A circular, full-day mountain (above 600m) walk in Scotland starting at Kirk Yetholm, Roxburghshire, about 33km (roughly 21 miles) long and unsuitable for families with children, prams/pushchairs, wheelchairs. The Cheviots Hills are the main attraction of the Northumberland National Park. They are as wild and remote as walking gets in England, and all the better for it. A walk to the highest point, The Cheviot, from Kirk Yetholm is a long but rewarding day out. Much of the route follows the Pennine Way, which is a badge of honour for any walk. Kirk Yetholm, across the border in Scotland has regular buses from the surrounding towns, and plenty of accommodation including a Youth Hostel. Start: Kirk Yetholm, OS Grid: NT825283 Elevation Profile (x: waypoint number, y: metres)
Gain (+/- 10%): 1514m (4970ft)
Total (+/- 10%): 3013m (9886ft)
Loss (+/- 10%): 1498m (4916ft)
Max. Elevation: 820m (2690ft)
Start from the town of Kirk Yetholm. Given the length of this walk, you may want to stay the night before to get an early start. It's a pleasant little town, so worth making a weekend of it! The start is easy to find - pick up the Pennine Way heading south.
A short way from Kirk Yetholm, the Pennine Way splits in two for a short section. The left-hand fork takes you over White Law, a small hill on the edge of the Cheviots. The right-hand fork takes a lower-level route past Halterburn. It's a great start to the walk either way.
The Pennine Way rejoins itself just beneath Black Hag, and, if you avoided White Law, it's the first major climb of the day - The Schil. The summit is uncommon for the Cheviots, with rocky outcrops - perfect for the first cup of tea of the day. For a shorter day out, you can turn back from here.
Continue south from The Schil along the Pennine Way. Pass the Mountain Refuge Hut and begin the long climb up to Cairn Hill.
Cairn Hill is a just south of The Cheviot, so nearly there! From the summit, stay along the top to The Cheviot.
The summit! 815m of grassy roundness in the middle of nowhere. Perfect. From the summit, continue heading northeast before taking the track heading north (about 600m past the summit cairn).
The land north of The Cheviot is grouse-shooting land, so no descent that way unfortunately. Instead, retrace your steps to Cairn Hill and back via the Pennine Way. It's worth taking a careful peek into the ravine of Hen Hole; you can follow the steep ground south of the ravine into College Valley.
Near the Mountain Refuge hut, take the bridleway heading north through the beautiful College Valley. Drop into the valley via Red Cribs and follow the bridleway north. If you have time, explore the stream coming down from Hen Hole, and the Three Sisters Falls.
This is about as quiet as a valley walk gets - enjoy the silence! The coniferous trees here are slowly being replaced with natural woodland, which will soon make the walk even more special.
Just beyond an old disused quarry, a footpath leave the bridleway heading northwest. This path takes you through the woodland of Sinkside Hill and back to Kirk Yetholm.
The path takes you past the Stob Stanes. These ancient stones are thought to mark the border between Scotland and England (just 200m east), although, as with all these ancient sites, no one really knows, do they.
The footpath soon meets both the Pennine Way and the St Cuthbert's Way. Follow these west back to the town.
Back again, after a very long fay out. Luckily Kirk Yetholm, and nearby Town Yetholm, have a good selection of places to stay and, more importantly, get a drink. It's worth booking ahead for a room, as the town is a regular stop-off on the long distance paths that pass through it.