Glen Sax Circuit

Dun Rig and the Glen Sax Circuit

Hillwalking route from Peebles up Dun Rig and the hills above Glen Sax

From Peebles, a fine circular hillrunning route overlooking Glen Sax takes in the high ground of Glenrath and Huddleshope Heights. Part of the route forms the Gypsy Glen Hill Race.



Route outline


Grahams

Dun Rig

Ascent 900m (2950ft)
Distance 21km (13m)
Time 6:45hr
Start/finish Glen Road, Peebles
Grid Ref : NT260392
Terrain
easy hard
Nav
easy hard
Effort
easy hard
Scenery
ok fab


South of Peebles, this lovely hillwalking route initially traces the line of an old Drove Road, then follows paths and fences over wide crests surrounding the farmlands and woods of Glen Sax.

The southern half of the route is less frequented and paths across the hill crests are faint. Much of the hillsides are covered in heather, which in late summer turns a lovely purple !



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Route description


1. Getting to Glen Road in Peebles

The end of Glen Road by Peebles

The end of Glen Road by Peebles

The historic burgh town of Peebles sits in the heart of the Borders, around 30km south of Edinburgh. The River Tweed heads eastwards through the town, with the town centre and main roads on the northern bank.

On the southern bank, just east of the bridge over the River Tweed, Springhill Road heads south-east from the B7062. Follow this road uphill, as it changes name to Glen Road and comes to an end by the entrance to Haystoun Estate.

A layby close to the road end has enough parking space for around 5 vehicles.


2. Dun Rig

Split in the track below Craig Head

Split in the track below Craig Head

On tarmac, leave the parking area behind and head south-east into woodland on the well sign-posted old Cross Borders Drove Road. In the woodland, the track crosses the Haystoun Burn via a footbridge , then begins a climb uphill aside a wall. Through a gate, woodland is gradually left behind. A little further on and just beyond another gate, the Drove Road comes to a junction with the Drove Road heading left and a well worn path heading right by the wall - either direction will do, though the right fork will most likely be favoured as it leads over Craig Head and therefore gives better views.

Beyond Craig Head, the path and track merge and once through another gate, this is followed for the next 2km to meet with the edge of some forestry and onto Kirkhope Law . On this minor summit stands a cairn by the side of the track and accompanying fence-line.

The fence-line and drove road turn south-west and are followed for another 1km to reach yet another gate , where the drove road heads of south-east. Keeping to the fence-line, and now on a trod through grass, begin up the slope of Birkscairn Hill. The trod becomes a more obvious track and the hill's summit is reached on which stands a rather large and untidy cairn.

Dun Rig from Birkscairn Hill

Dun Rig from Birkscairn Hill

Beyond Birkscairn Hill, the hill's crest drops 50m or so and a right-of-way sign is met. Ignoring the sign, cross a fence-line traversing the hill's crest and now on a faint trod begin hiking up the gentle slope of Stake Law with the fence-line on your left and continue on for a further 1km to Dun Rig's summit , marked by a trig point.

Dun Rig from Birkscairn Hill

Dun Rig from Birkscairn Hill


3. Huddleshope Heights

On Dun Rig, looking to Glenrath Heights

On Dun Rig, looking to Glenrath Heights

From Dun Rig's trig point, initially follow the fence-line aiming south-west. Underfoot becomes more boggy and before long the faint path disappears into peat-hags. The fence-line, now travelling south-north, is met again , crossed over to its western side, where a worn line of ATV tracks are picked up and followed down to the bealach of Glenrath Heights.

Continue following the tracks and fence-line uphill to the minor summit of Middle Hill , simply marked by a boulder by a turn in the fence-line.

Glenrath Heights leading to Middle Hill

Glenrath Heights leading to Middle Hill

After Middle Hill, the fence-line travels north-west to Stob Law , a detour of around 2km on the circuit. Perhaps instead, cross the fenceline and aim in a northerly direction, crossing moorland on which a faint path gradually forms and leads to the trig point on Hundleshope Heights .

Glenrath Heights leading to Middle Hill

Glenrath Heights leading to Middle Hill


4. Return through Glen Sax

Remains of the track descending Huddleshope Heights

Remains of the track descending Huddleshope Heights

Standing by the trig point on Huddleshope Heights, look north-east and you can make out three parallel lines of grass-clumps heading downhill through an otherwise heather clad hillside (see pic) - these are the remains of an old track, still marked on the OS Landranger maps, but not on the OS Explorer maps. Follow these lines of grass downhill and gradually a path forms which in turn meets with a track to follow over Dead Side.

Further on and after losing some height, a junction in the track is met - either direction will do - I headed north to drop into Glen Sax by the patch of forestry above the farm buildings of Upper Newby.

Last descent of the route, looking up to Craigs Head

Last descent of the route, looking up to Craigs Head

All that remains is a 2km jog along a track then road through farmland and past some houses back to Glen Road.

Last descent of the route, looking up to Craigs Head

Last descent of the route, looking up to Craigs Head


5. Gypsy Glen Hill Race

Uphill on the Gypsy Glen Hill Race

Uphill on the Gypsy Glen Hill Race

Taking place each year in May, the Gypsy Glen Hill Race has a little bit of everything - some road, grassy tracks, heather trods and a few steep rock and boulder sections.

From a grassy area close to the River Tweed, the race route travels up onto Glen Road to follow to its end, then follows the route described above.

Upon reaching the split in the Cross Borders Drove Road , the path is followed aside the fence up and over Craig Head to the meet with the Drove Road again . Runners are then directed northwards back onto the Drove Road to run around Craig's Head, then return back towards the town.

Gypsy Glen Hill Race descent back to the woods

Gypsy Glen Hill Race descent back to the woods

Total ascent is 300m over a distance of 8.5km, with the fastest times just over half an hour. More details on the race are on Moorfoots Runners website.

Gypsy Glen Hill Race descent back to the woods

Gypsy Glen Hill Race descent back to the woods





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Alternative and nearby routes »


Broughton Heights and Trahenna

In the Southern Uplands, halfway between Biggar and Peebles the grass-covered little hills of Broughton Heights make for an excellent walk or run along well defined crests. Fences aid navigation, terrain is generally soft underfoot and views are expansive.

Peaks : 2 Donald Dewey's

Ascent : 630m (2070ft)
Distance : 11km (7m)
Time : 3:45hr

Broad Law and Dollar Law

A delightful route following fencelines which aid navigation over the undulating ground between Dollar Law and Broad Law.

Peaks : 1 Corbett

Ascent : 810m (2660ft)
Distance : 16km (10m)
Time : 5:20hr

Culter Fell and Gathersnow Hill

The rolling Culter Hills lie in the Southern Uplands, just south of Biggar. The highest peaks are Culter Fell and Gathersnow Hill - vast heather and grass covered lumps. Navigation is fairly easy following well-maintained fences.

Peaks : 2 Grahams, 4 Donalds

Ascent : 960m (3150ft)
Distance : 19km (12m)
Time : 6:30hr

White Coomb and Hartfell

The Grey Mare's Tail, a lovely waterfall north-east of Moffat, is the starting point for a hike up White Coomb and Hart Fell.

Peaks : 2 Corbetts

Ascent : 1050m (3440ft)
Distance : 15km (9m)
Time : 5:30hr









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