Cory Linn and the 3 Brethren
About This Route
Ride to the historic 3 Brethren Cairns and enjoy commanding views across the Borders. Here you will see the plaque with the names of all the Principles of the Selkirk Common Ridings for years gone by.
It can be busy up here on a clear day and the Southern Upland Way runs along the top so beware of walkers and cyclist. The car park is ‘snug’ and you won’t know until you get up the track whether you can get parked so it is perhaps best to park at the Selkirk leisure centre half a mile up the road where there is ample parking more suited to lorries and trailers.
If leaving from the leisure centre, leave the car park and turn right and right again at the T junction. Pass the rugby club and take the Moffat road looking for the track 1st right 300 meters up the road, this takes you to the Corby Linn carpark.
- Leave the car park and follow the rough track up to the left towards the Corbie Linn. (Corbie is a Scots word for a crow and linn is a waterfall.) Continue on this track between plantations of Scots pine, larch, Sitka spruce and Douglas fir. The Douglas fir is grown for its timber, known in the construction industry as Columbian or Oregon pine. The foliage has a distinctive lemony smell when crushed. Both red and grey squirrels live in the trees. After about 1km you come to a junction of tracks.
- Pass through the gate on the right of the reservoir onto open ground with heather-clad hills; shortly after the reservoir, there is circular dry-stone enclosure known as a stell. Follow the track as it winds uphill with the Long Philip Burn on the left and PeatLaw on the right. On rounding the side of the hill, the three stone pillars or cairns, known as the Three Brethren can be seen on the skyline ahead.
- As you ascend the main track swings to the right follow this to the gate at the forest tree line and go through turning left up the hill to the cairns.
- At the cairns you will see the Minchmoor drove road (now part of the Southern Upland Way) clearly disappearing West towards Peebles, you can also see the many tracks to the North in Yair forest which can easily extend this ride to include the forest before heading back down to Selkirk.
The Three Brethren cairns mark the boundaries of the estates of Buccleuch, Yair and Selkirk Burgh at a height of 465m. They are visited by riders during the Selkirk Common Riding in June each year. The first cairn was built by Alexander Pringle, Laird of Yair and Whytbank Tower in 1512. However, one cairn was considered to be insufficient and another two were built at a later date. We do know that the hill is named as the Three Brethren on General Roy’s military maps from the mid 1700’s.
On leaving the summit head retrace your steps back to the gate. It is worth looking out for Goshawks at the forest. These large hawks are increasing in numbers as coniferous plantations mature. They feed mainly on smaller birds and mammals, including squirrels.
- Back through the gate the track swings to the left leading along the north side of Peat Law. Follow the track up to the brow of the hill and walk down onto the saddle between Peat Law and Linglie Hill. At the lowest point of the saddle veers right downhill to the Linglie Glen and join the track below.
- Turn left along this track and, after passing through a gate, follow the line of the wall on the right. Go through another gate and continue to follow the wall on the right until a hunt gate is reached in the wall. Pass through a gate, turn left, and follow the edge of the field as the route proceeds uphill, with the plantation on the left. Follow the slope up to the right to reach a gate on your left.
- Go through the gate in between the trees which leads you onto a track. Follow the track as it goes downhill and take time to look to the left for splendid views of Selkirk.
- At the bottom of the hill, at the junction of tracks, you rejoin the Corbie Linn track. Turn left here, walk downhill and return to the car park. (Or retrace steps to the leisure centre)
Cockburnspath, Abbey St Bathans