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  • Writer's pictureJohn

Eildon Hills


Earlier in the summer I completed my journey along the River Tweed and for this blog I decided to return to Melrose just over the border and climb the Eildon Hills.

At the A1 roundabout near East Ord if you then travel along the A 698 towards Norham there is an opportunity to get a glimpse of these three peaks as you approach West Longridge which are located west (ish),north of the Cheviots which are approximately 25 miles away as the crow flies as seen in the photo below.

Legend has it that the Eildons or Eildon Hills were created by the Devil using a spade or that King Arthur and his Knights were in a cavern there waiting for Judgement Day. Thomas the Rhymer and Sir Walter Scott have also covered them in folklore, but one geological explanation of their creation is that they were formed by weathering and erosion from ice and water which left igneous rocks standing proud of the surrounding land.

Turner enjoyed sketching them. See below link for an example.


The Eildons consist of three summits, the highest and the only one with a trig point being Eildon Mid Hill at 422 metres (1385 ft), Eildon North Hill at 404 metres (1325 ft) and Eildon Wester Hill at 371 metres (1217 ft). There is also a forth hill aptly referred to as ‘Little Hill’ at just over 300 metres (985ft). Mid Hill is some way off in height to qualify as a Graham which are between 2000 and 2500 ft. However due to the close proximity of the summits of the hills and the fact that they are steep in places it makes them an enjoyable walk on a clear day.


There are numerous resources online where you can download the walking routes and walk description. I started my walk near the impressive Melrose Abbey and headed away from the town to join St.Cuthbert’s way. There are clear path markers along the way. After climbing for a while you are rewarded with splendid views of the town below. Looking up hill you are now presented with a clear view of Eildon Mid hill.

Looking back at the town of Melrose in Scotland.

The highest Eildon, Mid Hill

The view from the highest summit.

It’s a fairly steep but relatively short climb to the summit where there is the aforementioned trig point and a memorial plaque to Sir Walter Scott. It was a glorious day and the views were exceptional. Looking towards Eildon Wester Hill was a small Lochan that does not appear on OS maps which surprised me as it is a decent enough size.


Now retracing my steps back the main path I continued to the second Eildon, Wester Hill passing the Lochan on the way. It was only a short distance to the summit and a much easier walk. Looking to the left is Little Hill and to the right is North Hill. The heather was still in flower and when the sun shone it highlighted their vibrant purple colour.


I then took the western path to Little Hill and in the distance below is Bowden Moor Reservoir which is a coarse fishing venue. Now taking the path back towards the final Hill near Siller Stane the path navigates through woodland. Fauna and flora in the Eildons can include Willow Warblers, Yellow Hammers, Red Grouse, Buzzards, Frogs, Hares, Rockrose Helianthemum and a number of locally rare mosses. The Scotch Argus Moth can also be seen.

The view from Little Hill.


Now back at the junction in the path I turned right to ascend the final one which is Eildon North Hill.

Below is the view from the summit looking back at the other two hills.


There is a defined path which is stone in places that descends towards Melrose. When you reach the road there is an option to visit the Rhymer Stone that I visited in part 3 of my journey along the Tweed blog.

A track continues back to Melrose. The walk took about 3 hours including stops. There are various running race challenges and online records show a competitor completing the 7.2k distance in under 36 minutes which is impressive!


Bonus Images

When I descended the final hill I noticed a large bridge in the distance and after checking the maps identifying it as Leaderfoot Viaduct. When googling it I discovered it was a film location for the forthcoming Indiana Jones movies. I had travelled via Kelso on the way in so decided to make a detour on the way back.

The viaduct also know as the Drygrange Viaduct is an obsolete railway viaduct about 126ft high which opened in late 1963 and crosses over the River Tweed. The reason I missed it earlier in the year is because Cycle Network 1 takes you south of the river away from the bridge due to the busy A 66 & A 6091. For obvious safety reasons you cannot walk over the viaduct and is protected by sharp fencing.

Further to the west is also the location of the site of Roman Fort called Trimontivm. the road here is closed to traffic and is used for walkers and cyclists.

A viewing platform. The path to the right is a dead end that leads to the start of the viaduct which is completely inaccessible.

Below is a link to the museum.


If you have been redirected from Social Media to this page, please consider checking out the other pages on this site. Clicking on the Castle image on the top left will take you to the homepage and a new 'Search Norham Life' website feature is now available at the top of the page.

A big thank you to Liz Towner for lending me a book on the Hills which was a great resource for this blog.

More Discovery blogs coming soon.....



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Nov 01, 2021

Brilliant description a great walk. You are really inspiring people to get their walking boots on! I like the reference to our friend JMW Turner too.

Thank you John.


Oct 02, 2021

Another great story and photos John. I bet you are glad you decided to live here.

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