Borders Abbey Way waymarker

Borders Abbey Way: Ashkirk to Jedburgh

Day 3 started out as a drizzly morning, but neither Teddy or I are put off by a bit of rain or mud, so we were very cheerful as we got off the bus at Ashkirk and picked up the route, knowing that we were over half way. You can read up on day 1 here and day 2 here. The weather cleared as we crossed from the Ettrick valley and into Teviotdale and there was enough time to admire the young pine cones. As we went downhill into Hawick it really became quite pleasant and after a loo stop at the supermarket, we set off along a very good tarmac path through Wilton Park where we found a bench in the sun and enjoyed a mid-morning snack.

The Great Escape From Hawick

The park was well used and we commented how good it would be for a parkrun. Although the route marker had appeared to send us this way, the path was soon cordoned off for repairs. I knew we needed to follow the River Teviot downstream from Hawick, so we dropped down hill from the park to a road through an industrial estate, which was also impassable due to flood works. With no apparent path along the river, we went into the recycling area and asked where the path was. We were directed up an apparent temporary path and so, on the third attempt, we finally manage to escape Hawick via a lovely single track path along the riverside. The sun came out and we actually dropped a layer of clothes. The river banks were full of spring flowers and there was plenty of birdlife as we thoroughly enjoyed this pretty part of the route.

We had run quite a bit and when we got to a small bridge just west of the village of Denholm and we were feeling quite warm -  I even considered a swim. In Scotland they say that if you don’t like the weather, wait for 10 minutes. The same goes if you DO like the weather. Within 10 minutes the heavens had opened. For a while we stood under a tree for shelter, but as the drips started pouring through, we decided we would have to go for it and donned our waterproofs. The rain was torrential. We were back on a road by this time and, although the rain eased off, the road was flooded, so we had to wade. The official route by the river had a diversion on it, so we had to go a little bit further on the road before arriving at our lunch time destination of Denholm. It was the day of the King’s Coronation, so the pretty village green was all set up for some sort of a fete, although everything was damp. We were dripping as we arrived at Cream Puff coffee shop and it was clear that several other people were taking advantage of the extra bank holiday to be out and about. The café was full of bedraggled walkers and cyclists and somewhat of a rapport developed between us. Hot soup under our belts we set off for the last 5 miles of the day in high spirits and sunshine.

The Thunder Clouds Rolled In

This section is the only bit of the walk that has a relatively high hill to cross up from Bedrule and over into Jedburgh. It was an enjoyable pull out of Denholm and then around the edge of the impressive Rubeslaw Hill. Then more heavy rain started. We started looking for a bit of shelter so that we could get our waterproofs on without getting the contents of our rucksacks wet. We never found a shelter and by the time we had reached the pretty village of Bedrule the rain had stopped again - as we knew there was more climbing we didn't pull out the waterproofs as we didn't want to overheat. This turned out to be a big mistake! The track went up the hill and along the edge of a woodland, we were thoroughly enjoying the climb, even if we were a bit out of breath.

Then the heavens REALLY opened as the thunder clouds rolled in.  Luckily the route at this point is exceptionally well marked, so I didn’t need to get the map out in the deluge. The rain made the path turn into a stream of mud, as we went over the hill top and turned downhill it was really miserable and we couldn’t keep on our feet – I managed to slip over in what was an apparently very elegant fall. We were soaked through and our footwear was certainly not suitable for this soggy terrain. We were wearing road running shoes for our adventure and, as I commented afterwards, these were perfectly fine for 60 of the 62 miles of the route. They were certainly not suitable for this 2 mile descent into Jedburgh. It was miserable. Teddy couldn’t see through her glasses and both of us were moving very gingerly. This stretch of the path would be stunning on a nice day, because once you get off the hill you wind along tree-lined paths into Jedburgh and we have both said we would like to return and do this part again in the sun. We were very relieved to get to Jedburgh and take off our sodden clothes at our accommodation for the night, The Spread Eagle Hotel. Because we hadn’t opened our rucksacks to get our waterproofs our change of clothes to go out in remained dry.

With all our walking gear draping the radiators we headed out for our evening meal at Stewarts Bistro, which has sadly now closed. It was another very good meal  - I have to say that the high standard of food on our walk was quite a revelation. Although it was just around the corner, the rain meant we got drenched again. Our hotel room therefore has all our belongings drying and as such became more like a sauna! I for one did not have a good night's sleep.

Teddy and Sam in Wilton Park
Making the most of a sunny spot
pine cones
Splash of colour from these pine cones
River Teviot between Hawick and Jedburgh
A very pretty path by the River Teviot
flooded path near Denholm
Time to wade through the flood
Path up to Rubeslaw
Skirting around Rubeslaw





Distance: 16 miles

Terrain: Single track

Difficulty: moderate

Date Walked: 6th May 2023










Red Campion