Call me old fashioned but I like to have a hard copy of my walking route with me, when I’m out on the hills. There’s something very comforting about knowing you have the map with you – though I am not a great map reader. But I do like books with walking routes, anecdotes, history, culture and what birds, wildlife and plants to look out for. I like to know what I’m looking at and I love history and anything about trees. So here’s my top 5 walking guides on the walks you can take around the Scottish Borders and into Northumbria, Dumfries & Galloway and a bit of East Lothian. Gear up for one of the longer walks, a town trail or a walk to a folly (of which we have a few in the Borders), but most of all get out in the fresh air and just walk. This is a marvellous time to be outside as nature feels the warmth of the first sun of the year.
The Tweed 25 Walks from Source to Sea £6.99, K R Fergus, POCKET MOUNTAINS
I love this series of pocket sized books – the design, maps, photographs and description of walks are excellent. I’ve given many of the series as presents – its an easy way to explain to friends and family the delights of an area. Have a look at their website for a wide range of pocket sized books covering Scotland and Northumberland.
St Cuthberts Way (24 Short Walks) £9.99
24 walks from 1-8 miles long based on St Cuthbert’s Way, published by the local partnership of councils, Northumberland National Park, Northumberland Coast and the EU supporting the development of St Cuthberts Way.
This book has been designed to encourage people to walk the St Cuthberts Way through short walks. It showcases some of the best of the long distance walking route and offers the opportunities to explore the surrounding countryside, historic sites and other features of interest. The guide has detailed route descriptions, maps and, essential information such as parking, public transport and refreshments. the profits form the sale of the guide book will be reinvested in the future maintenance of St Cuthberts Way. I like that it’s ring bound making it easy it keep your page open without destroying the guide.
Paths Around £2, Scottish Borders Council
Scottish Borders Council produces a great series of small guides for walking, cycling and horse riding, which you can buy locally in visitor centres and other places, for £2 or download for free I would highly recommend these for any visit to the Borders if you are interested in exploring the many towns and villages
The Border Country: a walkers guide £8.95, Alan Hall, CICERONE GUIDES
Covering the border hills, northern Northumberland and the Southern Uplands, this guidebook offers a broad selection of around 50 day routes, as well as outlining a number of long-distance trails which cross the region.
Walking in the Southern Uplands: The best hill days in Southern Scotland £14.95, By Ronald Turnbull, CICERONE GUIDES
The Southern Uplands are almost as big as the Pennines. It is wild hill country with over 80 hills of more than 2000ft (600m) or more and has a really remote feeling. This guide has 44 exciting and challenging hill routes, ranging from good paths, to the pathless and the rugged. The highlights are Hart Fell and the Devils Beef Tub, Cheviot and the Border Ridge and the Tweed.
Cicerone publish many other books and maps for walkers and cyclists. Have a look at their website and enter Scottish Borders as the search term and they’ll appear. Until 30th June 2016 Cicerone are offering 25% off orders of printed guides and free postage.
Support Your Local Bookshop
You can buy all of these books locally in the Borders and I would encourage you to do so (and here’s our post about bookshops in the Borders) or online from the publishers.
Everyone has the right to be on most land and inland water in Scotland providing they act responsibly. Your access rights and responsibilities are explained fully in the Scottish Outdoor Access Code. The key things to do are:
- take responsibility for your own actions
- respect the interests of other people
- care for the environment.