bank until it crosses a narrow strip of riverside woodland, to join the B6360 and continue west for a hundred yards. At that point - before a sawmill - the Way crosses the road and enters a track going steadily uphill round the side of Camp Knowe, a hill crowned by an old hill-fort. The way crosses a minor road junction, continuing round and up the hill. The track eventually peters out before passing under a power-line, and becomes a farm trackway, passing the strangely named copses of Deadwife's Grave and the farm at Easter Housebyres, before following a field track towards a large plantation. Before it reaches the plantation, the Way turns abruptly left (northwest) at the head of a gully (NT 545380), continuing along the side of a fieldwall until it reaches a farm road at about NT 540386. The farm road becomes a minor road and continues for about three miles northwards, crossing two junctions, passing a farm called Bluecairn just before the second junction. Finally, about two-thirds of a mile beyond the second junction, the Way turns left (northwest) off the road just past Fordswell Farm, and passes into the west side of a small copse.

This ends the road part of this section.

Fordswell to Lauder:
The Way follows the right side of the wood and field boundary from the copse, under a power-line and past a sometimes-noisy rookery in more woodlands. The line is straight for almost two miles, leaving a linear section of scrub and woodland to the right for almost a mile. A road is crossed, the Way following the same general line until the steep scarp overlooking Lauder is reached. The Way then swings sharply to the right (northeast) onto a path along the top of the escarpment, passing a disused quarry and a patch of woodland, before passing along the side of Lauder Golf Course and past the hill-fort at Chester Hill. The next feature is an extensive cemetery overlooking Lauder, before reaching a road beside a workshop at NT 530472. Turning left downhill, it is a short walk down into Lauder.

Two Points:
(1) The official route turns right through Factors Park road to the Police Station on the main road. Instead, continue down the road to visit the centre of town to pick up supplies, to find refreshment, or to look at the old Tollbooth. Lauder has a number of interesting attractions, so a pause here may be recommended.

(2) Lauder is the last shopping centre with a Post Office before reaching Cockburnspath at the end of the route.