Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

CatsWhiskersTours provide unique tour experiences tailored to suit you. Call +44 (0) 141 638 5500

Browsing Posts in Scottish Borders

Medieval Jedburgh Abbey

Medieval Jedburgh Abbey, Scotland

This evening, my focus is on historic Jedburgh Abbey which is located about 1 hour drive south of Edinburgh. A stunning ruin on the way south to England. The name describes a fortified town on the River Jed.

This abbey was founded by King David I of Scotland for an Augustinian order in1138 and may well occupy the site of an earlier religious order.(One of the finest shrine fragments in Scotland comes from in or near Jedburgh and has been dated to the 8th century AD.) The fabric even incorporates some stones with inscriptions from the 2nd century AD Roman (military) era. It is believed that construction lasted 100 years with stone transported from the quarry at Ulston Moor, about 1 mile away.

This abbey features some of the finest Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Scotland. For 400 years it was home to a community of Augustinian canons.

The Abbey’s location was its downfall. Being situated on the  main route between England and Scotland it suffered at the hands of invading English armies who caused considerable damage in 1464, 1523, 1544 and 1545. However, the coup de grace was the Reformation of 1560 following which a section of  the Abbey was converted to become the parish church of Jedburgh. The church continued here until the late 1800s.

Overall, a fascinating and visually stunning site with much to offer the visitor. I invariably stop at Jedburgh during forays south to Hadrian’s Wall and beyond. Read more on Visit Jedburgh Abbey, Visit Scottish Borders…

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders

Melrose Abbey, Scottish Borders, Scotland

Today, I collected by small group from the Balmoral Hotel in Edinburgh and proceeded as follows:

  • Firstly to Melrose Abbey, a stunning sandy pink coloured ruin built for Cistercian monks in the 12th century on direction of Kind David I of Scotland.. The building suffered heavy damage at hands of  English troops in 1322 and 1385 with final straw being 1545 under the ‘rough wooing’ policy of Henry VIII. The embalmed heart of King Robert the Bruce was found here in 1920. Read more on Tour Scottish Borders, Tour Scotland…

Read more on Tour Scottish Borders, Tour Scotland…

Statue at Garden of Cosmic Speculation

Statue at Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Portrack

This evening, I am focusing on an unusual, if not somewhat surreal, garden at Portrack in the Scottish Borders. This Garden of Cosmic Speculation was begun in the late 1970s to the designs of Maggie Keswick and Charles Jencks. The design takes inspiration from such disparate sources as historic British earthworks and Chinese gardens. There are lakes interwoven with the mounds and the water mirroring land and sky. Dotted around can be found statues, artworks and architecture.

This garden is not open to the public on a regular basis. If the opportunity arises I recommend  visitors take the time to quietly explore this unique site and absorb the interaction of artwork and landscape.  

Apologies for the mixed quality of images provided. My photography skills have moved on since these images were taken. However, the selection should provide the reader with a basic appreciation of the site. I will have to return to the garden and refresh my portfolio of images!  Read more on Garden of Cosmic Speculation…