There is a lot of pseudo-romantic claptrap written about the era of the Border Reivers. If you are interested in the reality then read The Steel Bonnets and The Candlemas Road, both by George MacDonald Fraser – arguably the greatest exponent of written English in the later 20th Century, and a miserable olde grumbler in old age. How unlike Olde Graveller, who is never miserable and seldom grumbles, and has just found buried in a folder this pair of old journal extracts about the cross-border roads and passages from Northumberland into Scotland:
This drawing below is by the late Dave Young and depicts Ken Canham on a modern wooden bridge up at Lewisburn, Kielder Forest, on the bridleway that is not quite coincident with the old road over Bloody Bush, and down to Newcastleton. That is Grav’s Cannondale ST1000 parked-up and ready. This was about 20 years ago, when Kielder Forest was still the back of beyond, and mountain bikers were real men, not the latte-drinking, Volvo-driving pansies you find at these ‘mountain-biking centres’ now despoiling our forestry.