|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||33 miles (53.1 km)|
|Meets:||A68, B6356, B6397, A6089, B6364, A697, B6456, A6112, B6355, B6437, A1, A1167|
|Former Number(s):||B6363, B6364, B6355|
|Route outline (key)|
The A6105 runs roughly on an east-west axis for 33 miles, all but three of which are in the historic Scottish county of Berwickshire, the remainder being in English Northumberland. Extensive views of attractive countryside are to be had from most of its length, which is rural apart from the handful of small towns and villages en route.
Section 1: Earlston - Duns
From the western end, the road leaves the A68 on the west side of Earlston, serves as the town's long main street then enters open country via some gentle rises and sweeping bends. Shortly the B6397 for Kelso forks to the right, after which it is 5 miles to Gordon, just preceded by the remains of Greenknowe Tower and a dismantled railway bridge: our road follows closely a branch of the erstwhile North British Railway between St Boswells on the Waverley Line and Reston on the ECML. Gordon has a crossroads with the A6089 for Edinburgh and Kelso, and two interesting features:
- No matter when you pass through, hardly anyone is ever seen on the street;
- The old cemetery has a gravestone for the family of John Pitt, two of whose daughters died 122 years apart.
After another five scenic miles the B6364 angles in on the right from Kelso, then we enter Greenlaw and reach a T junction with the A697 for Edinburgh and Coldstream. Turning right, the A6105 multiplexes briefly with this then turns left in the town centre to regain its number. Greenlaw used to be the county town of Berwickshire before losing out to Duns, the county buildings being the Town Hall in Greek Revival style which is to be seen at this point, though in need of restoration.
The A6105 climbs steeply out of Greenlaw then runs at a generally higher level than before to Duns, seven miles away. About halfway the B6456 from Westruther merges on the left, then comes a gentle fall on a straight stretch apparently extending ahead indefinitely. This is confusing as it is an unclassified road to the village of Gavinton which goes straight on, our road swinging sharp left and falling through a series of bends.
On the outskirts of Duns an unclassified road to the left is signposted to Longformacus and Gifford, this being one of the few roads across the Lammermuirs, then we enter the town and pass along Newtown Street. This is the location of the Jim Clark Room, a permanent memorial to the racing driver killed in 1968. Though born in Fife, Jim was brought up in a farming family in these parts and is commemorated too by the annual Jim Clark Memorial Rally held on local roads closed for the occasion. Shortly along the street the A6112 for Grantshouse on the A1 leaves on the left, and we multiplex with it (with the A6105 number dominant) round a corner and down a hill to a roundabout, where it goes straight on towards Coldstream and we turn left.
Section 2: Duns - Berwick
Berwick is now not too far away, but before then there is a pair of sharp bends round the edge of the grounds of Manderston House, then Chirnside, a village on a hill which we bypass to the south, albeit through a 30 mph limit. Jim Clark is buried in the cemetery here and there is another memorial in the centre of the village. Chirnside is of distinct road interest as shortly before, the B6355 from Preston joins from the north, then leaves to the north through the village centre – a multiplex cannon. There is a further multiplex to the south of the village, with the B6437 to the right for Coldstream and shortly to the left for the A1 a few miles south east of Grantshouse.
After the small village of Foulden the A6105 enters England and soon reaches the A1 Berwick bypass, continuing on the other side into the town. We cannot cross here, however, as the junction is a staggered right-left and as a safety measure the right-then-left movement from each limb of the A6105 has been blocked - so what is effectively a detached portion continues for another mile before merging with the A1167 (the A1 in pre-bypass days) just north of the railway station.
The A6105 came into being in the mid-1920s as an upgrade of two Class II roads: the B6364 from Greenlaw to Chirnside and then the B6355 from there into Berwick. Owing to the priorities of the former Class II roads, the A699 ended on the A6105 just to the west of that road's end on the A1. In 1935 the A6105 was extended further west along the B6363 to Earlston to give the road its current route.
Original Author(s): Ian 198