Experience The Reiver Raid. Follow in the footsteps of the infamous Border Reivers, raiders along the Anglo-Scottish border in the late 13th century to the beginning of the 17th century and discover a hidden gem in the South of Scotland.http://bikepackingscotland.com/reiverraid/
Day 1 (Tweedbank)
Up early to beat the traffic a lovely relaxing drive up to Tweedbank and managed to park the car with no problems, packed up the bike and set off to Tweedbank station which was easy enough to find, however got myself slightly confused as to which direction to head… the problem was the route I’d downloaded onto the garmin had obviously been ridden before and with all the route intertwined it became a bit of a mess!! Eventually managed to get on course and started by riding a forest track up and out of town, very scenic and the weather was good.
Along forest tracks which looked like a National Trust area!! Anyway ended up on some quiet country roads until the garmin had me taking an off-road route down some farmers track and over some pretty horrendous unrideable fields, through gates and ended up back onto quiet roads!
After a little road riding ended up back on fields and poor tracks only to end up back onto roads again? Slightly confused as to why it’s sending me through fields that aren’t even rideable to end up on the roads each time?? However did stumble across some Borders history
The route continued in this on/off cycle which after a full day of riding was beginning to get tedious (It didn’t make sense to cut out quiet country road sections just for the sake of going off-road) so by the end of the day I’d made the decision to cut those sections out wherever possible and stick to the roads, it would mean slightly less overall mileage, but at this stage I wasn’t bothered.
Finally stopped at a lovely tranquil river section to chill, rest and check in with home.
After a chill out and some trail mix i carried onwards with about an hour and a half of daylight left thought I could cover a few more miles before dark!! As the day began to draw to a close i started looking out for potential camp spots well hidden from farmhouses and tracks, eventually found a young pine forest that showed potential so explored inside only to find remains of a fire pit so it looked like someone had used this spot before. Found myself a fairly clean, flat patch of ground and set about pitching my tent for the night… finally finished when a huge dog came bounding towards me followed by another dog and then their owner who happened to be the landowner… Ahh!! After five minutes chat he seemed fine with me staying there and even asked if I was all set for the evening 👍 (So my first wild camping experience had all the intentions, but ended up being a little less daring!!)
Got out of my dirty riding clothes chilled until it got dark then into bed… end of day 1
Day 2 (Near Whitmuirhall Loch)
Woke up to a misty morning having slept alright a few cold spots during the night, but the sleeping mat performed well and the tent wasn’t too damp with condensation… I’m sure i felt a drip of water on my face at some point!! Anyway navigated my way back to the nearest road only to realise how close I’d been to the landowners house 😮.
Set off along the road with lights on and slightly damp, before long I’d stumbled onto a golf course but the sun was at full strength by now so I’d dried off and the short sleeve top was on. Following the Garmin i managed to carefully weave my way through the course trying not to annoy anyone… to be honest i only spotted two golfers out this early. Stopped by a stream to fill up the water bottle and wash my face (MSR Trailshot performed fantastic)
At this point I’d safely navigated my way to the golf course entrance and asked whether i could get a coffee at the main building or if I needed to be a member, apparently not so I stopped off for a well deserved coffee and bacon roll the restaurant was really nice and the staff really friendly a lovely place to visit The Woll Golf Course & Restaurant
After a much needed rest headed off towards the most southerly point of the route. Continuing along the roads rather than fields I finally reached the highlight of the route… crossing the reservoir that inspired me to take on the route Alemoor Reservoir seemed to be very popular with walkers and bikers alike.
The route then took me northwards back to the start passing through a large forestry section which differed between dry forest tracks and very boggy, wet clay soil this section seemed to go on forever and at one point i wondered if i might be going around in circles?? However finally reached the other side of the forest and back to smooth tarmac albeit a lot muddier than when I’d started.
By this point hunger started to set in so decided to make haste for the next town to resupply which just happened to be Selkirk which didn’t seem that far away, had a sandwich, sausage roll and bottle of coke which hit the spot. Left Selkirk en route back to Tweedbank via a lovely river cycle path.
Found my way back to the car park and found the car in one piece (Phew!!) unpacked the bike, got myself sorted and prepared for the drive home…
For details check out the ride on komoot.