- Starts/Ends – Newton Car Park in Melrose
- Total distance – 4.49 miles
- Height Gain – 1484 feet
- Height loss – 1484 feet
- Max Height – 1314 feet
- Min Height – 320 feet
The Eildon Hills lies just to the South of Melrose on the Scottish Borders is an excellent place for a day hike as it comes with a triple peak challenge consisting of Eildon Hill North, Eildon Mid Hill and Eildon Wester Hill. I also like the fact that with this challenge, you can start and finish at the same place, while not covering the same pathway twice.
I would note, the area around the Eildon Peaks is exposed, and therefore you will need a beautiful day to take on all three peaks. We have tried to complete this challenge in the spring, however, there was a ranging gale blowing through the region, and it wasn’t safe to continue given the peak altitude is around 1,385 Ft .
If you feel its blowing too hard on your way up, you can always walk around the peaks as they are more protected given they’re surrounded by a large area of woodland that is home to a selection of wildlife such as roe deer, badgers and foxes.
The Eildon Hills
The Eildon Hills at the Scottish Borders carries a pretty interesting history dating back to the times of ancient Rome when locals used the place for refuge. Back when the Romans were setting camp, they named the Hills Trimontium, which translates to the Three Mountains and all these years later they still sit comfortably displaying their typical profile as they grace the outlines of the small village of Melrose.
Classic folklore says that the great wizard Michael Scott split just the one hill into three using his mystic powers, therefore bestowing the land of Melrose its most unique character. But of course, life is very different today, and these steep hills now provide the best location to take a half-day walk and get in some healthy exercise while checking out gorgeous natural sights.
Melrose is a quiet, peaceful place to visit, and as you walk around the town, you come across centuries of history. For instance, the Melrose Abbey, which now stands in ruins, having seen the seasons come and go since the 12th century when Scotland built the first Cistercian monastery.
The River Tweed fed the lands around it, creating fertile lands which the Cistercian monks of Rievaulx found perfect for settling. This went on for nearly 500 years, with the last generation of monks dying at around 1590. Incidentally, Robert The Bruce’s heart is believed to be buried next to Melrose Abbey.
The Target was to complete all three hills, Eildon Hill North, Eildon Mid Hill and Eildon Wester Hill. While there are a few ways to attack this challenge, it’s best to park in Melrose town centre at either the public parking (Nutwood car park) in Melrose centre, or you can park at the rugby club or the base of the hill.
The route starts by following signs for “St Cuthbert’s Way”, and is marked with a white cross as well as the ‘triple peaks’ logo of the Eildon Hills. The pathway is clearly marked and lead past some gardens, a long flight of wooden steps, before you get into the countryside.
Eildon Hill North
First up on our route was Eildon Hill North at 404 Meters. We took the easterly route up, however, there is a more northern pathway if you want to make the route slightly shorter. The route is not very difficult given there are clear pathways that are easy on the foot. Once you reach nearer the top, you should start to see the fantastic views on the right of Melrose and particularly Melrose Abbey.
A cairn clearly marks the peak of Eildon Hill North with the surrounding land flat, and grassy. This area once was the site of a vast bronze age fort.
From the top of Eildon Hill North to the top of Eildon Mid is a pleasant walk covering around 200 meters of decent and accent. The pathway is clearly marked for all but the last 100 meters which is slightly rocky into the flat the summit.
At 422 Meters, Eildon Mid has the best views out of the three peaks, and because the sides are steep, you also have the depth. The top is marked by a trig point and a view indicator.
Finally Eidlon Wester
There are two options when it comes to the best route from Mid Eildon to Eildon Wester. The more direct is to head directly south, however, the southern side of Eildon Mid Hill is particularly steep for the first 200 meters that walking down is difficult. I think you’ll be okay with a light daypack and hiking poles, however, I would not try it without.
The second option is to return back the way you came, effectively heading north for a few hundred meters, before turning south and taking the pathway that heads around the hillside to Eildon Wester.
Like much of this walk, the pathways are clearly marked, and the ground is easy to walk. Three-quarters of the way through this section there is one very short, but steep section that you need to mount before you reach the summit. The peak is tiny cairn which marks the summit of Eildon Wester Hill, and I think you will agree, the views from the top are not as good as from Eildon Mid other than being able to see two Eildon Hills together.
The walk back to your car is simple and requires you to head North towards the golf club until you hit Dingelton Road (B6359), which takes you back the car.