Clan Armstrong Motto at Gilnockie Tower, Scotland. (Latin term translates as “I remain unvanquished”.)

This morning, I collected tour guest from Edinburgh, Scotland at 0830 and embarked on a trip to the Scottish Borders as follows:

First stop at Johnstons of Elgin, Hawick. This company specialises in cashmere and fine woolen products. We availed of refreshments here and visited the showroom.

Johnstons of Elgin showroom at Hawick.

Johnstons of Elgin showroom at Hawick.

Next to the village of Teviothead where we visited the Celtic Goldsmith showroom.

Celtic Goldsmith, Teviothead, Scotland

Next, to nearby Carlenrig, This the site where King James V had Johnnie Armstrong and fifty followers executed by hanging in 1530 in context of an initiative to control the unruly Borders region.

Johnnie Armstrong Memorial at Carlenrig.

John Armstrong of Gilnockie memorial at Carlenrig Burial Ground.

John Armstrong of Gilnockie memorial at Carlenrig Burial Ground.

Next Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie for 12.00 noon. This 16th century tower is the only survivor from around 60-80 stone or wooden towers in the region of Eskdale. Ewesdale and Liddesdale. It is under care of Clan Armstrong due to historic Armstrong connection. An enthusiastic and well informed local tour guide provided access and information.This structure has been affected by water ingress consequent upon which a renovation programme is underway.

Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie, Scotland.

Inside Gilnockie Tower. Note green patches due to water ingress.

Inside Gilnockie Tower. Note green patches due to water ingress.

Next to the small town of Langholm: We had lunch at the Eskdale Hotel and  visited the Clan Armstrong Exhibition in the same hotel.Here there is information on the Clan and Border Reivers. The information includes a section on Neil Armstrong who visited Langholm and was awarded freedom of the town.

Eskdale Hotel, Langholm, Scotland

Next to the village of Rowanwanburn: Here we viewed the prominent sandstone sculpture of Lang Sandy.

Lang Sandy Statue at Rowanburn, Scotland

Next to Tourneyholm near Kershopefoot. This open site is close to both the English border and River Liddel. This was a site for settling disputes during the Reiver period via combat and/or negotiation.

Tourneyholm, Scottish Borders

English Border at Tourneyholme

English Border at Tourneyholm

Liddel Water at Tourneyholm, Scotland

Next to Ettleton Cemetery and Milnholm Cross These sites are just south of Newcastleton.The cemetery includes a wall where a collection of rescued headstones has been assembled many of which are believed to have Armstrong provenance. The Milnholm Cross was erected to the memory of Alexander, the 2nd Chief of the Armstrong Clan. There is speculation that Alexander was buried under the Cross in 1320.

Armstrong Wall at Ettleton Cemetery, Scotland.

Ettleton Cemetery, Newcastleton, Scotland.

William Armstrong Memorial at Ettleton Cemetery, Newcastleton.

William Armstrong Memorial at Ettleton Cemetery, Newcastleton.

William Armstrong of Sorbytrees monument at Ettleton Cemetery.

William Armstrong of Sorbytrees monument at Ettleton Cemetery.

Milnholm Cross, Newcastleton, Scotland

Next to Mangerton Tower. This was residence of the Armstrong chiefs throughout the 16th century. The Tower measures 10.4m from NE to SW by 7.7m transversely over a wall 1.55m thick. The interior is filled with rubble. An armorial panel bears the date 1563 below which is a shield displaying a chevron over a lozenge and a sword flanked by the initials SA and EF.

Mangerton Tower, Scottish Borders.

Next  to Hermitage Castle. This is located 6 miles north of Newcastleton. This formidable fortress was an important power centre during the lawlessness of the Reivers period. The earliest parts of the structure date from mid- 13th century. From that time until abandonment in 17th century the castle experienced changes of control, structural enlargement, a siege, murders and a Royal visit (Mary Queen of Scots). It is now a visitor attraction but closed during the winter.

Hermitage Castle, Scottish Borders

Finally, we returned to Leith (Edinburgh) via a two hour scenic drive during which we encountered an interesting mix of horses and a family of swans ambling down a busy road oblivious to the traffic congestion they were causing. We arrived Leith about 7.15 pm thus concluding a long and satisfying day connecting with Clan Armstrong and the Border Reivers period.

Video clip of backroads drive from Hermitage Castle to A7 Highway.

Equine contrasts, Scottish Borders