Looking for an accessible, yet spectacular route through the heart of the Scottish Borderlands, following in the steps of the border raiders (known as reivers) from as far back as the 13th century?
Put together by legendary bikepacker Markus Stitz, known for riding around the world on a single-speed bike and for his numerous long distance bikepacking trails in Scotland, this is one of his shorter and more intermediate-level routes. Don’t let that put you off if you’re an accomplished rider though, you can still challenge yourself by attempting it in a shorter time frame like a weekend.
Expect endless morlands, country estates, gleaming lochs and enchanting forests, punctuated by quaint towns and villages and the lure of a pub log fire. The 110 mile (175 km) route is the perfect mix of more challenging off road sections and faster rolling quiet roads and lanes.
Due to the amount of grassy and potentially boggy terrain on this route, it is not recommended during wetter conditions, i.e. the winter and much of the spring and autumn. Having said this, you’ll probably want to avoid the height of the midge season in some of the summer months too, so make sure you take repellent and nets with you if you plan on sleeping outside. Fatter tyres are also recommended for this route; either a mountain bike or gravel bike with 40mm tyres plus are best.
Take as long or as little time as you like. If the whole route seems a bit daunting or you’re short on time, you’ll be glad to see that it’s essentially made up of three loops centred around Selkirk so you can easily cut off some of the whole route to suit your appetite.
In Scotland you can wild camp legally thanks to the Right To Roam act (see more at scotways.com/faq/law-on-statutory-access-rights). If you’re choosing from the hotels, guesthouses and campsites along the route, make sure you do book ahead, especially in peak season during the summer months.
Accessibility is one of the highlights of the Reiver Raid, both starting and finishing at Tweedbank Railway Station. This is the end of the Borders Railway line, which links up to Edinburgh Waverley station where you can change for other services across the UK. This makes travel at either end of your trip super simple, and you can also leave a car nearby for a few days if you choose to travel by that method.
Check out more at bikepackingscotland.com/reiverraid
From the end of the Borders Railway line, you’ll start your journey into the great hills of the Scottish Borderlands with a 34 mile (54.5 km) stage to Longnewton. Just like the rest of this bikepacking route, the way is anything but linear as you ride the western part of the first loop and half of the…
You’ll cover 33.3 miles (53.6 km) on this second stage, finishing the second loop and starting on the third after Selkirk.
Start on the road out of Longnewton, before taking back road unpaved tracks to Belses. You’ll rejoin roads to Minto Kames, where you’ll take the doubletrack toward the marshy Grinding…
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The final stage of the Reiver Raid will complete the third loop, and then trace the western edge of the first loop to bring you back to your starting point in Tweedbank. You’ll cover a total of 39.3 miles (63.2 km).
It’s the largest by distance of the three stages, so you might need to bear that in mind…
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