Now as anyone knows Scotland is always sunny. Right? It has been a few weeks of unprecedented heat which means lots of early starts to try to avoid the heat and picking as many shady routes as possible. Jedburgh and the circular (sort of) riding route, not as long as Hawick but it packs a lot in.
While we were checking the route, as with a lot of other towns in the Scottish Borders at this time of year the street were dressed in there finery ready to welcome the riders for the traditional Common Ridings. In Jedburgh it is the turn of the Callants, a slightly younger festival than some in the borders but no less spectacular.
The route is well signed and with a large free car park in the centre of town, it is a great day ride or links into the Cheviot rides or Hawick. It is split into two, the East section at 8 miles and the West at 5 miles. The West can be extended slightly with a short diversion up to Timpendean Tower. The tower is a ruin but the view leading to it is worth it, it packs in a lot of history. From left to right is Fatlips castle (Minto Castle) where one of the most notorious Reiving families in the Borders were based, the Turnbulls, to the centre is the ever-present Eildon Hills with their Arthurian mysteries, then the Monteath mausoleum, Lillards Edge and to the right is the Waterloo monument Peniel Heugh. The tower itself is a scheduled monument owned by the powerful Clan Douglas (Black Douglas the man who carried the Bruces heart to the Holy land). All this in one small viewpoint, imagine what else you find in the Scottish Borders…
The Eastern route goes back to Roman times with a trip to Dere Street the main Roman road that runs from York to Edinburgh, hack through quiet woods, field edges and onto the Roman road before returning to Jedburgh.
That is what is called an ‘experience’, the tourist industry buzzword for 2018, travellers want experiences not just holidays, something us horse riders have known for years! I think its safe to say no matter where you ride in the Scottish Borders you will have an ‘experience’ whether that is the vast history associated with the area, the stunning never ending rolling hills and hidden valleys or the wide range of fantastic local food, arts there really is something for everyone.