Langholm Castle, Scotland

This morning, I collected tour guests from central Edinburgh, Scotland at 0900 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 woollen products. We availed of refreshments here and visited the showroom.

Johnstons of Elgin Showroom.

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.

John Armstrong Memorial, Carlenrig

Next to the small town of Langholm where we visited the ruined castle. This building has long associations with the Armstrongs and Maxwells but was demolished around 1726. It remains under guardianship of the Clan Armstrong Trust.

Langholm Castle.

Next Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie for 1.00pm. 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. A renovation programme of this historic building is well underway.

Gilnockie Tower, Canonbie.

Inside Gilnockie Tower

Next, back to  Langholm: Here we called in at the Eskdale Hotel and visited the Clan Armstrong Exhibition together with information on the Border Reivers. We availed of lunch here.

Eskdale Hotel.

Next to the village of Rowanwanburn: Here we viewed the prominent sandstone sculpture of Lang Sandy, an Armstrong who was executed in 1606 because of his involvement in the murder of Sir John Carmichael, Scottish West March Warden, (a Government official) in 1600.

Lang Sandy Effigy, Rowanburn

Next to Tourneyholm, on the Scotland-England border. During the reiving period this was a neutral zone for settling disputes via combat and/or negotiation. Prisoner exchanges also took place here.

Tourneyholm on Scotland-England border

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.

Milnholm Cross

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, Newcastleton.

Final site visit in region was Hermitage Castle which has only indirect connections with the Armstrongs. This ruin of dates from the 14th and 15th centuries and is associated with the de Soulis, the Douglases and Mary Queen of Scots.

Hermitage Castle, Scottish Borders.

At conclusion of the tour we drove to Glasgow where guests were deposited at their hotel.

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