Eildon Hills

By James Carron

The Eildon Hills dominate the landscape of the Tweed Valley. The prominent peaks that rise up above the historic abbey town of Melrose can be seen from miles around and the summits offer panoramas over the gently rolling countryside of the Scottish Borders. Steeped in legend, they have links with the Romans, King Arthur and the novelist Sir Walter Scott.

The walk starts at the public car park opposite the entrance to Melrose Abbey. Head into the town's market place, continue to the Mercat Cross and then follow the B6359 road as it heads up and under the bypass.

Once under the main road, keep an eye out to the left for a flight of steps about 20 yards on. These descend through a gap between two houses and there's a sign for 'Eildon Walk' to keep you right.

At the foot of the steps, a path heads uphill, following the edge of fields, to open moorland above. There are a couple of stiles to cross along the way and as you climb great views open out over Melrose and the surrounding countryside. It's a good vantage point to see the town's famous abbey, the last resting place of Robert the Bruce's heart, if legend is to be believed.

The path continues to climb, up into the pass between the summit of Eildon Hill North, on your left, and Eildon Mid Hill, on the right. Head for this saddle where a well-earned breather can be taken before progressing with the route.

The first top to conquer is Eildon Mid Hill. Turn right and a short but strenuous ascent rises on to the summit, the higher of today's two tops. Near to the summit are the remains of a prehistoric burial cairn.

Retrace your steps back to the saddle, then head straight across, following the path on to the top of Eildon Hill North. On the way up, the way passes remnants of an Iron Age hill fort over to the right. The peak was also utilised by the Romans who built a signal station here to send messages from a base built in the shadow of the Eildon Hills. All that remains of this early telecommunication hub is a circular ditch running around the summit.

Once you've explored the ancient remains, descend back to the saddle and turn left, following a good path south down to the top of mixed woodland. Go left when you reach the trees and follow a track along the edge of the plantation.

In due course, the way forks - take the left branch which climbs gently round the southern slope of Eildon Hill North before descending past Horseshoe Plantation. It continues to lose height, dropping to the top end of a strip of woodland. Follow the edge of the trees down a short way to meet a path on the left.

The path heads north-west, then west hugging the contour of the slope round to rejoin the route of ascent used earlier in the day, at the top of the field. From here, retrace your steps to Melrose.


Distance 6 miles/10km.
Map OS Landranger 1:50,000 sheet
Start/parking Melrose Abbey entrance. GR: NT 547339. There is parking in the centre of Melrose, opposite the abbey.
Grading An energetic climb out of Melrose on to the summits of two low peaks. Track and path throughout. Some sections on the southern side of Eildon Hill

North can be muddy after heavy rain.


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