Hill walk routes to climb in SW Scotland - also coastal paths and National Scenic Areas with maps, pictures and other useful information based on extensive local knowledge
Moffat and West Borders Hills - Introduction
Main Borders Map - List of Borders Pages - Site Homepage
The West Borders Hills area, like the Galloway Hills, is extensive and has several distinct ranges within it, the most popular of these being the Moffat hills where there are some walks which would be hard to beat anywhere for visual interest on a 5/6 hour walk.

The map shown on the right shows the various hill walking areas at the western end of the border hills covered in this site.
- the Culters ("Cooters"),
- the Tweedsmuirs or Manor Hills
- the Ettrick Hills
- the Moffat Hills.
The map covers an area of 26 kilometers from east to west and 29.4 from north to south. The eastern edge of the map is in fact in a line due south from Edinburgh. Compared with the Galloway hills it is worth noticing how much of this map is over 300m (or 1000ft, roughly). Here we do not have distinct high ridge systems separated by deep valleys as in Galloway, but something more like a general moderately high plateau area broken into by the water systems. The water systems are noteworthy here too - with historic names such as Tweed, Annan, Ettrick and even the Clyde showing right up in the north west corner of the map.

Map of West Borders Hills


Click here for a bigger map

The Annan arises at Annanhead immediately above the Devil's Beef Tub and flows south past the town of Moffat and on into the Solway. The source of the Tweed is less than 2 kilometers (a mile) away. It runs NE past Tweedsmuir and ends up on the Scottish/English border at Berwick-on-Tweed. The Ettrick joins it on it's path to the sea.
Another obvious water system on the above map is the humble Moffat Water, running SW from the watershed near Birkhill just SW of Loch of the Lowes to join the Annan below Moffat. Moffatdale, as this valley is called, is not only particularly beautiful but is also an outstanding example of the effects of glaciation with classic hanging valleys on the north side of it.

View of Saddle Yoke from Carrifran Gans
With the Galloway hills it is possible to capture a fair impression of the whole area in a single shot - so open is the prospect from the top of the ridges. Not so in this area - the views are never that extensive. However I have added the picture above just to give a flavour of these hills. It is taken (12-02-01) from Carrifran in the Moffat hills looking over to the "saddle" of Saddle Yoke with Hartfell behind and to the right, and Swatte Fell behind to the left.

The final water system to note is the route through from Tweedsmuir to St Mary's Loch via the Talla and Megget reservoirs. This is a spectacular journey by car and offers a parking place at 452m from which to access the hills for those who like a flying start onto Broad Law which is the second highest hill in the south of Scotland - just 3 meters lower than Merrick - but miles lower than it in spectacle - being a big boring whale back with an air traffic control station on top. Go on to Dollar Law past Cramalt from there and collect 3 hills over 800m in one relatively easy day. And if it is clear enough on Dollar Law you will be able to see Edinburgh Castle, Arthur's Seat, the Firth of Forth and the kingdom of Fife beyond it.
Main Borders Map - List of Borders Pages - Site Homepage