River Esk at Gilnockie Tower

River Esk at Gilnockie Tower, Scottish Borders

Today, we joined other participants of the 2011 Gathering and proceeded as follows:

First to Gilnockie Tower which stands on the banks of the River Esk.  This Tower House dates from the 16th century and is the only survivor out of  60/80 stone or wooden towers in the Scotytish Eskdale, Ewesdale and Liddesdale districts. Now under care of Clan Armstrong, the Tower may have been connected to the legendary Johnnie Armstrong. We were able to tour the Tower which was resplendent in the sunshine.

Gilnockie Tower, Clan Armstrong

Gilnockie Tower, Clan Armstrong, Scottish Borders

Touring Gilnockie Tower, Clan Armstrong

Touring Gilnockie Tower, Clan Armstrong, Scottish Borders

Next to Stones Barn near Bewcastle for an enjoyable outdoor lunch.

Lunch at Stone's Barn

Lunch at Stone's Barn, Bewcastle

After lunch we drove to nearby Bewcastle. Here we first walked about 1 mile to Low Grains, now farm buildings but was formerly a small community with Armstrong connections.The site includes remains of a bastle or fortified house.

Route to Low Grains,Clan Armstrong

Route to Low Grains,Clan Armstrong, Bewcastle

Low Grains, Bewcastle

Low Grains, Bewcastle, Scottish Borders

After Low Grains we walked back to Bewcastle and visited the castle and church both of which are located within the boundaries of a Roman fort connected with the Hadrian’s Wall frontier about 10 miles south. The castle was slighted by Cromwell during the civil war whilst the church is of interest due to the incidence of Armstrong graves and the Bewcastle Cross which dates from 700-800 AD and ranks as one of the finest Anglo Saxon crosses in England.

Castle at Bewcastle

Castle at Bewcastle, Scottish Borders

Bewcastle church was rebuilt in 1792 and repaired in 1901.

Bewcastle Church

Bewcastle Church, England

Overall, an enjoyable day aided by bright sunshine and rounded off in the evening by a Gathering dinner.

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