THE BORDERS

There are four Top 500 Summits in the area (in Scotland unless stated);

1  Broad Law                           2,756ft

2  White Coomb                     2,694ft

3  The Cheviot (England)      2,674ft

4  Hart Fell                               2,651ft

The Borders include the hills lying in the area between Newcastle and Edinburgh (to the east) and Carlisle and Glasgow (to the west). Most of the mountains lie close to the England/Scotland border. Good places to stay when climbing these mountains  include Moffat, Biggar, Peebles, Selkirk, Galashiels, Jedburgh, and Coldstream. The Borders is a lovely area with plenty of history and culture, but often neglected in favour of the Lake District

There are also eleven Grahams (Scottish Mountains between 2,000ft and 2,500ft with a drop of 150 metres,just under 500ft) in the area. The highest of these is Culter Fell (2,455ft) which misses the Top 500 list by a mere 17ft.

Broad Law

Although Broad Law is the highest mountain in the area, it is not the most exciting. It can be ascended from a cattle grid near the Megget Stone, the high point of a minor road which runs from Tweedsmuir east past Talla Reservoir. This gives a starting height of 1,500ft thus there is only 1,250ft of ascent to the summit. A fence can be followed from the Megget Stone to the Trig Point. The return journey is 7km.

The Megget Stone can be seen immediately north of the cattle grid on the minor road between the Talla and Megget Reservoirs. Park at the cattle grid if possible, reference 151203.

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Culter Fell looking towards Broad Law

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Grey Mares Tail, White Coomb

White Coomb

Hart Fell

Perhaps the best of these four Top 500 Summits is White Coomb. White Coomb can be climbed separately or combined with Hart Fell, but it is preferable to have a second car if combining the two mountains. When climbing White Coomb, it is best to park at the National Trust car park (small charge). A good path ascends the mountain on the north east side of the waterfall (The Grey Mare’s Tail) and this should be followed until the path levels off beyond the waterfall.

It is then possible to cross the Tail Burn, head west and follow a wall over Upper Tarnberry to the summit of White Coomb. From the summit of White Coomb, either return the same way or carry on to Hart Fell which is nearly 6km to the west over undulating ground. The height drops to 2,000ft before the final ascent over Hartfell Rig to the summit of Hart Fell. From Hart Fell it is easiest to go south to Swatte Fell before descending south east to Capplegill, the usual start point if climbing Hart Fell separately. If a second car is not available it is a lengthy walk of 6km (4 miles) back to the National Trust car park.

The Cheviot

The Cheviot lies just south of the border in England and is one of only three Top 500 Summits in England outside the Lake District. Despite spending the first 25 years of my life in Newcastle, I found that I had only climbed it once in damp and misty conditions (with no visibility) by the age of 57. So I climbed it again.

Going north it is best to turn off the A1 just north of Morpeth and follow the A697 north. A few miles south of Wooler, after passing through Powburn, turn left off the A697 up the Hope Valley towards Langleeford. Just before Langleeford there is parking next to a bridge. After walking down the road for a further 200m, a path goes off right and leads west up Scald Hill. From Scald Hill follow the path south west to the summit of The Cheviot. I returned the same way, an 11km round trip. One alternative would be to return over Hedgehope Hill. Hedgehope Hill was a ‘Marilyn’ but has now been deleted from the list.

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Cheviot, looking east