We’re very excited about the launch this week of the programme for the 2017 Scottish Borders Walking Festival, which this year we are delighted to say will focus on the wonderfully varied walking found around Peebles and the wider Tweed Valley.
Now in its 23rd year, it is Scotland’s longest established walking festival, and one of the biggest all-abilities events of its kind in the UK. Overseen by Scottish Borders Council, the festival moves around the area on an annual basis, with the programme of events organised each year by different Borders’ communities.
This year’s festival, which runs from 3-9 September, has some real treats in store. Walkers can choose from a range of routes from easy to strenuous that between them explore the many natural riches of the area. From gentle riverside strolls to serious treks into high hill ground, including a variety of Donalds (hills above 2,000ft), there is something for everyone. Many of the routes make use of the ancient drove roads that criss-cross the hills in these parts.
The bulk of the walks depart from Peebles, exploring local gems such as Glensax, Gypsy Glen, Cademuir and the John Buchan Way, although the festival also steps further afield to include routes by Drumelzier, Stobo, Tweedsmuir, Eddleston, Clovenfords, plus sections of the Southern Upland Way.
This year’s festival is crammed full of tempting options, but here are three of our favourites in ascending order of difficulty:
- Tweed Valley Railway Path, Glentress Circular & Janet’s Brae (6.5 miles/10.5kms). A delightful riverside and forest walk with plenty of historical and cultural interest
- Cademuir Hill Circular and River Tweed (10 miles/16kms). Wildlife, history and stunning views
- The Glensax Horseshoe via Dun Rig and Glenrath Heights (15.5 miles/25kms). An exhilarating, full-day expedition that includes three Donalds.
All walks are led by the likes of Tweeddale Ramblers, Biggar Ramblers, council rangers and the Innerleithen Walking Group, so there will be plenty of local knowledge shared along the way. Look out too for an accompanying programme of evening social events – an ideal way to round off a great day on the hill!
The Tesco Bank Tour O’ the Borders, a closed road sportive event starting and finishing in Peebles, will be held on Sunday 3 Sept, which means there will be some pressure on accommodation around the opening weekend of the festival. So, best book early!
For further details, visit Scottish Borders Walking Festival
Photography: On the John Buchan Way, Rich Rowe