Riding in the Borders
We want you and your horse to have as enjoyable an experience as possible exploring the South of Scotland, and have done what we can to develop and sign routes which we think you will enjoy. The risks of enjoying SOSCT on horseback are low, but all riders know that unpredictable things can happen, so we would strongly advise you to plan your route and organise yourself carefully in advance. Remember you are responsible for yourself and your horse! The following handy hints may also provide a useful checklist.
- Follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code (www.outdooraccess-scotland.com).
- Respect the privacy, safety and livelihoods of those living or working in the countryside. As such the routes are best ridden between May and October when estate and farm activities such as lambing, shooting and timber felling are minimal.
- Ride slowly past all livestock and leave gates as you find them.
- Avoid riding or cycling grassy paths or unsurfaced high hill routes during wet weather when the surface is easily chewed up. -Look after the places you visit and routes you enjoy: take only memories, leave only hoofprints.
- Always tell someone where you are going, perhaps use a tracking app.
- Wear suitable clothing (High Viz is recommended) Some of these routes are isolated and weather conditions can change dramatically – Be prepared.
- Carry an adequate map & compass (and know how to use it) – See below for map list
- Ensure your horses tack and shoes are in good repair
- Never leave the designated route
- Respect others enjoying the outdoors and always pass pedestrians at a walk, take particular care on narrow paths and those used by people in wheelchairs or with pushchairs.
- Always remove litter and dung from parking areas and avoid blocking others who might want to use the same parking area. It is always advisable to turn your trailer/box when you arrive in case the car park fills up while you are out riding.
- Do not jump hedges, gates, stacks of timber or use other people’s land for repetitive schooling without their permission.
- Leave your dog at home, or have it under very close control, particularly near livestock.
You can download an overview map of the complete SOSCT route network here.Hard copies of the new SOSCT leaflet, including this map at A2 scale, are available from BHS Scotland, Woodburn, Crieff or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The complete SOSCT route network is available online through BHS EMAGIN’s equine mapping system, which you can access by clicking here. Go to “Routes by Region” section, choose Scotland, under which you will find a list of routes, including all of the SOSCT routes. By changing the map type to OS 1:2,500, you will be able to see each individual route precisely mapped at large scale, and at this scale all the routes are shown, so by tracking up/down or east/west you will be able to locate linking routes. If you have any difficulties downloading BHS EMAGIN, please contact BHS at their Stoneleigh HQ.
Ordnance Survey Landranger series 1:50,000 scale
Map no. 72 Upper Clyde Valley
Map no. 73 Peebles, Galashiels and Selkirk
Map no. 74 Kelso and Coldstream
Map no. 78 Nithsdale and Annandale
Map no. 79 Hawick and Eskdale
Map no. 80 Cheviot Hills and Kielder Water
Ordnance Survey Explorer Series 1:25,000 scale
Explorer 321 Nithsdale and Dumfries
Explorer 323 Eskdale and Castle O’er Forest
Eskdale 324 Liddesdale and Kershope Forest
Explorer 330 Moffat and St. Mary’s Loch
Explorer 331 Teviotdale South
Explorer 336 Biggar and Broughton
Explorer 337 Peebles and Innerleithen
Explorer 338 Galashiels, Selkirk and Melrose
Explorer 344 Pentland Hills
Explorer OL16 The Cheviot Hills
Explorer OL42 Kielder Water and Forest
What to take with you
No matter what the season, weather can be very unpredictable, particularly on high ground. Make sure you are prepared for all eventualities.
For riders, a hoof pick, body brush, head collar and lead rope are useful, together with a whistle in case of emergency. Front and/or rear saddlebags are ideal for carrying your mobile phone, a snack, drink, maps, camera etc. Waterproofs can be stashed in a cantle bag or attached to saddle D rings with straps. If you are away riding for a few days, you may like to include a small first aid kit and an emergency equiboot in case your horse loses a shoe.