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Scottish Borders

Scottish Borders

30th June 2019 - 7th July 2019 (8 days)

The Scottish Borders is an attractive, unspoilt corner of Britain, with landscapes ranging from rounded heather-clad hills to rich rolling farmland dotted with abbeys and attractive small towns. This Border Reiver country was ravaged in the past by the raids and skirmishes between the English and the Scots, and the local tradition of sturdy defence is commemorated each year by the symbolic patrolling of town boundaries in the ‘Common Ridings’ (albeit on horseback!). While not following in their tracks, this tour will be making full use of the area's excellent network of lightly used minor roads, which makes the area a paradise for cyclists. The daily rides will lead to varied destinations, from market towns like Melrose, Jedburgh and Kelso to the Tweed valley, Ettrickdale and the Cheviot foothills. Although there are frequent hills, each day's ride allows plenty of time to enjoy pristine landscapes, superb views and excellent cafes.

  • Holiday Type Guided
  • Tour Manager Tony Gore
  • Grade Moderate
  • Booking Status Places Available
  • Accommodation Hotel
  • Board Basis Half Board
  • Travel Arrangements Land Only
  • Road / Off Road Road
  • Holiday Style Centre-based
  • Holiday Ref 03335
Scottish Borders

Sunday 30th June

Arrive at the Mansfield House Hotel in Hawick from 4pm onwards. Meet in the bar between 7 and 7:30pm for introductions and evening meal. Stay 7 nights.

Monday 1st July

Circular day ride from Hawick. Choice of shorter (S), medium (M) and longer (L) rides available.

Tuesday 2nd July

Circular day ride from Hawick. Choice of shorter (S), medium (M) and longer (L) rides available.

Wednesday 3rd July

Circular day ride from Hawick. Choice of shorter (S), medium (M) and longer (L) rides available.

Thursday 4th July

Circular day ride from Hawick. Choice of shorter (S), medium (M) and longer (L) rides available.

Friday 5th July

Circular day ride from Hawick. Choice of shorter (S), medium (M) and longer (L) rides available.

Saturday 6th July

Circular day ride from Hawick. Choice of shorter (S), medium (M) and longer (L) rides available.

Sunday 7th July

Tour finishes after breakfast.

Accommodation & Meals

This centre-based holiday stays at the Mansfield House Hotel (4-star Tourist Board graded country house hotel) on the outskirts of Hawick, on a half-board basis in shared rooms.

Vehicle Support

As this is a centre-based holiday, no vehicle support is provided.

Travel Insurance

Obtaining travel insurance is optional for UK residents as your Cycling UK membership provides third party cover. However, this does not cover any other risks such as cancellation charges, personal injury or lost property. We therefore strongly recommend that suitable insurance is taken out to safeguard against such risks. Members who do not reside in the UK are not covered for third party and are advised to obtain suitable cover before leaving their normal residence. If you already have an annual policy, you may need to confirm that it will cover a UK holiday or make provision for it to do so.

Price

The price of £650 is based on a minimum number of 9 people taking part in the holiday. If there are insufficient bookings by 21st April 2019, we will contact you and return all monies paid, although in certain circumstances the holiday may still run at below minimum numbers but at the same price.

Price Includes

  • 7 nights hotel, sharing room, half-board
  • CTC Cycling Holidays & Tours costs

Price Does Not Include

  • Travel to and from the hotel in Hawick
  • Drinks with evening meals
  • Lunches or refreshments during the day
  • Entry fees at any attractions
  • Any other personal expenses
  • Travel Insurance (optional)
  • Single occupancy supplement (£140, subject to availability)

Payment Schedule

A deposit of £150 per person is payable upon booking, with the final balance of £500 per person to be paid ten weeks prior to departure, by 21st April 2019.

Cancellations

Should you be forced to cancel your booking for any reason you must notify us in writing. Cancellation charges are as follows:

Written notice received:

Before 21st April 2019

From 21st April 2019 through to departure

 

Cancellation charge:

Deposit (£150)

100% (£650)

 

The Area Covered By The Holiday

The Scottish Borders is often described as "the UK's cycling paradise", owing to its extensive network of quiet country roads traversing varied landscapes and affording stunning long distance views. The daily rides on this tour will make full use of this network, leading to varied destinations, from market towns like Melrose, Jedburgh and Kelso to the Tweed valley, Ettrickdale and the Cheviot foothills. By and large this is a hilly area, and each day’s riding will inevitably have its good share of ups and downs – but only in the topographical sense, of course!

Rides & Rest Days

This will be the 18th year that this tour has run, so the daily routes on offer are now completely tried and tested. Each day there will be a choice of shorter (S), medium (M) and longer (L) rides. These are 20 to 25 miles; 40 to 50 miles; and 60 to 70 miles respectively. The 'moderate' difficulty grading of the holiday applies to the 'S' and 'M' rides; as many of the 'L' rides involve over 1,000 metres of ascent, they should be considered as 'challenging'.
The routes are recommended rather than set in stone; short cuts can be taken to suit abilities, or in response to adverse weather conditions. In many instances the first and/or last parts of the 'M' and 'L' routes are shared, thus enabling riders to ‘mix and match’ if they wish. If the weather is kind, those who like to push themselves will be able to do the classic 80+ mile circuit via Eskdale and the Samye Ling Tibetan monastery.
The general routine will be to depart at around 9:30am each morning. The Tour Manager will usually look after the 'L' rides, and the deputy will marshal the 'M' rides. The 'S' rides are designed to be self-led. For the led rides, the plan will be to ride together like a regular CTC group, with regrouping as required at junctions and viewpoints. There should be scope even on the 'L' rides to stop and take photographs at points of interest, but of course most of the time will be spent cycling. On the other rides you should be able to spend more time at beauty spots or visit attractions en route, or just make refreshment stops longer.

Accommodation & Meals

The Mansfield House Hotel is situated on the western edge of Hawick (OS Grid Reference NT 519 155) in its own grounds on the side of a hill overlooking the Teviot valley. It has been graded as a 4-star country house hotel by the Scottish Tourist Board. It has a growing reputation for good food, much of it sourced locally, and prepared in a style described as 'Scottish Italian Fusion'. It is owned and run by hosts who offer a warm welcome and do their best to meet the needs of their guests.

Travel

Hawick can be reached from both north and south by following the A7 from Edinburgh or Carlisle respectively. The hotel itself is on the eastern fringe of the town, just off the A698 road towards Denholm, Kelso and Berwick upon Tweed. Car parking is available to the front of the hotel and along the drive leading up to it.
For those who prefer to travel by train the nearest railway station is at Tweedbank, around 20 miles away. This is served by the Borders Railway from Edinburgh, which reopened in 2016. Services depart from Waverley station at half hourly intervals, and the journey takes approximately one hour. Cycles are carried free of charge on all services, without the need for reservation, subject to sufficient space being available. Please note that these trains can be extremely busy, so you might have to wait for a later service to ensure your bike can be carried.
Edinburgh itself is served by regular train services along both the East and West Coast main lines, from London Kings Cross and Euston terminals respectively, the West Midlands and the South West, as well as from most parts of Scotland. Connections into these services are also available from East Anglia, the East Midlands, and North, South and Mid Wales. All of these require advance reservations for cycle carriage. Should you wish to avoid the loop north to Edinburgh then back south again, it is possible to alight earlier at either Berwick-upon-Tweed (East Coast) or Carlisle (West Coast), and then ride the 45 miles over to Hawick.
Details of recommended cycle routes from Tweedbank, Berwick or Carlisle will be provided to tour participants on request.

Group Information

The maximum number of participants will be 15 excluding the Tour Managers.

Weather & Clothing

While the tour will be taking place in the height of summer, remember that Scotland has an unenviable reputation in terms of holiday weather. Previous tours have generally enjoyed fine conditions, with usually just one day with persistent rain and others alternating between sunny and changeable. The best approach is to plan for a similar unpredictable mixture in 2019. On the whole temperatures should be pleasant, but even in summer it can feel cold on the bike in rainy conditions, so make sure you have an effective set of waterproofs with you, as well as gloves and an appropriate base layer to keep yourself warm.

Cycles & Equipment

A touring cycle, hybrid or lightweight ATB is suitable for this tour. You should ensure your cycle is well maintained, paying particular attention to wheels, tyres and brakes. Given the poor state of repair of some of the roads, it is advisable to fit new hardwearing touring tyres, of at least 28mm, rather than racing slicks. As there are some steep hills in the area, a bottom gear of no larger than 25 inches is recommended. If you are unsure about this, please discuss with the Tour Manager. Bikes should be fitted with mudguards, to avoid spraying others in the group, and have racks to secure panniers, saddlebags or day packs.  Participants will be expected to carry each day sufficient spares and tools to deal with punctures and minor repairs. Advice on what spares and tools you should bring will be provided in the final tour information bulletin. A rack pack or bar bag will be useful for carrying wet weather gear, spare clothing needed for the day, camera, snacks and your map. Wearing a helmet is of course down to personal preference. 

Maps & Guides

Although detailed route cards (and a link to download GPS files) will be provided, you should also bring a suitable map with you in case you lose your way or become separated from the group. The Nicolson 1:100,000 Tourist Map Scottish Borders (£4.99), available online direct from the publishers (https://www.nicolsondigital.com/tourist-mapping/), covers the area visited. Alternatively you could detach the relevant pages from a standard road atlas. If you require more detail, the OS 1:50,000 Landranger series Nos. 73 (Peebles, Galashiels and Selkirk), 74 (Kelso and Coldstream), 79 (Hawick and Eskdale) and 80 (Cheviot Hills and Kielder Water) are the best choice. However, Hawick is to be found near to where these four sheets intersect, so they can be a little unwieldy for daily route-finding.