John Buchan Way on a lovely Spring day

Route: John Buchan Way, Peebles to Broughton

Date walked: 26/05/2018

Time taken: 7 hours

Distance: 22km

John Buchan Way - Peebles to Broughton

I fancied a walk that was an easy drive from Edinburgh, in the 12-15 mile range, and a little challenging. I also wanted one that is impossible to give up on - once you are on it, you are committed to going the whole way. A bit of research on here and this looked like a good option.

I did my homework on excellent www.travelinescotland.com site, and discovered there are very occasional buses from Broughton to Peebles. One is at 10:02am (doesn't run on Sundays) so I opted to drive from Edinburgh down to Broughton in good time for this bus. There was a dreadful haar covering Edinburgh, but half way through the journey I hit the edge of it and emerged into glorious sunshine.

As you enter Broughton from the North, there is a village hall on the left with a large car park to the rear. I left my car here, and walked further down the road to await the bus. It was a few minutes late, but I hadn't really started to worry when it appeared. I spotted the bridge from the walk directions and got off the bus, to briefly take in the starting point of the house where John Buchan spent frequent holidays:

The house at the starting point of the walk

I set off across the bridge, with lovely views up and down stream:

View upstream

View downstream

The walk climbs steeply between houses and quickly leaves Peebles via a playing field and a lovely wooded path

Wooded path early in the walk

Soon you enter fields and the terrain becomes much more like it is for the remainder of the walk. Lovely views back down to Peebles.

View over Peebles

Much of the path is like this

This walk has a sense of three what I call "up and overs", and the first high point is reached quite quickly. There's then a gradual descent down to a minor road. I noticed a sign next to the path facing the other way and wondered what it was for, so took this photo of the path I'd just come down:

I didn't gallop, I promise

There is then quite a stretch on a minor road. It was lambing season, so there were a few of these amusing signs along the way.

Beware of lambs

On around the five mile mark, there is a lovely spot between the minor road and a stream, with a couple of picnic tables. This was my planned lunch stop, but to my surprise it was occupied by a group of about thirty hikers from Milngavie on a walking weekend based in Peebles. I briefly joined them for a chat and a snack. They weren't walking anything like the distance I was, so I didn't stop long and pushed on, aware that my pace was a bit slow and I still have something like ten miles to go.

On leaving the minor road, the path becomes a rutted farm track which is probably muddy in worse weather, and made for slow going. I had lots of lambs for company though.

Lambs on the "path"

Lamb in an expanse of fields

Further on there was a real sense of hitting a high spot, with great views back down the hill to where I been

View back

and the way ahead

View ahead

Eventually, I started the descent to Stobo. I did get a little confused with the lack of way marks on this stretch, and was grateful for having printed out the Walk Highlands directions and map. I was expecting a more straightforward descent, but it actually headed a bit uphill again on a left turn skirting a field. I also made a mistake and went through a short distance of a field that I shouldn't have, only spotting the way marks once I emerged. So if something feels a bit "off" on this stretch, check the directions carefully!

After a short stretch on the road at Stobo, you swing off across country again. I was tiring by this point, and my pace wasn't anything like I had hoped. I was really hoping that there wasn't another steep climb. To start with, the walk was pretty level, and really, really lovely. But there was another big climb coming. It was really, really hot by this point, and I was resting on my poles a couple of times generally saying "I can't.....", but that was one of the reasons I picked a point to point walk - I had to keep going towards the car.

But the rewards were well worth it. Stunning countryside walk, great views, and am amazing sense of solitude.

Waymarker between Stobo and Broughton

Path between Stobo and Broughton

I posted the view from this point with the caption "Please let this be the highest point on the walk"

Waymark at the last summit

Just as I thought there was another climb ahead, the path suddenly makes a left turn downhill. At this point there is a really lovely memorial bench, and I stopped to rest up, have some water, and photograph the view of the downhill path ahead.

Downhill all the way to Broughton

The path meanders downhill past another bench, across a cattle grid, one final short, gentle uphill stretch (that nearly made me despair at that point, but it was OK), and then emerges onto a tarmac road for the final descent. There is a "walkers car park" at the start of the tarmac road - if I'd known about it, I may have parked there rather than down at the village hall. I'd arrived in plenty of time to walk down from there to the bus, and it would have got that dull stretch over at the start, and made the walk from Peebles just a little bit shorter.

In conclusion, a really enjoyable, challenging countryside walk within easy reach of Edinburgh, with public transport making it possible as a point-to-point walk. My pace was slow, but it was the first big walk I'd done this summer, and I had to take it very easy on the ascents. Some of the path is on badly rutted farm tracks that prevented getting any rhythm up as well. But all in all, highly recommended.

Here's the stats from MapMyWalk:


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Activity: Ambler
Pub: The Golden Rule
Mountain: Ben More
Place: Tobermory
Gear: IPod shuffle
Member: None
Ideal day out: Gentle walking with good views

Munros: 2
Grahams: 1
Sub 2000: 3
Long Distance routes: West Highland Way    Borders Abbeys Way    Fife Coastal Path    Great Glen Way    John Muir Way   

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Last visited: Oct 08, 2019
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