Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Hermitage Street, Newcastleton, Scotland.

This evening, I am focusing on the pleasant small town of Newcastleton which is located in Liddesdale (valley of the River Liddel) in the Scottish Borders and just a few miles north of the border with England.

Newcastleton is still known locally by its original name of “Copshaw Holm”. Population is about 800 persons.

Unusually for Scotland, Newcastleton is a planned village which came into existence around 1793 for the purpose of engaging in various aspects of the textile industry including products made from flax, wool and cotton. The principal sponsor of this scheme was the Duke of Buccleuch whose descendant still controls vast tracts of the local landscape today.

Liddesdale Parish Church, Newcastleton

Douglas Square, Newcastleton

Newcastleton War Memorial

Newcastleton Primary School

Castleton Cemetery

In recent times Newcastleton has developed its tourism potential which spans a range of activities, facilities and events including:

  • Traditional music festival.
  • A common riding (bicycle) event.
  • Holm Show. (Agricultural)
  • Tour of Britain Cycle Race.
  • Mountain Biking.
  • Local hiking routes ranging from two to eighteen miles.
  • Golf ( Nine holes).
  • Heritage Centre and Museum.
  • Castleton Cemetery.

However, Newcastleton  also sits in the heart of the former ‘Border Reivers’ country which makes the town ideally suited as a base or stopping point for those wishing to connect with the ‘Reivers Trail’. By way of a brief background summary, for a period of about 300 years up to the early 1600s, the lands close to the Anglo-Scottish border were lawless and dominated by powerful families such as the Graemes, Armstrongs, Elliots and Bells who raided equally in both Scotland and England.

Upon unification the crowns of England and Scotland in 1603, King James VI (Scotland) and 1st (England) initiated a ruthless pacification policy entailing the hunting down and execution of wanted men. This policy proved successful and thereafter the area became increasingly peaceful. However, the legacy of the reiving era remains and within close proximity to Newcastleton can be found such important sites as:

Newcastleton, Roxburghshire, Scotland

Falls of Bruar, Perthshire, Scotland.

This evening, I am reporting on the Falls of Bruar which comprise a series of waterfalls on the Bruar Water in central Scotland, about 8 miles north of Pitlochry. Location is close to the House of Bruar shopping mall.

The Falls are a local beauty spot and have proved a popular tourist attraction since the 18th century. Here Robert Burns, Scotland’s National Poet, was inspired to write (in 1787) “The Humble Petition of Bruar Water”.

Close by is a footpath, two viewing bridges and a hiking trail.

NB: In common with many other landscapes, mountains , lochs and beauty spots in Scotland great care must be exercised as what appear to be attractive places to explore and enjoy can prove fatal. On July 12th 2017 a tourist who was swimming at the Falls was dragged down by a strong undercurrent and drowned. Another person drowned on the same day whilst swimming in Loch Lomond.

Falls of Bruar, Perthshire, Scotland.

Tour group at Blacklock Gravemarker, Tundergarth

This morning, we departed our lodgings in Kelso, returned hired fishing equipment and embarked on the final day of our combined ancestry and sightseeing tour in the Scottish Borders.

First, we drove to the village of Tundergarth, near Lockerbie where the family group were successful in locating gravestones of ancestors, the Blacklocks.

Tundergarth Church, Scotland.

Next, we moved on to the town of Lockerbie for lunch.

Lockerbie Town Centre

After lunch we moved on to Dumfries and the Twelve Apostles Stone Ring near the village of Holywood. This structure is actually an oval and now consists of eleven stones, down from original eighteen. The ring dates from the Neolithic period of around 3000BC- 1000BC.

Twelve Apostles Stone Ring, Dumfries.

Twelve Apostles Stone Ring, Scotland

Next, to the hamlet of Middlebrie with aim of finding a farm named Mosshead or Lochhead where Blacklocks resided in the 18th century. Unfortunately, we were not successful within the time available but the writer will undertake further research.

Next, we tried to find access to the Burnswark combined Iron-Age and Roman sites but were thwarted by restricted road access and time limitations. Again, the writer plans to re-visit this site later.

Finally. the tour group were deposited at Lockerbie rail station for onward travel to departure airport.