• A beautiful section of the River Tweed. Photo Mike Wasling
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  • The Northern Trek joins Saint Cuthbert's Way to follow the river Tweed. Photo Mike Wasling
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  • A painting of Dryburgh Abbey, which was taken in the newly refurbished National Gallery in Edinburgh
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  • On the River Tweed with the Three Brethren in the background
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  • Crossing the iron bridge over the Tweed with the Temple on Bass Hill above
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  • The Leaderfoot Viaduct is well worth the very short detour
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  • Those lambs were making a lot of noise. A wonderful start to the days walking with Mike
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  • Bridge on the Tweed, Bowden
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  • The amazing three cairn summit at Yair Hill - believed to be 400 years old
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  • Mountain bikers with engines. We had a wonderful chat with this husband and wife biking team
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  • Following the Cross Borders Drove Road heading towards Peebles
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  • Walking along the Old Drove Road and looking north down into the Tweed valley
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  • On the outskirts of Peebles. Passing Kirkhope Law, Kailzie Hill and Craig Head. A stunning day
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  • Crossing the river into Peebles. A welcome sight after a long days walk
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  • The night before. Studying my route for the next days walking. But this time I was unsure which route to follow
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  • The first climb from West Linton into the Pentlands
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  • The summit ridge looking back to Monk's Rig, West Kip and East Kip from Scald Law
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  • Happy Days. With Mike on the Pentland Ridge. Surely one of the best ridge walks in the UK
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  • Ken on the summit of Scald Law, the highest point in the Pentlands
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  • Carnethy Hill and Loganlee Reservoir below
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  • Crossing the Glen near Flotterstone Bridge. Before climbing back up to the ridge and Allermuir Hill
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  • Reaching Swanston, our end point for the day
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  • Arthur's Seat from the outskirts of Edinburgh. It has a look of Capetown in South Africa
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  • The volcanic outcrop of Salisbury Crags. Edinburgh
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  • On the summit cairn of Arthur's Seat with my wife, on my birthday in December
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  • A wide shot from Arthur's Seat. The Pentland Hills are in the background
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  • Winter sunset at the top of Arthur's Seat
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  • View from Calton Hill of Arthur's Seat, and Salisbury Crags. The white marquee is Dynamic Earth, which is worth a visit
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  • The Edinburgh skyline from the lower slopes of Arthur's Seat
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  • Sunset on Salisbury Crags - a geologists dream project
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  • Perhaps the best view of Edinburgh. From Calton Hill. A UNESCO World Heritage Site
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  • Edinburgh - I just love the place. Its got it all for me
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  • The National Monument - a tribute to the fallen soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars. But it was never finished due to lack of funds
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  • The Scottish Parliament Building where decisions are made. As a piece of architecture you will either love it - or hate it. I love it
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  • Waverley Station - the end point for Section 4 of the Northern Trek
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Section 4 - The Neck
Kirk Yetholm to Edinburgh

This section sets off from the end of The Pennine Way - in Kirk Yetholm. Over good footpaths heading west along St Cuthbert's Way which we follow for a couple of days to Melrose where it then joins the Southern Uplands Way. Easy to follow routes navigate the banks of the beautiful and tranquil River Teviot and later the River Tweed.

Dryburgh Abbey Hotel is a good place to stay, with the wonderful 12th century Abbey close by. The Northern Trek climbs between two volcano-like hills known as the Eildon Hills - a third hill is just off in the distance. These hills are the great landmarks of the Pentlands. The middle hill is reputed to be a prehistoric burial ground. Mike and I chose to climb Eidon Mid Hill 422ft (128m) which has a stunning view from its cairn.

Three spectacular bridges cross the river Tweed in Dryburgh, and they are well worth the short diversion - Dryrange Old Bridge, Leaderfoot viaduct and the modern road bridge.

Our trek joins the Southern Upland Way, which crosses moorland and forest with occasional and regular breathtaking views of the River Tweed. We climb to the summit of Yair Hill with its three wonderful stone cairns, ‘The Three Brethren’, which are believed to date from the 16th century. We were surprised to meet a mountain biker from Sheffield at the very top. Cycling on the tops, and towing behind her a baby in a mini trailer. It turned out she was one of the trainers for the British Cycling team, so we asked no more questions.

Peebles is a great place to stay. Lots of pubs, restaurants and places to eat. I returned to the same hotel, The Tontine Hotel several months later to further explore the hills here. It’s a good base to explore neighbouring countryside and indeed to reach Edinburgh. The River Tweed runs through its heart, as a centrepiece to this wonderful and quiet market town. It runs slow and wide here, and is well known as one of Europe’s ‘great’ salmon rivers. The river surpassed my expectations and it is without doubt one of my favourite rivers anywhere in the UK.

We passed many backpackers going south through The Pentlands, on the Southern Upland Way - hikers from Holland, Austria, France and the USA. Most carrying huge rucksacks with all their provisions. All keen to share their experiences. 

During our overnite in Peebles, I was still very unsure about the final route into Edinburgh. I had looked at my maps several times and decided to delay my decision until I could see the hills and features in person. We also had a few good chats with locals who knew the fells better than us. The weather was good on the day, and we could see the fell tops, so we decided to go right over the tops and take in all of the ridge summits of the Pentland Hills.

Climbing Monk's Rig, West Kip, Scald Law at 1889ft (579m) the highest point, Carnethy Hill, White Craig Heads and Turnhouse Hill. Then the path drops down into Glencorse Reservoir and then back up to the top of the final summit at Allermuir Hill - and eventually the wonderful view to Edinburgh.

To our surprise a new footpath had recently been added and was well signposted (2023). The Pentland Way had sprung up, which made our route much easier to follow. My worries about navigating the 'tops' were unfounded.

The sun was shining and we had perfect weather. Views were magnificent. From the final Pentland fell we could see Edinburgh in its full glory. The route over the Pentlands is certainly one of my favourite ridge walks. Easy to follow and with spectacular views - as good as anything in the Lake District.

At the end of a long day, I was glad to climb into a hot bath, and later have a pint and a wonderful evening meal. We had a full Scottish breakfast the next morning, and a large bowl of porridge with honey to help us on our way. 

We walk with enthusiasm towards Edinburgh from the South side, over Blackford Hill with spectacular views towards Edinburgh. The Northern Trek passes the Royal Observatory, down through the grounds of Craigmillar Castle before it reaches the steep but quick ascent of Arthur’s Seat, 822 ft (250m) with the magnificent capital below. From the summit cairn, on top of this 300 million year old volcano, there are superb panoramic views back to the Pentlands, The Firth of Forth, and Edinburgh with both Old and New Towns clearly in view. Iconic buildings everywhere to see, Edinburgh Castle, The National Art Gallery, The Scottish Parliament building, The Royal Palace, and the remarkable monuments on Calton Hill. Stunning architecture spanning the ages on all sides.

The route drops down into the city passing under the great cliff of Salisbury Crags and onto the cobbled streets and we reach our end point for section 5 at Waverley Station.

97 miles
15,671 feet of ascent

Section Videos

97 mile 'fly through' of Section 4. From Kirk Yetholm through The Borders, over The Pentlands and into Edinburgh

A shorter 'fly through' over The Pentland Hills to the outskirts of Edinburgh

Map ref

OS Explorer: OL16, 339, 338, 337, 344

time to complete

6-8 Days

Route Downloads

Downloadable route files in .gpx format for use on your GPS device or to use in your digital mapping software

Elevation profile: Kirk Yetholm to Edinburgh