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19. Hownam

start: Hownam, Jedburgh
distance: 14 miles
OS map: 80

Hownam route mapA strenuous route which involves a fierce uphill push. The rewards, however, are considerable. Reaches a maximum height of 561m and takes in a stretch of the Pennine Way running along the England/Scotland border.

Hownam is a small village in the northern foothills of the Cheviots and can be reached easily enough from Jedburgh, to the west, or from Kelso, to the north. Cars can be left at (780 188) just out of the village. The hills and valleys in this area are quiet and unspoilt by tourism. The upland part of this route can be vulnerable to damage and it makes sense to wait for a spell of dry weather.

Take the road, then track as it follows Heatherhope Burn to a small reservoir at (810 166). You'll see the track straight ahead going up the steep hillside. This is a real slog; it's a height gain of about 230m to the first summit at 479m. The views from here, though, are fine and there's more to come. Follow the track and fence SE. This is now part of a Roman road called The Street. It meets the Pennine Way and there's a 'crossroads' and signpost at (835 150). The Street goes on into Coquetdale but we turn R for Mozie Law. More pushing for a short distance but more fine views in all directions to compensate.

Considerable stretches of the Pennine Way up here have been 'paved' with natural flagstones. These sections really make the trip worthwhile and are great fun. Beefstand Hill is the highest point on the route at 561m. It's a breeze now to Lamb Hill at 511m. No more flagstones now but it's downhilll to the Yearning Saddle mountain refuge. Sign the visitors' book inside if you wish.

You might want to push further along the ridge to Blackhall Hill and take the track down to Towford. There are no paved sections, though, and this could be hard work on a soft surface. Our route crosses the stile by the hut and follows the track W then NW aiming for the farm at Buchtrig (775 142). Take the tarred road now up and over to the 'main' road and turn R for Hownam.

jb, galashiels

Download GPS data in GPX format.

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