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B6355

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B6355
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (7)
From:  Tranent (NT412719)
To:  Eyemouth (NT937642)
Via:  Lammermuir Hills
Distance:  42 miles (67.6 km)
Meets:  B6371, B6363, A6093, B6368, B6369, B6370, B6365, A6112, A6105, B6437, A1107, A1107
Former Number(s):  B6364, A1107
Old route now:  A6112, A6105
Highway Authorities

East Lothian • Scottish Borders

Traditional Counties

Berwickshire • East Lothian

Route outline (key)
B6355 Tranent – Preston
(A6112) Preston
B6355 Preston – Chirnside
(A6105) Chirnside
B6355 Chirnside – Eyemouth
B6355 Chirnside – Berwick upon Tweed

At 42 miles long on a generally WNW to ESE alignment, the B6355 is one of the longest B roads in Scotland, and one of a very few roads across the Lammermuir Hills. It is a great driving experience for most of its length, and recommended for anyone travelling between the Edinburgh and Berwick upon Tweed areas with time to spare.

Route

Tranent – Gifford

Heading east out of Tranent

At its western extremity, the B6355 starts as a left fork from the B6371 on the outskirts of Tranent. Two long straights lead south east across fields to the small village of New Winton. A large village green straddles the road, and while on one side it is surrounded by pleasant old stone houses, the other side is mirrored with inter-war council housing. The route continues across pleasant open countryside, which is much improved from the days, long gone, when coal mining was the main local industry. The road becomes windier, and another mile leads to an entrance on the right into the grounds of Winton House, a grand mansion dating from the 1100s. A strip of trees then lines the south side of a long straight, at the end of which the route kinks right, to a T junction from where the B6363 bears off left for Longniddry. At the end of the next short straight, the route enters the large village of Pencaitland.

Strictly speaking, the B6355 passes through East Pencaitland, although the two settlements have only the narrow valley of the Tyne Water separating them. After passing just a couple of houses, the A6093 (left for Haddington, right for the A68 north of Pathhead) is crossed at a slightly offset crossroads. The route then skirts the northern edge of the village, passing the park and a large modern housing estate, before entering an area of woodland. The River Tyne is crossed on the narrow Spilmersford Bridge, with the gatehouse to Saltoun Hall standing at the far end. A sharp left turn takes the route around the edge of the grounds and onto a long straight, which climbs steadily to East Saltoun. The village sits near the crest of a hill, and the houses and tall spire of the church are prominent on the skyline on the approach. After passing the church, the route takes a sharp left from Main Street onto South Crescent, to follow an almost easterly course out of the village once more.

The route now contours across the hillside, with the lower slopes of the Lammermuir Hills climbing up to the right, and expansive views across fields towards the distant coast to the left. The hills are skirted for some distance as the route curves gently across fields and through patches of woodland. Along the way the B6368 (ex-A6137) makes a staggered crossing, left for Bolton and right for Humbie, and soon after the B6355 dips down between high hedges and trees to cross the small Newhall Burn, before climbing back up. Another block of woodland lies on the right, screening a golf course, and then the route sweeps round to the left at a wide crossroads at the entrance to the pretty village of Gifford.

Gifford - Cranshaws

Saltoun Road leads through the trees into the village. There are houses here, they are just hidden behind the greenery or high stone walls that lines the roadside. Gifford is a pretty village of old stone houses and has a notable white church in a circular churchyard. This stands at the head of the Main Street, and comes into view as soon as the trees recede. To the right, the driveway to Yester House leads off along the south side of the village greeen, while to the left the unusual village hall stands back behind the Mercat Cross. The Main Street then leads up past the hotel and shops to a fork in front of the church. Here the B6369 heads left for Haddington while the B6355 forks right onto Duns Road and soon starts climbing. A series of short straights lead out across the fields, and after about a mile the B6370 bears left for Stenton, this being the last classified road junction for the next 15 miles or so. The route dips down from the junction and then climbs steeply up past the 200m contour, with some stunning views of the Lammermuirs from the summit.

A steep climb over the Lammermuirs

A steep descent drops the route down into the narrow, wooded valley of the Danskine Burn. Here the route crosses the outflow from Danskine Loch (a tributary) and then a steep winding climb leads back onto the open hillside. The route is now climbing continuously but gently, following the Danskine Burn upstream, and there are often good views ahead, and more particularly behind towards the Firth of Forth. The fields come to a rather abrupt end at a cattle grid in a line of trees, and beyond open moorland rises up, dotted with sheep and purple with the heather in the late summer. The route continues to climb steadily, until a particularly steep gradient is met, with accompanying right and left bends sweeping up the hillside. This ultimately lifts the route up to a windswept summit just shy of 400m. The bleak moorland stretches ahead, with the road dipping into the heather and losing any hope of a view before it climbs once more.

The route continues climbing across unfenced high heather moor, with sheep more likely to be encountered than other vehicles. The gradient is much easier as the route crosses another cattle grid and then sweeps round to the left as an unclassified road continues straight on for Longformacus and Duns. The overall summit is soon reached at just over 425m, from where a spectacular view opens up ahead across hilltops and windfarms, and a moment later way down to the Whiteadder Reservoir. Just after this summit, a long straight, over a mile long, opens out ahead and drops down a long ridge, before skirting the lower slopes of Kingside Hill. The view ahead is mesmerising, the descent steep enough, but all too soon the levels out as it kinks left then right to drop into the valley of the Kell Burn, where another unclassified road which climbs across the moors to Nunraw Abbey and Garvald angles back sharply to the left. The burn is followed downstream to the reservoir, where the route takes to a causeway to cross the northern tip.

The route skirts the northern shore, passing a scattering of houses - the first for many miles - and a watersports centre. A horseshoe bend then leads to a steep climb around Hungry Snout, a projecting finger of Hog Rig which pokes into the reservoir. An equally steep descent through trees brings the road out below the grassy dam, which can be seen behind to the right. Here the route crosses the old county boundary to enter Berwickshire. The road has been getting narrower for some time, but the centre line has now disappeared, and there are a handful of places where cars need to slow to pass each other. The first comes as the route climbs away from the small Whiteadder Water, which has cut into the steep hillside below the road. Before long, however, the road widens again as it drops back to the valley floor. It then follows the narrow, steep sided valley downstream to the scattered village of Cranshaws, which is strung along the roadside and across the surrounding hills for over a mile.

Cranshaws - Preston

Smiddyhill Bridge

Within this scattered community, the route turns southwards as it follows the valley, and almost immediately sweeps across the Whiteadder Water on a modern skew bridge. The white line has resumed, and the route climbs a little to keep away from the river which is once more cutting into the bank. A small group of buildings, including Cranshaws church and village hall is quickly passed, after which the route drops back down to the river bank. A couple more bends lead to the old narrow Smiddyhill Bridge, which carries the route back across the river. It then hugs the river's east bank for almost half a mile before the river meanders across to the far side of the valley. Road and valley then curve round to head east once more, as far as Ellemford. Here the river swings round onto a large northerly loop which the B6355 avoids by crossing the handsome Ellemford Bridge.

On the far side of the bridge, the route continues ahead into a steep, narrow valley, and climbs steadily as it winds upstream through the trees. A watershed, at just over 200m, is quickly reached, with the hills still rising higher on either side. This cleft in the hills slowly opens up, as the route starts to descend, with views out to the lower lying land towards the coast. To reach the river again, the route winds down through the trees to a TOTSO where it turns left, the road continuing straight on being the B6365 for Duns. The next stretch is a narrow S1, with gravelly passing places and signs warning that the road is liable to flooding. The small Mill Burn is followed down to the Whiteadder Water, which is crossed by an Irish Bridge - a concrete structure designed to become a ford when the river is in spate, hence the flood warnings. The white line resumes as the route climbs away from the river, crossing over a hill and passing a large farm to reach Preston.

The village of Preston sits in a hollow in the hills on the north side of the Whiteadder Valley. The B6355 runs in past some houses to meet a Give Way junction with the A6112 for Duns heading off to the right. The two routes then multiplex to the left along the long, winding main street to a T junction at the far end. Here the A6112 bends sharply to the left for Grantshouse on the A1, while the B6355 turns right, and quickly leaves the village behind.

Preston – Chirnside

The next section of the route is relatively short, but a superb drive and complete contrast from the windswept moorland summits of the Lammermuirs. There are long level straights connected by gentle bends, with low hills rising to the left and the Whiteadder Water away to the right. A scattering of farms sit amongst the fields, and there are strips of woodland along the roadside here and there. A left turn climbs up to the large farm of Lintlaw, which has been visible on the skyline for some time, and then the route has to negotiate a sharp double bend at Hammerhall. At the second bend here, a minor road continues ahead to cross the river and meet the A6105, but the B6355 swings left onto another long straight. The next bend drops the route down onto the riverbank, where it curves slightly around the outside of a wide meander. The river itself is hardly visible, however, screened by trees and a thick hedgerow.

This is the last time that the route encounters the Whiteadder Water, which now meanders off southwards. The B6355 continues southeast, winding down to cross a tributary at Chirnsidebridge. Soon after it has to give way to the A6105 at an acute junction. The main road has come in from Duns to the right for Duns, and the two routes then multiplex eastwards into Chirnside. The routes separate again at the entrance to the village, where the A6105 swings round to the right to skirt the southern edge of the village, while the B6355 continues ahead along Main Street. This is therefore a rare example of a so-called multiplex cannon, where the two routes bounce off each other through the multiplex, rather than crossing which is more common. Chirnside's long Main Street is narrow and winding, hemmed in by old buildings and stone walls. It widens a little as it starts climbing into the centre of this hilltop village, and widens further as shops start appearing on either side.

At the crossroads in the centre of Chirnside there is a memorial to the great World Champion racing driver Jim Clark, raised in these parts and killed in a Formula 2 race in Germany in 1968. His grave is in the cemetery down the hill to the right. More old stone houses line the roadside as the B6355 continues east along Main Street, although a couple of gaps on the right reveal a fine view. At the far end of the village the B6437 is met at a staggered crossroads. The junction has been realigned in the past, so the B6355 now has to TOTSO left, with the B6437 then also TOTSOing to the left almost immediately after. A small picnic site lies just beyond the junction, offering stunning views south to the hills of Northumberland.

Chirnside - Eyemouth

passing under the East Coast Main Line

Having climbed all the way through Chirnside, the route finds itself on a gentle hilltop, and soon the views to the north open out as well. The route is heading roughly ENE and strides out across the undulating fields, passing scattered copses and just a single farm. At length it turns more northerly and starts to descend towards the distant coast. It drops steadily down, following a small burn before the ECML crosses overhead. Now heading almost north, the final descent into the valley of the Eye Water includes a short straight followed by a couple of sharp bends, the latter turning the route onto Ayton Bridge which crosses the Eye to enter the large village of Ayton. Just before the bridge, the B6355 has yet another TOTSO as it turns left onto the pre-bypass route of the A1.Another TOTSO soon follows at the southern end of the High Street, where the route turns right onto Old Town, thus resuming its historic line.

As Old Town starts to climb, the houses on the right soon give way to trees in the grounds of Ayton Castle, while the houses on the left are somewhat newer than first appearances suggest. There are a couple of older stone properties, but most are late twentieth century and designed with the local vernacular in mind. The gradient steepens around some windy bends as the village is left behind, and the route curves around the estate. It then passes over the A1 Ayton Bypass, without a junction to begin its last dash for the coast. A long straight past Ayton Mains leads to a steep wooded descent back down to the banks of the Eye Water, although the river is well hidden by trees. Before long the first houses on Millbank Road are encountered as the route enters Eyemouth. Milbank Road plunges back into woodland before reaching a crossroads with the A1107 relief road around the town centre. The B6355 continues ahead along Victoria Road, which winds along the west bank of the Eye and is the older route of the A1107.

Eyemouth is a fishing port, still with an active fleet and busy harbour. There was a disaster in 1881, when many boats, here and elsewhere on this coast, were lost in a sudden storm. In Eyemouth 129 died and about a third of the fleet either capsized or were smashed on the rocks outside the harbour. The event is commemorated in the museum. With narrow streets in the town centre, Eyemouth has a one-way system in force and so the B6355 splits at the far end of Victoria Road. Northbound traffic continues ahead along Albert Road to the far end of the one-way system, from where southbound traffic uses the High Street and Church Street, with a double TOTSO along Harbour Road to rejoin Victoria Road. Eyemouth's town centre is a picturesque jumble of buildings lining narrow winding streets. On the High Street, a carp park by the supermarket gives a fine view out to sea, and a little further along lies the tiny market place, a triangular bulge in the otherwise narrow street.

After two-way traffic is restored, it is only a few hundred yards along Northburn Road to the end of the B6355. This last short stretch is predominantly lined with bungalows, and then the route ends at a simple crossroads. As the route has taken a northerly loop through the town centre, this is back on the A1107 which was crossed on the way in to the town – another rare configuration.

History

The original eastern end of the B6355

Back in 1922 the B6355 ran from Tranent to Chirnside with a short multiplex with the B6366 in Preston. There was also a short multiplex with the B6364 in Chirnside, from where the route continued south east to enter England and end on the A1 to the north of Berwick upon Tweed town centre. The road from Chirnside to the nearside of Eyemouth was originally the eastern end of the B6364.

By 1927 the A6105 had been created, assuming the eastern end of the B6355 and it had also taken over much of the B6364. To stop the B6364 having two unconnected sections some distance apart the B6355 was diverted over the ex-B6364 from Chirnside to Eyemouth, to end on the B1343, which itself was soon upgraded to become the A1107. By 1929, the A6112 has also been created, relegating the B6355 to be the junior partner in the multiplex in Preston. The loop through Eyemouth town centre appears to have originally been numbered as the B6395, and is shown as such on several OS large scale maps between 1950 and 1970. This could be a simple misprint, but if not it probably became the B6355 when the A1107 relief road was built.




B6355
Crossings
Roads
Related Pictures
View gallery (7)
Snowy junction at Tranent - Geograph - 1650949.jpgThe road to Pencaitland -B6355- - Geograph - 1650969.jpgSpilmersford Bridge - Geograph - 363421.jpgRailway bridge over the B6355 near Ayton - Geograph - 3855434.jpgEllemford Bridge on the B6355 - Geograph - 6124064.jpg
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Berwick-upon-Tweed
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B6360 • B6361 • B6362 • B6363 • B6364 • B6365 • B6366 • B6367 • B6368 • B6369 • B6370 • B6371 • B6372 • B6373 • B6374(N) • B6374(S) • B6375 • B6376 • B6377 • B6378 • B6379
B6380 • B6381 • B6382 • B6383 • B6384 • B6385 • B6386 • B6387 • B6388 • B6389 • B6390 • B6391 • B6392 • B6393 • B6394 • B6395 • B6396 • B6397 • B6398 • B6399
Earlier iterationsB6322 • B6325 • B6326 • B6340 • B6350 • B6356 • B6363 • B6366 • B6372 • B6374 • B6377 • B6379 • B6383 • B6395

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