Union Canal SNT

Scottish National Trail: Stage 1


Introduction to the Scottish National Trail: Stage 1

At nearly 540 miles the Scottish National Trail is no small undertaking. From the foothills of the Cheviot in Kirk Yetholm to the wild Cape Wrath, the North-West tip of Scotland, this long-distance trail truly has it all. Over the next 3 summers (2022-2024) we will be walking the length of Scotland in 6 stages. We invite you to join us for all or part of this incredible journey.

Stage 1 begins in Kirk Yetholm in the Scottish Borders and follows sections of St Cuthbert's Way, the Southern Upland Way and the Water of Leith walkway, before finishing in Ratho on the outskirts of Scotland's capital city, Edinburgh.

St Cuthbert's Way waymarker

Highlights of the Scottish National Trail: Stage 1

  • The chance to start out on Scotland’s longest trail
  • Arriving in historic Melrose over the Eildon Hills
  • Following the Tweed Valley on the Southern Upland Way
  • Passing through the Pentlands above Edinburgh
  • Walking alongside the Water of Leith and the Union Canal

What's Included with this Holiday

  • A qualified Mountain Leader on each day of the trek
  • A Trek Manager to support the group
  • A detailed Information Pack
  • All accommodation in B&Bs
  • Breakfast
  • Luggage transfer
  • Maximum group size of 10
  • Support Vehicle available
  • Free transport from Ratho back to Kirk Yetholm if required
  • Free pick up from and drop off to Berwick-upon-Tweed train station

Scottish National Trail: Stage 1 Guided Walking Itinerary

Daily Plan

Each day you will be guided along the Scottish National Trail to the next B&B, there is no need for you to worry about being lost, we will be with you from the moment you set off in the morning to the moment you enter your B&B in the evening. You will only be expected to carry your daypack (what you will need to keep you warm, dry, fed and watered for the day). Everything else will be transported to your next B&B for you. Everything will be arranged for you so all you need to worry about is the walking itself!

Day 1: Arrive in Kirk Yetholm

This is your chance to get to the start of the holiday by making your way to Kirk Yetholm. We will have accommodation arranged for you so you just need to turn up and tell them your name. Kirk Yetholm is a little out of the way of the public transport network but a transfer from Berwick-upon-Tweed train station will be available at 4pm.

Accommodation Kirk Yetholm

Day 2: Kirk Yetholm to Harestanes

Today you take your first steps on the Scottish National Trail. For those intending to join us for the entire walk over the next 3 years this will feel like the start of a big adventure. We leave Kirk Yetholm following St. Cuthbert's Way. The route begins with a climb over Wideopen Hill giving fantastic Border views, before continuing through the Borders countryside to meet the River Teviot outside Jedburgh. From here it is just a short distance to Harestanes and the end of the first day's walking. Today's distance is 28km (17.5 miles) with 515m of ascent.

Accommodation Melrose

Day 3: Harestanes to Melrose

From Harestanes you will set out on an old Roman road across past Lilliard's Stone on the site of the Battle of Ancrum Moor. Through the middle of the day you will follow the meanderings of the Tweed round St Boswells before climbing over the iconic Eildon Hills and down into the historic Border town of Melrose. Today's distance is 24km (15 miles) and includes 408m of ascent.

Accommodation Melrose

Day 4: Melrose to Traquair

Today the Tweed is followed out of town towards Galashiels. Now following the Southern Upland Way from here we leave the towns behind to head through farmland to reach the bridge at Fairnilee. Then it is up to the Three Brethren and onto the open moorland. We stay high on the moor until we descend into Traquair at the end of the day. Today's distance is 29km (18 miles) with a combined ascent of 832m.

Accommodation Peebles

Day 5: Traquair to Romanobridge

Today we will start with a short road section to Cardrona before joining the old railway line to Peebles. From we climb out through hilly farmland north of Peebles and the forest of Crailzie Hill. The Cross Borders Drove Road then us takes down to Romanobridge. Today's statistics are 28km (17 miles) and 620m of ascent.

Accommodation West Linton/Peebles

Day 6: Romanobridge to Balerno

Today's walk takes us through the Pentland Hills to Balerno on the outskirts of Edinburgh. First we walk to the village of West Linton and then follow in the footsteps of the Romans to Carlops. From there it is north to the North Esk Reservoir and a pass through the Pentland Hills. Today's distance is 24km (15 miles) with 254m of ascent.

Accommodation Near Ratho/Balerno

Day 7: Balerno to Ratho

You will follow the Water of Leith Walkway on old railway line and waterside paths. You then switch waterways at the Water of Leith Visitor Centre, and join the Union Canal. This links Edinburgh and Glasgow. You will follow the canal into the village of Ratho on the western fringes of Edinburgh. Today's distance is a friendly 18km (11 miles) with negligible ascent and a nice gentle day to complete the first leg of our Scottish National Trail.

Accommodation Near Ratho/Balerno

Scottish National Trail: Stage 1 Accommodation Options

Example of a B&B Room

Bed & Breakfast

The Bed and Breakfast option provides you with good standard Bed and Breakfast accommodation, with breakfast included within the price of the holiday. The B&Bs we use are located within small towns or villages and so you will have access to local shops as well as a choice of pubs to make sure you have plenty of opportunity to have an evening meal. In areas where there are no B&Bs or there are no facilities such as shops or pubs we will instead drive you out to another nearby village where a better overall experience can be achieved.

Photo of Tigh Loran B&B from the outside

Bed & Breakfast (Single Room)

We also offer this trek with Bed and Breakfast accommodation for those who would prefer single occupancy rooms, however do note that we only have two of these rooms available per trek and so they must be booked early. Unlike our self-catering option, breakfast is included within the price. Please note that these rooms incur a single supplement which is included within the price.

Dates & Prices

The dates of our scheduled treks can be seen below. We also off the option of private bookings for groups. Please get in touch if you'd like to book privately.

Notice: Dates for this trek comming soon.

No Suitable Date?

If there are no dates on this calendar to suit you please let us know, sometimes we can add extra dates if there is enough demand for an extra trip to be added.

Waiting List

If a trek is full but you would like to be added to the waiting list, please do let us know. The waiting list is there so that if anyone drops out of the trek we will contact you and let you know, so you can take their place on the trek instead.

Future Dates

Our trekking calendar is released a year in advance each spring. Keep an eye on the 'Year Planner' in the menu above, or send us a request for an email alert when the latest calendar is published. If you are keen to book early and secure a trek on a date to suit you, do feel free to get in contact with us to suggest a date


Price for Bed & Breakfast:

The price of this trip is £1049 per person (based on two sharing).

To book this trip we will require a £200 deposit per person with the rest to be paid a month before your trip.

If you are booking as a solo traveller and happy to share a twin room with another solo traveller of the same sex the price is £1049.

If you are a solo traveller and would like a single room to yourself there is a £25 per night single supplement (£175 in total).

How to Book

Booking is simple, you can either phone us, email us or use our online shopping cart below.

Book Scottish National Trail: Stage 1 Online

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Notice: New dates for this trek comming soon please check back to book.

Bed & Breakfast - £1049 Currently we only offer this accommodation type on this trek.

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Trek Cost: £1049

Deposit: £200 Due now to secure your holiday.

Final Payment: £849 due a month before your trip departs.

Please note we use a secure website for our shopping cart. You will be taken to that site when you press the book now button.

What Happens Once you Have Booked

Once we have received your booking (either through the online shopping cart, email or phone). We will then confirm with you that your accommodation option and room type, single, twin or double, is available. We will then send you a full booking form and information about paying your deposit for your trek. All deposits can be paid by cheque, bank transfer or debit/credit card. Once we have received back both your booking form and deposit we will let you know and your place on the trip will be secure.