Gypsy Palace Roads
Start location: Kirk Yetholm (NT 827 282)
End location: Elsdon Burn, 1km west of Hethpool (NT 883 283)
Geographical area: Lothian and Borders
Path Type: Rural Path, Smugglers' Path
Path distance: 7km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians
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From Kirk Yetholm, follow the section of the Pennine Way (here also St Cuthbert's Way) which goes over the south shoulder of Green Humbleton. St Cuthbert's Way heads east at NT850272, but instead stay on the Pennine Way until the border at NT853268, leaving the Way to strike south-east between White Law and Madam Law to go east to Trowupburn. There turn north for the Hetha Burn which can be followed to its meeting with the Elsdon Burn where the St Cuthbert's Way is regained. Westward along the Way is the return route to Kirk Yetholm via Elsdonburn.
OS Landranger 74
Kirk Yetholm has a long association with the Gypsy-Travellers who made the surrounding area their home well before the settlement of the valley in the 1700s. The local laird build cottages for his tenants and tradition tells more than one story of the landowner's gratitude to the local traveller community resulting in their settling in the village. Kirk Yetholm became their capital of sorts, and as a result, they erected the Gypsy Palace, where the self-styled King of the Gypsies lived through to the end of the 19th century. This walk takes you right past the Gypsy Palace, now self-catering holiday accomodation though perhaps not quite as elegant as you may suppose from the name - it's a small, white cottage on Kirk Yetholm's High Street.
One of the reason the Gypsy-Travellers favoured this area was its proximity to the border, a scant mile away to the west, which made slipping away from trouble a relatively easy affair. The route described here approximates a path used by the Gypsy-Travellers to cross the border and later loop back into Kirk Yetholm to evade pursuers. However, the leg past White Law also has documentary evidence of its long usage - referred to as White Swire it is mentioned as one of seventeen crossings of the Cheviots in a state paper of 1543 (Henry VIII Domestic Series XVIII).