The walk starts in Melrose, a small town in the Scottish Borders, and climbs up the adjacent Eildon hills and back.
A moderate 4 mile walk starting from a town centre, and climbing quite steep hills. Melrose has a selection of cafes and pubs.The route involves some walking along town streets, which means you dog must be on a leash for those parts of the walk, at least.
How to get there
Postcode for Satnav - TD6 9PX. This is for the National Trust site opposite the car park. .
The A68 is one of the main routes between England and Scotland. Coming for either direction, North or South, you will see at a roundabout, the A6091 turn off heading west, signposted Melrose and Abbotsford. Take this road and after almost a mile you will see a right hand turn signposted *Melrose' and 'Visitor attractions'. Take this turn and follow the road round into Melrose and through the town centre, taking care at the narrow bit by the Ship Inn. Not far past here you will see a car park on your left..
You can see a map of the route here.
Over the road from the car park you will see a pathway between the Abbey graveyard and a shop. Take this path and after a short distance it crosses the Malthouse burn on a footbridge. Keep to the left after the footbridge until you reach a housing estate. Go through the estate for about 150 yards, and as the estate road turns to the right you will see that pathway going straight on. Follow the path round behind the houses and along until you come to Annay road, by Newstead. Here you should see a path heading up the side of a house, with a tourist notice board at the side. Take this path.
Follow this path to the left, and the find the underpass that takes you under the Melrose bypass. This route should be waymarked and it the goes up a hedged trackway over the fields to an old roadway above. This old road is gated off on your right, but you can take a short diversion to the Rhymer's stone up there if you wish. Otherwise, turn left, then right after about 100 yards onto another trackway leading up to the hills. This path goes between fields, then by a small wood, then emerges in the open space at the hills. Now, follow the path to the right, climb up to the summit of the North hill then enjoy the views from the top.
On the other side you will find a good wide track that takes you down to the saddle between North Hill and Mid Hill. If you wish, you can take another detour here and climd up to the top of Mid hill, the highest of the Eildons, however this climb is quite difficult so care is needed.
From the saddle, go down the hill keeping to the right below the North hill, then follow the pathway down the edge of a couple of fields until you reach Melrose at Dingle Road. This path is part of St. Cuthbert's way and is waymarked (St. Cuthbert's way is featured in other walks on this site, as it starts at Holy Island in Northumberland and ends here at Melrose Abbey). Here you climb a flight of wooden steps to reach the street, then turn right and follow the roadway back up to your car.
The ancient Britons venerated the Eildon hills as a holy place, and worshipped at a number of sacred springs near the base of the hills. You will see the remains of a large hill fort on top of North hill, three lines of ditches and banks around the summit, and also a large number of hut circles, indicating that this was once a major settlement.
Thomas de Ercildoune or Thomas the Rhymer lived in the 13th century at the time of Robert the Bruce and William Wallace. While he was napping under a hawthorn tree, a beautiful woman rode up on a pure white horse. Thomas first thought that she was the virgin Mary, but she identified herself as the Queen of the Faeries. The Queen invited Thomas to go away with her, then gave him three options; the road to hell, the road to heaven or the road to 'Medill-erthe', the land of the faeries. Thomas spent 7 years in the faerie land, although only 3 days passed in his own world.
When he returned to the mortal realm he was given the option of becoming a harper or a prophet, and he chose the second option. He spent seven years back in our world, where he fortold several events that later happened in Scotland. He then returned back to the Faerie land, where he is supposed to live under the Eildon hills and will return again one day.
One of his prophecies was "As long as the Thorn Tree stands, Ercledoune shall keep its lands." The hawthorn tree that he was supposed to have been resting under was blown down by a gale in 1814, and in that year the Earlstone community fell on hard times, and all common land was sold in payment of debts.
The Rhymer's Stone was erected in 1929 by the Melrose Literary Society and marks the spot on which the fabled Eildon Hawthorn Tree once grew.
Poo bins available
Historical buildings near the walk