Walk of the Week: Peniel Heugh and Folly Loch, Harestanes, Borders
AS tributes go, the one on Peniel Heugh is pretty impressive. Its 150ft height on top of a 774ft hill means the Waterloo Monument can be seen from miles around and, for the walker, it makes a great viewpoint across the Borders towards the Cheviots.
It was built to celebrate the Duke of Wellington’s 1815 victory, and without it you probably wouldn’t see people toiling up the hill. The effort is worth it, for this is a quiet corner of lush farmland, rolling hills and big skies.
The loch below the hill is a good place to spot wildfowl and, though you have to walk along a minor road, traffic is infrequent. On top of that, the visitor centre at Harestanes means waymarked routes make the walk easy to follow – green arrows at first, then red ones for the return. n
2½ to 3 hours.
OS Landranger 74.
There is a car park at Harestanes visitor centre. If heading south on the A68, turn left at the Ancrum junction on to the B6400. The visitor centre is about a third of a mile down the road, on the right.
Head away from the visitor centre, along a path to the right of the drive you came in on. At the top of a field the path veers right, through woodland and away from the drive.
Follow the path to a burn, where the usual bridge is broken but a temporary one allows you to cross. Continue in the same direction. At a junction of paths, go left and continue to the drive of Monteviot House, where you turn left again.
Cross a road at the top of the drive and, on the other side, go up another drive. Just before a farmhouse, take a track on the right, then go right again at a junction of tracks.
At a minor road, go right and, after only a few yards, turn left, up a track through trees with a big sign at the bottom listing all kinds of restrictions. Ignore three tracks going off to the right, drop down slightly and then follow a path up to the right, through ferns – at the bottom of this path there is a marker post with a green arrow on it.
Go through a small gate and follow a path beside a fence, with a field on the other side. Go through a second gate and turn right to follow a fence up towards the top, which has a trig point and rather larger monument.
Take time to enjoy the views across the rolling Borders countryside, including the Eildon Hills to the north-west with Folly Loch in the foreground. Just south-east is the Cheviot with, closer to hand, a glimpse of the River Teviot as it makes its way to join the Tweed at Kelso.
Retrace your steps to the minor road – near the large sign. You can retrace your steps all the way back to the start of the route. For a longer walk, taking in more of the tranquil countryside, go right, along the road.
About one mile along the road, go left at a junction to walk past Folly Loch. About three-quarters of a mile past the junction, as the road bends left, look for a stile on the right – but don’t cross it. Instead, go through a gap in a wall on the other side of the road.
Steps lead down to an often muddy path that passes through woodland. After a footbridge, cross a wider path and continue in the same direction. After a second footbridge, keep left to reach a road and cross over. Go through a small gate on the other side and follow a path down past the broken bridge seen earlier.
Keep on the path to retrace your steps to the start of the walk.
The visitor centre has a very good café.
WHILE YOU ARE IN THE AREA The visitor centre is also worth having a look around, allowing you to discover more about the area in general. Alternatively, head south to Jedburgh and the picturesque ruins of its fantastic 12th-century abbey (www.historic-scotland.gov.uk).
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Weather for Edinburgh
Wednesday 19 June 2013
Temperature: 9 C to 18 C
Wind Speed: 16 mph
Wind direction: West
Temperature: 12 C to 20 C
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Wind direction: East