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Publication Account

Date 1985

Event ID 1016171

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


The droving of cattle from the Highlands, and thence south from the trysts at Crieff or Falkirk, was a serious business from at least the early 17th century. It reached its height during the second quarter of the 19th century but had almost disappeared by 1900.

The route lay through the Cauldstane Slap (NT 1158) in the Pentland Hills, and down to West Linton: "a much frequented pass, through which the periodical droves of black cattle are transported into England" (1775).

Through the Baddinsgill enclosures (NT 1255) the way is marked by roughly parallel stone dykes up to 13.7 m apart, continuing lower down as turf dykes. On to Romanno Bridge and through the hills east of the Lyne Water, it crossed the Tweed by Peebles Bridge.

After following the approximate line of what are now the Springhill and Glen roads, double dykes reappear, canying the road to a ford on the Haystoun Burn. The rise through Camp Law Plantation is so steep as to be negotiable only by pedestrians or animals; but subsequently the way is fairly gentle, following the contours or ridge. The dyked strip varies in width between about 12 m and 50 m, and where the road emerges on to the open ground ofKailzie Hill, traces of animal tracks can be seen.

The road, increasingly indistinct, avoids the actual summits of the hills, keeping a little to the west, reaching a height of about 637 ill. It then makes south for the Yarrow and Ettrick Waters and on across the Border. Though this is generally considered to be the main drove road south, the area is criss-crossed with sections of other north-south routes, and not a few that travel roughly east-west Many would be local routes, feeding local markets.

Information from 'Exploring Scotland's Heritage: Lothian and Borders', (1985).

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