Scottish Borders Walks
Date: 11th August 2012
Distance: 5.3 miles
Ascent: 1565 feet
Time: 2 hours 35 mins
With: On my own
Start Grid Ref: NT277743
A short but rollercoaster route over the three tops of the Eildon Hills.
Route Summary: Melrose - Eildon Mid Hill - Eildon Wester Hill - Eildon North Hill - Rhymer's Stone - Newstead - Priorswalk - Melrose
1. The Eildon Hills from Gibson Park
2. Looking back down to Melrose
3. Approaching Eildon Mid Hill
4. Looking to Eildon North Hill on the climb up Mid Hill
5. The top of Eildon Mid Hill
6. On Mid Hill
7. Eildon Wester Hill
8. On Wester Hill looking to Bowden
9. The top of Eildon North Hill
10. The Rhymer Stone
11. Eildon North Hill from near the Rhymer Stone
12. Melrose Abbey looking rather spooky in the fading light
Walk Detail: The Eildons first came to my attention a year ago when my wife and I climbed up on to White Law at the northern end of the Cheviots. We enjoyed a day of great visibility and looking westwards to the hills of the Southern Uplands I was struck by the outline of a small hill range that I later discovered to be the Eildons. When a few months later we decided to book a holiday this year in the Borders the small town of Melrose, below the Eildon Hills, seemed the perfect location.
So it was that straight after dinner of the day we arrived in Melrose I set off straight from our holiday accommodation to climb the Eildons. My impatience to get up on to the hills was partly due to the fact that the forecast for the week was fairly poor and partly because I'd not been up a decent hill for over two months.
Although relatively small in stature (Mid Hill the highest is only a modest 422m in height) the Eildons manage to see and feel much higher and dominate the views south from Melrose. The climb up out of the town to the col between Mid Hill and North Hill was straightforward. From the col the top of Mid Hill was attained via a steep rocky path. From the front door of our accommodation it only took 45 mins to get to the top.
Although the views of the countryside immediately surrounding the Eildons were impressive the longer distance views were obscured by cloud and haze. This was slightly disappointing but I was enjoying the airy feeling and the purpling heather too much to really be too bothered about the weather. From Mid Hill I descended west before taking a steep scree run to gain the gentler path on to Wester Hill. The lowest of the three hills Wester Hill nevertheless had a good view of Bowden and the patchwork fields to the south.
From Wester Hill it was a simple walk around the flanks of Mid Hill back to the main col and then a short walk on to North Hill. The grassy summit area is supposed to feature the remains of numerous hut circles but, apart from the summit cairn, the only thing I could see in profusion was sheep poo. A steep descent from North Hill took me to a minor road where I made a short diversion to view the Rhymer's Stone which marks the spot where legend has it that Thomas the Rhymer met the Queen of the Fairies.
Leaving the Rhymer's Stone I dropped down to Newstead from where I followed an old monastic route called the Priorswalk back into Melrose. Along the way I got my first close up view of the magnificent remains of Melrose Abbey which looked quite spooky in the fading light. This was a fine little walk and the Eildons did not disappoint. Indeed I returned a few days later in the company of my step-father.