|Location Map ( geo)|
|Distance:||57.6 miles (92.7 km)|
|Meets:||A7, B7007, A72, B7062, A708, B7009, B711, B723, B7068|
|Route outline (key)|
It starts on the A7 deep in the Moorfoot Hills. Until recently it branched off the A7 at the long-gone Heriot Station; however, this junction and the adjacent former level crossing were both closed in June 2014 when a new section opened 300 yards to the south at Sandyknowe in connection with the reinstatement of the railway, taking the road over both it and the Gala Water on a new-build alignment. It is here that the B709 now starts, with the former section, now a cul-de-sac providing local access to Heriot Station, joining shortly afterwards. The road then narrows from S2 to S1 and contours round the edge of a hill to reach the valley of the Heriot Water, which is followed upstream. The valley gets narrower and the stream is crossed on occasion before a T-junction is reached, apparently on open moorland. To the right is the B7007; the B709 TOTSOs left.
Now S2, the road heads south along another valley, that of the Dewar Burn. This is followed to the summit of a mountain pass, which joins another valley, although by now the road has narrowed again. Valleys and streams meet each other as the B709 continues downstream, eventually going through Innerleithen Golf Course. The road widens as it enters Innerleithen itself, eventually reaching a T-junction on the A72.
There is a short multiplex west along the A72 High Street before the B709 regains its number by turning left. After leaving town it crosses a narrow bridge, controlled by traffic lights, over the wide River Tweed. Before leaving the valley bottom it goes through Traquair, where the B7062 comes in from the right. The road then narrows and finds a valley to climb up. It runs in the limited space between the valley side and the edge of a wood for a few miles before reaching a summit of over 1100 feet. This leads into another narrow valley. However, this is not wooded, so the scenery is easily visible.
After a hairpin bend around the edge of a hill the B709 widens to reach a crossroads on the A708. On the far side it narrows again almost immediately before crossing a bridge over the Yarrow Water. The bridge is S1 - but then the road is as well. The road then passes through a wood before continuing to climb, this time contouring along the edge of a valley. The road enters a wood and bends sharply to the left, eventually reaching Crosslee and a T-junction. Left is the B7009 and the B709 TOTSOs right. A few hundred yards further on it reaches the Tushielaw Inn and the B711.
The road continues downstream along the relatively wide valley of the Ettrick Water as far as the hamlet of Ettrick itself. Here the road bends to the left to cross the river and then climb along the valley of a tributary into the woods. Interestingly, the Ordnance Survey only now decide to map the road as being narrow, even though it has been S1 for most of its journey. The stream is followed closely, although because of all the trees visibility is difficult. Eventually the road reaches a summit and the edge of the wood, with excellent scenery ahead. A valley is visible slightly to the right but the road prefers to stay higher up, contouring halfway up the valley side. It widens to S2 not long afterwards.
The road zigzags and eventually heads due south, continuing downstream across terrain it is difficult to find new ways to describe. A stream is crossed and the road then runs past the Tibetan Centre, whose oriental buildings look odd in the Scottish landscape. The Himalayas may have mountains and valleys but not Scottish wildlife! A mile or so further on the road reaches Eskdalemuir. The B723 comes in from the right by the church, after which the B709 bends sharply left to cross the River White Esk. The valley is followed downstream for another couple of miles before the road bears to the left and climbs up into the hills and woods once more. This is purely to avoid a long meander to the southwest.
By the time the river is met again it is simply called the Esk (having merged with the Black Esk en route). This is soon crossed at a narrow arched bridge. The river is followed for a few more miles downstream, detouring once or twice along straighter - but hillier - routes to avoid meanders. Eventually, after travelling for the best part of 60 miles, the road reaches Langholm.
The B709 enters town along Thomas Telford Road. In the centre of town the B7068 comes in from the right. This marks the original southern end of the B709, as it ended on the A709 here. However, that road had been downgraded by the 1970s and so the B709 now continues a short distance further on. It crosses the River Esk to end at a T-junction on the A7, which has taken roughly the same distance to get here - but is both wider and more built-up.