Reece Wilson’s 5 Favourite Places in the Scottish Borders

by Scotland Starts Here, 2nd March 2022
Reece Wilson in Innerleithen
Reece Wilson’s 5 Favourite Places in the Scottish Borders

You might know proud Borderer Reece Wilson for becoming world champion at the downhill mountain biking championships in 2020. But in this first of a series of blogs, it’s all about what’s close to home. Reece highlights some of the locations that are special to him in the Borders and the wider South of Scotland, which he describes as ‘a world-class environment’ for mountain biking and outdoors adventures.


The Eildons 

On a clear day I can almost see the Eildon Hills from my bedroom window. I only ever climbed up them once as a kid and it felt like it took the whole day… they felt huge! Now as I’ve grown up, drove past them thousands of times to go riding or visit friends, they’ve become a stable location for me to visit. I’ll often take the dogs for a walk up there or ride my e-bike to the top to challenge myself. It feels really special when you get to the summit and look around – in a 360 degree gaze you can see Galashiels, Melrose, Newtown St Boswells and so much more. It may sound strange but one of my favourite things to do is grab my e-bike on a day when the weather is wild, wind blowing and gusting like crazy, rain coming down sideways, and head up to the top of all three hills. There’s rarely anyone else crazy enough to do the same so you get all three hills to yourself. Standing on the top at a 45 degree angle leaning into the wind feeling the strength of the elements push against you always grounds me in life and makes me appreciate where I live. The feeling of getting out in those conditions and doing something tough gives you a deep feeling of accomplishment. I’d definitely recommend a good raincoat and some hiking boots for this one.

The Eildon Hills | Melrose

Lauder Golf Course

Lauder Golf Course is only 12 minutes away from my home village, it’s subtly placed on the northerly facing hillside behind the town of Lauder. I started playing golf two years ago after being introduced by a friend. The very first game I had was with some friends at another course in the Borders. The next again day I felt the need to go again but by myself this time, to try and figure it out. I borrowed some clubs from a friend and headed straight to Lauder Golf Course. I’d driven past it so many times and never thought anything of it. I’d been getting frustrated on my way up the first two holes, but something stopped me on the third hole and made me look up in a moment tranquil silence. I was completely alone on the top of a hill with yet another stunning view of the Borders, the late afternoon sun warming my back as I stood still just smiling away. I was mesmerised by the fact I’d never have seen this hill if it hadn’t been for golf. Two years down the line and I still love going to Lauder on summer evenings to play a round and watch some of the nicest sunsets I’ve seen. Whether the golf is good or bad, I always seem to find peace on that hill.

Lauder | Scottish Borders

The Three Brethren

The Three Brethren has become one of my favourite riding locations over the last few years. It’s a 30-minute drive from my home but it can also be accessed on foot or bike from Selkirk, Galashiels or the Tweed Valley which is pretty cool. The view of the Borders from the top is absolutely stunning on a clear day but the reason I love it so much is the sheer amount of trails and styles of riding that come from one hill. We have a downhill track, steep technical trail bike trails and fast-flowing trails. Along with the riding trails there’s always plenty of walkers who have always enjoyed sharing the hill with mountain bikers and horse riders. It’s definitely a hard pedal to the top but you’ll be rewarded with some fantastic views, trails and wildlife. 

Three Brethern | Selkirk

Kelso

The Town of Kelso is somewhere I have fond memories of as a child. My mum worked as a lifeguard in the swimming pool and would take us swimming regularly as kids. The town square still has old cobble roads leading to the centre which is very unique to Kelso. It’s always a busy place with a good buzz of activity. A few years ago some of the town members worked very hard to create an outdoor skatepark on the grass pitch just outside the town square. I enjoy going down to the skatepark on summer evenings to ride BMX, scooters, skateboards or whatever else I fancy trying, everyone is always up to swap bikes or boards and try new things. It’s amazing to go back after a few months of travelling and see the new kids trying it out for the first time or seeing how far some of the kids have progressed with their skills. It’s cool to see kids blissfully unaware of adult life, just having fun, and it’s a great reminder to live with your heart and try to forget about your age from time to time and just do what makes you happy. Along with the skatepark they have “angry flats” bike park right off the main road as you come onto town on the A6089. The Kelso wheelers bike club run a kids club on Friday afternoons which gets busier and busier each year. Kelso has an environment that feels so friendly and helps kids thrive outdoors with a number of activities. 

Kelso | Scottish Borders

Eyemouth  

Who doesn’t like fish and chips at the beach!? Eyemouth is famous in our family and many others for its fish and chips, beach front views and the odd spot of seal spotting. My parents would take us there as kids a couple of times a year to play on the beach and get some dinner. It’s somewhere I’ll only go a few times a year but somewhere I enjoy going just to watch the world go by. The fishing boats come in and out, people walking dogs on the beach, people swimming in the sea during the hotter days of the year and the seagulls causing the occasional bit of havoc. It’s hard to put the sounds and smells into words but there’s something special about little ocean towns that just has to be experienced.

Eyemouth | Scottish Borders