Biggar, Drumelzier and Pykestone Hill

A two night trip from Biggar in the Scottish Borders into the hills by nearby Drumelzier. Camping by Drumelzier and on Pykestone Hill.

A mid afternoon start from Biggar should have left plenty of time to find an easy pitch in the hills at the back of Drumelzier. The old railway path to Broughton is easy and quick going. But a herd of hungry cows stood their ground at Rachan Home Farm, looking like they were none too pleased to see me and Inca, and so an hour was lost to a lengthy detour.

Looked at a couple of spots by the River Tweed by Merlindale and would probably have been fine here, but pushed into Drumelzier to see what was around. From a small car park for maybe 4 or 5 cars at NT136340, we followed the track up by Drumelzier Burn and found a peach of a spot nestled into Finglen Rig (NT141333).

Inca discovered her voice for the first time the next morning. Having never barked once in 3 years, she manages a thoroughly appropriate and almost friendly “woof” just as a early morning walker passes nearby. Not sure who was more surprised, me or her.

A good path follows the burn for a short distance and then starts the steep ascent of Den Knowes.

The path splits at the start of the pull up to Pykestone Hill. To the right a shepherd’s track follows the level but never makes it to the head of the glen, and to the right is the path to Pykestone Hill. Neither path follows the OS Map accurately. Here we met the only other person we saw on the hills that weekend – a cyclist who had come up from Peebles. Another friendly woof from Inca.

The top of Pykestone Hill is wide, flat with numerous pitching options. We planned to keep heading towards Dollar Law for the night – a plan that worked well until I realised I hadn’t brought enough water. Dropping down from Newholm Hill I was looking for a sign of Long Brae Burn and lost almost 400m in the process.

By the time we’d gotten back up to the tops by Middle Hill, it looked unlikely there was enough light to get to Dollar Law, so it was back to Pykestone Hill for the night, and a beautiful sunset.

The sun warmed the tent like an oven, turning almost immediately to a freezer once it had set. The next morning cloud had come in, and there was little to see from the tops. We struck camp, descended back into Drumelzier Glen and back along the old railway path to Biggar by early afternoon.

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