|Location Map ( geo)|
|From:||Carter Bar (NT693069)|
|Distance:||13.6 miles (21.9 km)|
|Meets:||A68, B6357, A698|
|Route outline (key)|
The A6088 is part of the shortest route from England to Hawick, and starts at Carter Bar, or to be precise about 300 m northwest of the English border at a fork junction with the A68. As the two roads diverge, the open moors of the borderland suddenly open out beyond a slight rise, and the views ahead are quite spectacular. Forestry lies to either side of the road, but that on the downhill side is generally far enough away for the view to be enjoyed over the tops of the trees!
The road is dropping now, and the views slowly disappear as the trees get closer. Fields appear on the left after a right turn, and then the road drops into a valley between the hills instead of that glorious first mile or so riding the ridge. The tiny farming settlement of Southdean flicks past, but then about a mile later a hard left at a crossroads at the hamlet of Chesters comes as a surprise.
The road is heading nearly due west now, undulating across the landscape to meet the B6357 before a steep descent to Bonchester Bridge, where the little Rule Water is crossed. Another hard left sees the B6357 leave to the right, nearly a mile since it joined for the multiplex, and then the road is climbing once more, just as steeply as the descent, onto the hills above Hawick. Off to the right, the prominent conical hill of Rubers Law is a constant landmark along the long straight over the summit.
The long final descent to the Teviot now starts, and what has been a fast enjoyable road suddenly requires more attention as it plunges into a narrow, sinuous valley. At first, the road is just running down the contours following the curve of the hill, but after a long sweeping right-hander the valley tightens considerably and the far side is just a few metres away, with the road closely following the meanders of the stream. It's not for long though, as the valley opens up again to accommodate the small hamlet of Kirkton, after which the road steepens as it drops through trees and crosses the Kirkton Burn.
The road continues to wind down, following the line of the stream, passing occasional houses and farms, with the gradient not letting up until the final left-hander sweeps around to reveal a give-way sign and the A698 just a few metres away. There is no advance signing, and the lie of the land prevents the busy road from being obvious until the junction is this close. Hard on the brakes and you should be safely at the end of the A6088.