Lauder to Longformacus

SUW signpost

The third day of our weekend avoiding the Brat’s party and its fallout saw us back in Lauder with the help of another helpful parent for the next stage of the Southern Upland Way.  And what a difference a day makes.  Yesterday was dreich and humid leaving us soaked with sweat at the end; today was a perfect late summer’s day with beautiful skies and scenery looking at its best.  This next section of the SUW is a wander over the Lammermuir Hills to the picturesque village of Longformacus. These hills aren’t what you’d call “Alpine” so the skies are huge: brace yourself for lots of big sky pictures.

Thirlestane Castle


Setting off from the town centre we head through the parkland of Thirlestane Castle which to our delight was full of frisky and inquisitive bullocks – a great start having to avoid that lot while keeping a mad Spaniel under control and avoiding the ubiquitous cow-pats.  However, the path soon heads through some lovely woodland before climbing out to give great views of Lauderdale.  We then head over some fields (more coos) until we get to the hills themselves that looked splendid with the heather in full bloom.

The path follows a decent track heading for the main topographical feature on the walk: Twin Law. As with the other Lammermuirs, this has the profile of a fried egg, and so to brighten things up it has two cracking cairns.  These are beautifully constructed monsters either side of a disused trig point.  They are associated with a mythical pair of brothers but as the story is so naff I won’t bother you with it.

Clouds over the West Cairn, Twin Law

Jazz after signing the visitors’ book

Jazz at Twin Law Cairns

The cairns each have a beautiful alcove seat on their south sides.  Here on the the east one was a soggy visitors’ book in an old biscuit tin 1.  From some of the entries it looks like some folk have been in serious need of the shelter at these cairns, but for us it was nice to poke around on such a beautiful day.  The views from up here were great with the Eildons away to the south-west, the North Sea just appearing on the horizon, and the Cheviots stretching along the English side of the Tweed valley.  The rest of the view was the Lammermuirs glowing purple with heather – so vivid it looks weird in the photos but they are true.

Watch Water from the Herring Road, Twin Law

Anglers on Watch Water

Looking south from Twin Law

From the cairns we are now heading down the old Herring Road towards Watch Water reservoir.  This lovely track is the old route taken by traders bringing herring from the North Sea ports down the Borders towns.  Its grass+stone mixture made for nice walking. This ends when we reach the tarmac going round the reservoir leaving us with 4km of (albeit pretty) road bashing to get us to Longformacus.

Previous section of SUW: Galashiels to Lauder
Next section of SUW: Longformacus to Cockburnspath


  1. Hi to anyone who saw our entry with this site’s URL and came for a look!
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