Wallaceneuk parkrun in Kelso.

A railway once branched off the Edinburgh-Carlisle Waverley line at St Boswells in the Borders and led the ten-and-a-half miles to Kelso. Like so many of these once vital lines, this North British Railway branch is long gone.

Today it forms part of a great network of paths and trails, well used by walkers, runners, horse riders and cyclists – who don’t seem to let the mud put them off!

The old railway initially terminated at “Wallace Nick”, just outside the Border town of Kelso, until 1851 when the line was extended into the town itself.

Wallaceneuk is now the location for the start of the local parkrun, which sees an average of 55 to 60 people complete the 5k course each Saturday, as well as part of a number of local trails.

I haven’t done much parkrun tourism – the only time I’ve taken part outside of Inverness is when we were in Shetland last summer, and I couldn’t resist the temptation to hop on the ferry to Bressa on the morning before we left the archipelago.

So in the Borders at the weekend, I decided to jog from our accommodation in Kelso to the start of the parkrun, just off the old Jedburgh Road at Wallaceneuk.

The short route to the start involved crossing the town’s historic Rennie Bridge, built in 1804. Designed by engineer John Rennie, this Kelso crossing was used as the blueprint for the much larger Waterloo Bridge in London, which was constructed across the Thames and completed in 1817.

The stone arch bridge in the capital was demolished in the 1930s after subsidence was found to be undermining one of the foundations – not to mention an increase in road traffic demanding a more modern crossing.

Rennie’s Bridge in Kelso was a precursor to the stone arch Waterloo Bridge in London, which was later demolished.

The parkrun begins about 600 metres down a muddy track off the old Jedburgh road, and there were a good bunch of people already there as I arrived with 10 minutes to spare before the start.

The run itself is an out and back route following the old railway line. It begins with a little drop to reach the flatter former railway which it then follows above the River Teviot to Roxburgh – just short of the viaduct – where it performs a very small loop before returning the same way.

It’s quite narrow for two-way traffic in places, especially when the “muddy middle” section is wet (it wasn’t too bad today) but there was a friendly atmosphere, as there always is at parkrun. I particularly liked the permanent wooden kilometre markers placed along the route – a nice touch!

I finished the Wallaceneuk parkrun in 10th place (out of 60) in a time of 23 minutes and 33 seconds – a good result for me! I can recommend the event if you’re in the Borders.

One thought on “A historic Border route to the Wallaceneuk parkrun in Kelso”
  1. Hi John, great article! Just looking at your latest runs. I’m only managing one per week at present, (6miles), but will be increasing training from May in readiness for the Great North Run. Love to all the family. Dad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.