start: Lilliesleaf, Selkirk
Not for the faint-hearted. Takes in a couple of fords, a fairly strenuous overland section and - if you've the bottle for it - a ride along the top of a narrow stone wall.
Start in Lilliesleaf. There's a small parking/picnic area down by the river. To find it, go E along the main street, you'll pass a Post Office on the L and shortly after that, there's a track leading N towards the river.
Cross the ford (footbridge if necessary) and follow the track, bearing R, to a crossroads at Toftbarns. Turn L for Midlem, passing through it to reach the main Selkirk-Boswells road.
Turn R then L, pass a small loch on the L and, where the road goes L for Selkirk, bear R for Lindean. Just a short distance down here, past some trees on the R, a track leads NE along the edge of a field and up towards the skyline. This section is quite hard work but will eventually lead downhill to a barn on the R then up again and down to Cauldshiels Loch. Our route goes on past the W end of the loch but you might want to take a brief detour to look round it.
Past Cauldshiels Loch, then, down to a farm at a R hand bend. Follow this which turns into a surfaced road now, heading generally E, until you emerge at the hospital entrance on the Melrose bypass. The section from the TV mast to here can be avoided by going on down to the A7 and then taking the B6360 to Abbotsford and turning R for Melrose.
At the turn-off for the hospital, there's an underpass. Go through it and continue N through Darnick to reach the 'main' road into Melrose. Turn R and you'll go past the big Waverley Castle Hotel on your L. The road goes into open country for a while and swings slightly to the R. Pass a rugby pitch and then you're looking for a turning on the L signed as a dead end. Follow it and, in fact, you join the Southern Upland Way on a path which heads slightly upwards along the S bank of the Tweed to then go down some steps to a small picnic area at 'the weir', as it's known. The path continues towards the 'chain bridge' - a suspension bridge over the river.
The path turns into a road here. Stay on the road and, a couple of hundred yards from the bridge, look for a small triangular field on the L. At the end of the field is a wooden gate leading through to a metal gate on top of a raised banking. Follow the trail along this banking until it reaches the start of the stone wall. The path runs along the top of the wall - it's never really more than two feet wide and goes on for about 150 yards or so. If your nerves can cope then go for it, otherwise you'll need to carry the bike. In wet weather this route can be slippy so you have been warned.
The trail continues along the river to a concrete and steel footbridge over a small stream. In a dry season it is possible to continue along the bank of the Tweed but our route heads into the village of Newstead now. Turn L up the main street and at the end of the village don't go onto the bypass but take the old road towards Leaderfoot Viaduct crossing the Tweed on the old road bridge just below it.
Turn R, passing under the A68, heading for Kelso. Up a steepish hill and you're looking for a turning on the R signed for 'Scott's View'. It's a fair haul to get there, but do pause at the top to admire it - the mood changes depending on the weather and lighting. Onwards from here and we're aiming for Wallace's Statue, also perched above the Tweed. Follow the road but you're looking for a track on the R at (595 329) which leads to the statue. From the statue, follow the track steeply down to Dryburgh. At the bottom, turn R and head towards the supension bridge. Note the 'Temple' on top of a small hill. Cross the bridge and head uphill towards Newtown.
When you reach the bypass (not shown on older maps) cross it, bearing R, into Newtown. Just over a slight rise there's a L turn signed for Whitelee. At Whitelee the road goes L to meet the main A699. Straight across and then a R turn for Lilliesleaf passing Northfield to join the B6359 further on. As a bit of a detour you can take a track at some cottages (548 273) which goes to Bewlie via another ford. Turn R and follow the road back into Lilliesleaf.
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