The John Buchan Trail

Driving Route

The John Buchan Trail


John Buchan (1875-1940) was born in Perth and spent his childhood holidays at his grandparents’ house in Tweeddale, in the South of Scotland.

This area had no small impact on Buchan – indeed, in 1935, after his election to the House of Lords, he took the name Lord Tweedsmuir.

He was a prolific author, writing 130 books in total and contributing to a further 150, as well as producing essays, poems, articles, reviews, and journalism. His most famous works featured the character Richard Hannay, e.g. ‘The Thirty-Nine Steps’.

Despite an international reputation and a life spent travelling Africa, Europe and North America, Buchan remained devotedly attached to Scotland. In his poem 'The South Countrie', as well as in many other works, he goes further, preferring the South of Scotland to every other part of Scotland.

Don't forget to:
Check walk the John Buchan Way from Peebles to Broughton.
Or to visit Dumfries and Galloway - stay at Knockinaam Lodge where Buchan was a guest. The stream that runs past the lodge was the inspiration for the House that Hannay fled to away from the police in 'The 39 Steps'.
Buchan explored Galloway and spent a lot of time cycling, covering 65 miles of the hills in 24 hours in 1897. Three novels (Dickson McCumm trilogy) and 1 short story are Galloway set. In Buchan's landscape "Portaway" is Newton Stewart, "Gledmouth" is Dumfries, "Castle Gay" is the Castle of Old Risk and "Fallatown" is Wigtown, as well as the district of Carrick in Galloway where the action for 'Huntertower' took place.

84mi / 135.5km
Total climb:
6,757ft / 2,060m
Total descent:
6,757ft / 2,060m
Towns along route:
Peebles, Broughton, Selkirk, Innerleithen
Our best efforts have been made to ensure the accuracy of data, however the data and geographic information contained along route lines and on maps should be used for informational purposes only.

What you'll see


Towns & Villages

Peebles is a small town nestled in the Scottish Borders with strong connections to John Buchan and his family.

The 'John Buchan Story' Museum - Peebles

Museums & Exhibitions

This museum follows the extraordinary career of John Buchan through artefacts, writings and photographs.

Neidpath Castle - Peebles

Castles & Stately Homes

An unspoilt 14th century Scottish Borders Keep, visited by William Wallace, Mary Queens of Scots, James VI, Cromwell and many others - inspiring an adventurous…


Towns & Villages

The small village of Broughton in the Scotish Borders sits near the Biggar Water, near where it flows from the River Tweed. John Buchan once…

St Mary's Loch - Selkirk

Outdoor Activities

St Mary’s Loch was described in Buchan’s poem "Cross Kirk", about his father.

Philiphaugh Battle Memorial - Selkirk

Historic Buildings, Monuments & Statues, Monuments & Statues

The scene of the Battle of Philiphaugh (1645) is now the present-day rugby ground.


Towns & Villages

The market town of Selkirk is closely associated with many of the figures who inspired John Buchan.


Towns & Villages

The small town of Innerleithen sits at the confluence of the River Tweed where it meets the Leithen Water. Inver is a common prefix for…

Traquair House - Peebles

Visitor Attractions

Traquair House. This is the oldest inhabited house in Scotland and has many connections with the Jacobite Cause.

Cross Kirk, Peebles - Peebles

Ancient, Early Christian, Religious Buildings, Ruins

"Cross Kirk" is one of Buchan's famous poems where he talks of his father and the regional landsacpe.

Cademuir Circuit - Peebles

Outdoor Activities

Cademuir Hill. Peebles sits on this hill where Buchan set one of his earliest short stories.