|Distance:||43.8 miles (70.5 km)|
|Meets:||A7, B6399, A6088, B6405, B6358, A68, A6090, B6400, B6401, B6352, A699, A6089, A697, A6112, B6350, B6470, A1, B6435, A1167|
|Route outline (key)|
The A698 is generally on a SW/NE alignment and is 44 miles long, lying from west to east in the historic counties of Roxburghshire (26 miles), Berwickshire (5 miles) and Northumberland (13 miles). Its alignment reflects the direction of river flow in these parts, and throughout its length it runs beside or near major ones: the south bank of the Teviot from Hawick to Kelso, the north bank of the Tweed from Kelso to Coldstream, the south bank of the Tweed from Coldstream to Berwick.
Given its proximity to rivers, the road is never at any great height, but it shares the feature of many in the area of scenic surroundings and occasional distant views. It is for the most part a good driving road with a nice mix of straights and gentle bends. The four towns mentioned above are the only urban areas on the entire length, the occasional village not warranting this description.
Section 1: Hawick – Kelso
In Hawick the A698 starts on the A7 just north of the River Teviot, crosses the river heading east of south on the former alignment of that road, then turns left at a roundabout to head north east out of the town, with the B6399 (also ex-A7) continuing south west along the High Street. Soon after leaving the built-up area the A698 reaches an important junction on the right. This is with the A6088 for Bonchester Bridge and the A68 near Carter Bar, which may not sound of much significance, but it provides a link with north east England while other roads south from Hawick lead to the Carlisle area. A couple of miles further is the large village of Denholm, with the B6405 to the left for Lilliesleaf, then comes a sharp left-hand bend to follow the river where the B6358 continues ahead for Jedburgh via a hilly route.
In another 3 miles we come to the A68, where we turn right and multiplex with it for another mile until Bonjedward, where the A68 turns due south for Jedburgh and the A698 turns off left to regain its number. There is actually a third side to this triangle, a tiny road usually marked on maps as a spur of the A698 but Scottish Borders Council give it its original number, the A6090.
The road now continues north east towards Kelso 10 miles away. On the way there is a junction with the B6400 on the left for Ancrum north of the Teviot, and with the B6401 on the right for Morebattle on the edge of the Cheviots. Then after a stretch unusually free of bends the outskirts of Kelso are reached. Here we lose the Teviot, which flows into the Tweed; from now on it is that river we follow.
The A698 used to go through the centre of Kelso but now bypasses it to the south, leaving the old alignment at the point where the line of a disused railway crosses. The trackbed is used for the modern bypass for about a mile, with midway along the B6352 making a staggered crossing, left for the town centre and right for Town Yetholm. The bypass then bridges without a junction the B6350 (it met the B6352) for Cornhill-on-Tweed via the south bank of the river, and crosses the Tweed on a new bridge before reaching a roundabout on the eastern edge of the town centre. Here two roads end - straight ahead is the A6089 for Edinburgh via Gordon, left is the A699 for the town centre and ultimately Selkirk. The A698 turns right and starts the stretch along the north bank of the Tweed. It too will eventually reach Cornhill, but a better route from the bypass would have been to take the B6352 towards the centre of Kelso and pick up the B6350, avoiding two river crossings, a more circuitous road and the passage through Coldstream.
Section 2: Kelso – Tweedmouth
5 miles after Kelso the border with Berwickshire is reached, then in a few more there is a TOTSO junction with the A697 coming south from Greenlaw, which has priority. The A697 and A698 now multiplex for a couple of miles (the A698 being dominant, surprisingly: the multiplex is its only primary section), which includes passing through Coldstream, original home of the eponymous Guards, and entering England and Northumberland via a bridge over the Tweed. Between the town centre and the bridge, there is a junction on the left with the A6112 for Swinton and Duns.
In less than a mile from Coldstream Bridge there is a sharp bend to the left: here, the B6350 from Kelso joins on the right, and we are in the large village of Cornhill-on-Tweed. At the far end of the village there is a roundabout, the A697 leaves on the right for Wooler and our A698 goes straight on. We are now within a dozen miles of Berwick, a stretch of long straights with occasional bends, some sharp. Among a series of bends the River Till, a tributary of the Tweed, is crossed at Twizel Bridge, then in the middle of a straight there is a junction with the B6470, angling back on the left for the village of Norham, home to a picturesque ruined castle and a bridge over the Tweed back into Scotland.
In another few miles there is a roundabout where the A1 Berwick bypass is crossed. On the far side the A698 used to go through the village of East Ord, but this has now been bypassed to the north, the new road ending on a roundabout where the old one rejoins. Also at this roundabout the B6435 to the right provides a route through the suburbs to the Berwick Rangers football ground, but we go half left and soon bear right under the ECML and end at a roundabout on the A1167 (ex-A1) in Tweedmouth, the southern part of Berwick.
Original Author(s): Ian 198 and Dunsbus
The A698 has historically been part of a cross border route between Carlisle and Berwick-upon-Tweed. When the MOT were allocating road numbers in 1921, there was some debate between the Scottish and English Ministries of Transport about the A7 from Carlisle to Hawick, and then the A698 from Hawick to Berwick becoming the A7, and the remainder of the A7 to Edinburgh being the "A7a" (in a similar fashion to Nxxbis routes in France).