Scottish Tour Guide's Blog

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Jedburgh Abbey

Today, we benefited from dry and sunny weather.

First, we drive to nearby Scott’s View which is reputed to be one of the favourite landscapes of Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), a romantic novelist and poet who resided nearby. Location is near Melrose and landscape includes the Eldon Hills.

Scott’s View, Melrose

Next, a short drive to Dryburgh Abbey, a romantic but ruined abbey dating from period 1150-1560. This suffered damage at hands of English armies in 14th and 16th centuries.

Dryburgh Abbey, Scottish Borders

Sir Walter Scott and WW1 commander, Field Marshall Haig are buried in the grounds.

Next, to Abbotsford House near Melrose. This is the home which Sir Walter Scott and his descendants progressively enlarged from a basic farmhouse to mansion status.

Sir Walter achieved global fame through his series of 26 romantic, historical novels collectively known as the Waverley Novels.

Abbotsford House

Abbotsford House and Garden

Next to Jedburgh and Jedburgh Abbey.This was founded for an Augustinian order by King David I of Scotland. The Abbey building features some of the finest Romanesque and Gothic architecture in Scotland. The building sufferd heavy damage from English troops in the 15th and 16th centuries with an end to Catholic religious life in 1560 after which part of the Abbey was adapted for use as the local parish church.

Jedburgh Abbey

Finally, we returned to Kelso via Hawick (“Hoick”). On arrival guests spent the warm evening on banks of the River Tweed and fishing.

Floors Castle, Kelso, Scotland

Today, our focus was places and activities in and around Kelso in the Scottish Borders region.

Floors Castle

Firstly, we all visited the magnificent Floors Castle which is the largest inhabited house in Scotland being home to the Tenth Duke of Roxburghe and family. The Castle was built in 1721 to design by Robert Adam with subsequent enlargement in 1830s to design of William Playfair. Inside are paintings, porcelain, tapestries and furniture plus insights into the family’s history.

Floors Castle, Kelso.

Outside of the Castle can be found a Walled Garden, Millennium Garden, children’s adventure playground plus walks and cycle trails through woodland and along riverside.

Herbaceous border at Floors Castle

Walled Garden at Floors Castle.

Walled Garden at Floors Castle

We spent about three hours at Floors Castle.

Kelso

This is a popular and prosperous small town with population of about 5700. Features include:

  • Ruined 12th century Abbey which ceased to function in 1559.
  • Large, cobbled market square.
  • Mix of Georgian and Victorian architecture dating from 1750 onwards.
  • Located close to River Tweed, a salmon and trout river.
  • Multiple small shops plus hotels, pubs and eateries.

Riparian View: River Tweed at Kelso

War Memorial and Kelso Abbey

Town Hall, Kelso, Scotland.

The Square, Kelso, Scotland

Fishing

Two gentlemen in the party elected to indulge in a spot of fly fishing (for trout and grayling) on the River Tweed.

Fly fishing on River Tweed at Kelso, Scotland

Tomorrow, we continue our exploration of the Borders.

Tour group at Castleton Cemetery with family gravemarker.

This morning, July 10th., we commenced our tour in Edinburgh New Town where tour group was collected from lodgings.

Next, we drove south to Melrose, a small town in the Scottish Borders region which is famous for its ruined medieval abbey.

History of Melrose Abbey

Melrose Abbey, Scotland

The founding of Melrose Abbey on its current site (superseding a previous building located about two miles away) was inspired by King David I of Scotland in 1136 AD. The Abbey was built by a group of Cistercian Monks from Rievaulx Abbey  in Yorkshire, England. Construction is believed to have taken ten years.

Because the Abbey enjoyed Royal favour it continued to flourish despite suffering damage in the Anglo-Scottish wars and being rebuilt in the 15th century. It fell into ruin after being ravaged by English soldiers and Scots Protestants. The last monk died in 1590.The Abbey is noteworthy for:

  • Quality of the stone carvings which include an unusual effigy of a pig playing the bagpipes.
  • Burial place of the heart of King Robert the Bruce.

Newcastleton

After spending about one hour at the Abbey we moved further south to Newcastleton, (pop about 800) a village just inside the Scottish border. Here, we had lunch and then visited sites connected with the tour group’s ancestry (Manderson and Blacklock), namely Castleton cemetery and Lee Haugh Cottage.

War Mememorial at Newcastleton..

Hermitage Street, Newcastleton.

Douglas Square, Newcastleton, Scotland.

Video clip of Manderson and Blacklock grave-marker.

Castleton Cemetery, Newcastleton, Scotland.

Lee Haugh Cottage, Newcastleton.

Finally, we retired to our lodgings for the night at locations at/near Kelso.

The Square, Kelso, Scotland