Hermitage (and Tibetans?)

Individual, DIY Run:  Kielder and Hermitage with optional wider loop to take in a Tibetan monastery (which turns a big run into a BIG run). (www.samyeling.org)


Hill Country!  No fun in bad weather. Magnificent in good!

The wider loop includes some of the emptiest roads you could hope to see anywhere, and the Tibetan monastery is fascinating. It also has a café!  But the smaller loop is also good, and quite long enough. The monastery “extra” being a long day, especially if you stop for any amount of time.  But a memorable experience.  You would need an early start for this.

The longer route is 180 miles and takes about 6 hours including a few “photo-stops”. Allow an extra 1 1/2 hours for the monastery,   including food at its cafe.

The less long route is 140 miles and takes about 5 hours plus any time for a lunch stop.  On this route the last lunch place before Hawick is at Kielder Castle, and Hawick is a good way ahead. Or you could divert via Newcastleton for food.

Use these routes, either  for a rally day, or for a longer stay in the area after the rally. It would be nice if you were back by 5 p.m. on the Saturday for the display of Nortons, and judging.

A private web site www.jnoandlizpowell.wordpress.com  shows pictures of a ride that includes much  of the smaller loop.



Turn right out of the rugby club.

Follow B6343 on through Hartburn and Scot’s Gap to Cambo.Turn right at “T” in Cambo (village hardly exists), onto B6342.

Approx 1  mile further on turn left onto  small road leading to Knowlesgate  (no road sign!).

Go straight across A696  (Sign: “Bellingham) .

A bit over 2 miles on, on moorland, the larger road goes off to the right. Go right here.  (Sign: “Bellingham”)

At “T” onto A68, go right. (Sign “Bellingham”)

At foot of hill, in West Woodburn, go left for Bellingham. There is (or maybe was) a petrol station in West Woodburn.

Reaching Bellingham (Petrol station opens sometimes), go left when you hit the main street. (Bellingham has a museum/railway museum on your left as you come into town).

Before crossing the North Tyne, turn right for Kielder.

At Lanehead, “T” junction – go left for Kielder.

Shortly before the Kieder reservoir, there is a turning to the right to Falstone, where there is a café, if you want it.

Road from reservoir dam to Kielder village is modernized and fast. But beware!! Just before the village, it goes “unmodernised” with a vicious right hand bend!

Approaching Kielder village, if you turn right to Kielder castle, there is also a café in the castle, if you feel the need. This is the last chance of food for some time. Kielder has petrol pumps but these may also not be working.

Continuing along the road through the village, and beyond, takes you over the border and eventually to a “T” at Saughtree. Turn left onto B6399.

(Note:  Sign – “Fuel, B&B, Shop 6 mile”) – these will be beyond where you next turn off).

Approximately 3 miles down, turn to right  towards “Steele road” (Very sharp steep turn back on yourself). This turning is easily overshot!

Small road divides a bit further on– and you go right under a bridge.

“T” onto B 6399. Go right.

Approx 1 mile up go left: sign “Hermitage”.

Stop by Hermitage castle. A real fighting, dying, murdering castle.

Continue on over a really beautiful pass over the hills.

At Saughtree you hit the A7.


The shorter route turns right onto the A7, and continues into Hawick.


Turn left.

About 5 miles down,  before Langholm, turn right for “Eskdalemuir”. (NB if worried about fuel, you may want to detour and go and look for it in Langholm. From here on it gets VERY wild and wide.). Note that the descent to the river, and area round the river bridge, shortly before you join the “B”-class road is thoroughly potholed.

“T” onto B709, go right towards Eskdalemuir. The following section as far as Eskdalemuir has a lot of potholes!

(Note that about 2/1/2 miles further on the road goes suddenly to the right over a bridge – it is easy to accidentally go straight on here on the minor road)

A couple of miles beyond Eskdalemuir is the Tibetan monastery. Worth a good hour, maybe 2.  Café.

After this the potholes almost end.

Continue about 14 miles on B709.

Turn right onto B711 to Hawick. This section is VERY EMPTY, but with a couple of spectacular views.

NB in May 2013 there was a sign that the road was closed ahead at a bridge.  It should be gone by August 2013 but may not be.  Here,  someone has added, in paint, the words “not HGV’s”.  You  can carry on as there is a small lane up ahead that by-passes the bridge.

Reach A7, and continue into Hawick.



Continue through Hawick (1-way system – fuel at Supermarket on Left)

Follow signs for A698 – towards Jedburgh.

On outskirts of Hawick, turn right onto 6088 towards Bonchester Bridge.

Continue to follow “Bonchester Bridge”

Entering  Bonchester bridge, keep round to the right,  following signs for Newcastle (NOT to be confused with NewcasteTON!)

Continue to join A 68.

A stop at the border crossing at Carter Bar is worth while. There is often a piper.  The information board is interesting. Notice a ballad about an old battle in a language that is not Gaelic but old Welsh, this being the language of the original Britons in these parts.

Continue towards Newcastle. (There are a couple of speed cameras at the bottom of the descent).

If returning to Morpeth , turn left after Otterburn, for Elsdon. (B6341).

In village turn right and through 2 more intersections, following signs for Morpeth. As you ascend towards the crest at Winter’s Gibbet,  look behind to take in the vista that is opening up behind you.)

Join the B6342 (going left – signpost:  Rothbury).

Beware steep hump-backed bridge!

At cross-roads where B6342 goes left, you go straight on (no directions sign) to go  through Longwitton. Approx 1 mile  beyond Longwhitton,  go  right (Sign “Morpeth). Follow “Morpeth” to the Dyke Neuk pub,where  you go left again onto the B6343 into Morpeth and the rugby club. This last section has sudden sharp bends!

Take a well-earned rest!