Book review: Walking the Borders Abbeys Way
A review of Paul Boobyer’s Walking the Borders Abbeys Way, exploring the abbeys of Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh in the Scottish Borders
The 68-mile circular Borders Abbeys way connects the medieval abbeys of Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso and Jedburgh and attracts thousands of walkers every year, who explore the riverside tracks, forest paths and open hills of the Tweed Valley.
Far from being an imposing long-distance route, as Paul Boobyer shows us, the Way can be accessed by everyone, from those wanting a stand-alone day walk to people tackling the full route in stages. The book presents the walk in six stages, each of which averages a manageable eleven miles a day.
The helpful introduction gives an overview of the route and its history, as well as the history of the region (including the Border Reivers) and each of the four abbeys. There are also suggestions for people who would like to coincide their visit with a local festival such as Borders Book Festival or one of the traditions Ridings ceremonies.
The walk is divided into six stages:
- Tweedbank to Newtown St Boswells via Melrose
- Newtown St Boswells to Kelso
- Kelso to Jedburgh
- Jedburgh to Hawick
- Hawick to Selkirk
- Selkirk to Tweedbank
Each section has a route summary, maps, photos and detailed instructions for the section in question. Box outs within the main text draw your attention to historical details and attractions en route. There are also suggestions on places to eat and accommodation.
There are also helpful suggestions about what to see along the way if you decide to take a break from the trail.
Happily, the author has considered those who are exploring the Way using public transport and includes bus and train details for the route, together with bus numbers and operators for the towns covered along the route. There are also further reading suggestions for the history of the Borders regions and the abbeys.
Walking the Borders Abbeys Way by Paul Boobyer is published by Cicerone at £11.95. ISBN 9781852849801.