|Location Map ( geo)
|18 miles (29 km)
|A7, B6453, B6359, A68, B6352,B6461, A698, A6089,
|A698, B6356, B6355
|Old route now:
|Route outline (key)
Now just 18 miles long, the A699 runs generally east-west in the historic Scottish counties of Selkirkshire (2 miles) and Roxburghshire (16 miles). It is largely rural, carries little traffic and is just one of many scenic and good driving roads in this part of the Borders.
Section 1: Selkirk - St Boswells
At its western end, the A699 starts on the A7 just south of Selkirk and makes its undulating way eastwards to St Boswells, 9 miles away. This length is split neatly into three by junctions with classified roads - after 3 miles the B6453 for Midlem is on the right, after another 3 the B6359 crosses (left for Melrose, right for Lilliesleaf), then we come to St Boswells and cross the A68 (left for Earlston, right for Jedburgh), which has priority at our staggered right/left junction.
Section 2: St Boswells - Kelso
Whether St Boswells is a small town or a large village is debatable, but anyway we avoid the centre further to the north and come near to the River Tweed, also to the north, which is followed all the way to Kelso. The only village of any size in the final 10 miles is Maxton, a mile or so from St Boswells, nor are there any junctions with classified roads. About halfway to Kelso, Roxburgh is signposted to the right - this gave the county its name but is now just a small village with a huge mound where there used to be a castle.
From the mound there are fine views of its replacement, Floors Castle, on the other side of the Tweed.
Kelso is a remarkable road hub, with about a dozen (A, B and unclassified) converging, and is also the confluence of the rivers Teviot and Tweed. The A699 passes through a narrow gap between the two, then crosses the Teviot before coming to a road junction just south of a bridge over the Tweed. The junction used to be with the A698, but this now bypasses the town to the south so it is the B6352 we meet, still at a TOTSO to the left. The Tweed bridge we now cross is a noteworthy 5-arched structure built by John Rennie in 1803 to replace one destroyed by floods six years earlier, and was used as a model for the Waterloo Bridge which he built in London in 1811. The way into the town is past the ruined abbey on the right, then we come to the splendid square containing the Court House and other attractive buildings, the road surface now being setts rather than tarmac. The A699 has a TOTSO right here into Woodmarket and shortly ends at a roundabout on the edge of the town centre - the A698 is to the right for Hawick and straight on for Coldstream, the A6089 is to the left for Gordon and points north, actually signposted Edinburgh, 40 miles away in a straight line and rather more by road.
In 1922 the A699 ended on the A698 on the right bank of the Tweed in Kelso. However, it was extended in the late 1920s via a short multiplex into Kelso town centre, leaving the A698 via a cannon and running roughly parallel to that road as far as Berwick, ending on the then-A1 just to the west of Berwick railway station. The original number of most of this route was the B6356.
However, the extension was downgraded again in the 1970s, mostly becoming the B6461. As a result, the A699 is now the only 3-digit A road in the 6 zone to be completely in Scotland. The current eastern end has moved from its original position as it has taken over the pre-bypass A698 in Kelso town centre.
Original Author(s): Ian 198