Old Road from Lauder over Lammer Law
Start location: Longyester (NT 533 680)
End location: Carfraemill Hotel, A697 (NT 508 534)
Geographical area: Lothian and Borders
Path Type: Medieval Road, Trade Route
Path distance: 18km
Accessibility info: Suitable for pedestrians, Suitable for Bikes
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Newsflash (August 2016): ScotWays has completed the first stage of its ongoing Lammermuirs project with the publication of a new map of the Lammermuirs which includes this Old Road from Lauder, the Addinston Hill Ridge Route, the Muir Road and other historic routes. Associated signposting work is ongoing, but although signage surveys have already been undertaken by ScotWays volunteers, additional feedback on routes in the Lammermuirs generally and on signage in particular continues to be very welcome.
From Long Yester, head south-west by Blinkbonny Wood and up to the east shoulder of Lammer Law. Continue over Crib Law (509m) to Tollishill and by the Kelphope Burn down by the minor road to the Carfraemill Hotel by the junction of A697 and A68, one-and-a-half km from Oxton.
This route follows rough vehicle tracks and minor roads, with easily openable gates - it is cycleable.
OS Landranger 66 (Edinburgh & Midlothian area)
This very old route forms both a parish boundary and the old county boundary over Lammer Law. Medieval roads quite often follow parish boundaries as this one does.
The Old Statistical Account (1791-99) for Lauder refers to the encampment at Tollis-hill on the road between Lauder and Haddington. Although today the Lammer Law Road is generally thought of as running from Longyester to Carfraemill, an older variant line can also be traced. If heading south, just short of Tollishill the older line stays on higher ground via Tollishill Dod, Hog Hill and Addinston Hill before descending to the Leader Water at Wiselawmill. Both the Carfraemill and Addinston variants are marked as roads on Greenwood, Fowler and Sharp's 1826 map of The County of Berwick - and the former is clearly mapped on Aaron Arrowsmith's 1807 map too.
Unfortunately, Roy's map of the Lowlands (1752-55) is somewhat confusing as regards this old route. Although it clearly marks the section north of Lammer Law as Road from Lawder, south of there the route is marked as veering southeast to join the Muir Road from Lauder to Dunbar. Interestingly though, as the Road from Lawder descends towards Long Yester, it is marked as passing through a set of very distinctive enclosures, seemingly tree-lined. A similar pattern of beeches can still be seen today.
Merchants and cadgers alike will have used this old trade route linking Haddington and Lauder. Wool was carried north from Lauderdale and grain was brought south from East Lothian. It was also used as a local drove road. Nowadays it is a well-used track through a moorland grouse estate.