Distance: 75 miles
Ascent: 5500 feet
Summary: A challenging day route with plenty of climbs, comprising the bulk of the route of the Tour de Lauder sportive.
Strava Route Link
The start of this route is the same as the start of the Innerleithen Loop. Follow that route to the junction just before Innerleithen where you would turn right to go into Innerleithen itself.
At this junction, turn left. You now have several miles of climbing towards Traquair and then onwards to the steeper climb of Paddy Slacks. It never gets too intense though, and you get a nice descent down the other side to the Gordon Arms hotel that sits at the crossroads in the Yarrow Valley. Go straight over at this junction, onto the Berrybush climb which takes you a few miles further up into the hills. Fantastic scenery all round here. At the top of Berrybush, you round a sharp left and head down into the forest, where you get a lovely fast descent down to Tushielaw in the Ettrick Valley. There’s a bad cattle grid near the bottom – watch out for it.
At Tushielaw junction, turn left and head 7 miles down the Ettrick Valley – the scenery here is some of the best of the route. Just before Ettrickbridge, turn left for the hardest climb of the day – Witchieknowe. This has a fairly steep pitch at the top but the view from the top is fabulous. The descent down the other side is twisty, very fast and has blind corners. Take it easy! This is a regular accident blackspot for cyclists.
At the bottom, you end up back in the Yarrow Valley – turn left for the ride back to the Gordon Arms. From there, turn right and head back up Paddy Slacks. The descent down the other side is fast going in this direction. Watch out for the really sharp left hand bend at the bottom, just over the little bridge. Then it’s a nice fast run back to Innerleithen.
From there, follow the Innerleithen Loop route over the hill to Heriot and back down to Stow.