Mountain biking tourism

Southern Borders Loop

Julian Cram talks about how local knowledge and partnership working helped him to create a new cycle route, and open up opportunities for Borders tourism businesses.

Julian Cram has recently established Scottish Borders Bike Hire and a new bike shop, Borders Cycles, both based in Hawick.

As a newcomer to the tourism environment, but a keen cyclist Julian recognised the need to engage with other businesses and other towns in the area to create a bigger presence and voice for the area.  He was also keen to help raise awareness of the routes in the Hawick area.  

A number of long distance routes exist in the Borders, but the area south of Hawick did not have much of a presence in these existing routes, even though the area offered good cycling opportunities for both locals and visitors.

Working in partnership with the Newcastleton Business Forum and the Recreational Cycling Group, a new route was developed. The Southern Borders Loop offered a choice of two loops of 50 and 75 miles linking Hawick and Newcastleton, with the longer route crossing into Dumfries and Galloway.  

Local knowledge

Using local knowledge, itineraries were developed to include accommodation options, visitor attractions and places to stop for a bite to eat. This provided the visiting cyclists with all the details they need to help them plan their trip to the area, and help put Hawick and Newcastleton on the cycling map.

It was local knowledge of the product on the doorstep and linking with others nearby which led to the creation of a new product to entice cyclists to the area.

Julian said of the Southern Borders Loop: 

"As a local I knew about the great local cycling on my doorstep and that visitors would also appreciate these routes.  

"It was important that a number of us worked together to create not only the profiled routes, but also everything else that a visiting cyclist might want to know whilst on a trip – where to eat, where to visit and where to sleep.  

"Working in partnership ensured that the cyclist has all of this information and this will reduce the time involved in planning a trip and hopefully make them choose Hawick rather than other destinations."