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21. Melrose

start: Melrose
distance: 20 miles
OS map: 73

Melrose route mapStart in the main square and go N past the abbey on your right and a motor museum on your left. Turn left at a bend where the main road goes right and a couple of hundred yards brings you to the 'chain bridge'. Over the bridge and turn L following a path along the river bank - this is part of the Southern Upland Way and should be signposted. At the road turn L and, at the top of a slight rise, R again following the Southern Upland Way. This track can be fairly rough in parts but it's well signed.

We're aiming for a crossroads at Bluecairn (532 423). Go L here and fly down the hill towards another crossroads at Threepwood (507 422). Turn L. Downhill, cross a bridge over a stream and after a couple of hundred metres turn L. This road isn't signposted but it heads upwards for a while then a long downhill stretch to the main A7 at Buckholm. Go L and follow this into Galashiels. Allow me to put in a plug for my local: you'll pass the Ladhope Inn on the R just before you come to the town centre - real ales always on tap.

The aim now is to follow the old railway track back to Melrose. As you come into Galashiels and meet the one-way system you'll see a large brick wall on your left - this is the old railway. Go along the one-way for a few yards and you can cut up to the L to join the cycle route, or Black Path as it's known locally.

Another couple of hundred metres and it stops at a road but go straight on keeping the Abbotsford Hotel to your right to a mini-roundabout. Bear right at the roundabout and pass the ASDA supermarket on your left. You can pick up the old rail track again as it runs alongside the river. This is part of NCR1.

This comes out after afew miles in an industrial estate. Leave NCR1 and turn right onto a road and almost immediately left to reach a large roundabout. Take the pavement/cycle lane on the right to go the 'wrong' way round the roundabout and follow the route towards the Borders Hospital using the cycle path on the R of the main road. At the entrance to the hospital there's an underpass. Go under the main road and turn R as you emerge from it and follow this path which, again, will join up with the disused rail track and, in fact, bring you to the old station in Melrose. There's a ramp leading down to the road and main market square.

jb, galashiels

Download GPS data in GPX format.

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