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In The Borders of Scotland


Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 09 May 2011

Monday 09 May, in The Borders of Scotland

It feels good to be back in Scotland; funny that you can miss a country like that. There are more places and countries that we would like to go back to, but only here we feel totally at home. Today we are going to drive around the Borders, an area in the southeast of Scotland.
The Royal Hotel, Jedburgh Jedburgh abbeyFirst we get a delicious breakfast, for Elisabeth fried eggs and I take scrambled eggs with lots of toast. Tea and coffee and our breakfast is complete. Actually, this is the standard breakfast that we always take in Great Britain. Fresh orange juice is also good and sometimes some fish as a sidedish (the latter not for Elisabeth).
With a well-filled stomach, we first explore the city in daylight. The city's calling card is the Augustinian abbey from the 12th century.
Teije at Jedburgh Jedburgh castle jailFortunately, we have sweaters with us because it is not hot, about 14 degrees. Here too it was dry and hot in April so we hope the heat will come back. It is a good thing that we do not know yet that every day it will only get colder and worse...
The castle is on the outskirts of the city because a Scottish city can not without one. This castle replaces an older man who was destroyed and served as a prison. Now it is a prison museum and at night you can also go there: to see ghosts!
After the walk we go out and Elisabeth thinks she knows an easier way to get off of the hotel yard, since we had to go through a very narrow gate yesterday. I follow her directions and suddenly stand on a high pavement before the road. The car will never make it. So I have to manouvre backward with the largest car we have ever had. I have to get used to that, since I also like to drive the narrow single track roads in Scotland!
Centre of HawickWith the map of Scotland to see which roads we have not driven yet, we set off. This is not really a tourist area, people associate Scotland more with the Highlands and the western islands. A few years ago, however, we discovered that the Scottish Borders is an incredibly beautiful area in terms of nature.
Soon we are in the largest town of the area, Hawick. Like most Scottish places, Hawick has a number of small but fun museums about local culture, history and industry (especially textile here). We take a walk, drink coffee and take off again.
Hermitage CastleFurther inland to the southwest. There are not many roads through this rugged landscape, but along the roads to England there are always castles or at least ruins that once had to guard the tactical ways in and out of the country. Because of the vicinity of England there have been many battles in this area. Local castle lords, however, also sometimes made agreements with the English so that they could enter Scotland without hindrance. The Hermitage castle also had such a castle lord (William Douglas in the 14th century). It was still a wooden castle then.
Border with England Welcome to ScotlandThen in the Cheviot Hills we search for the roads that lead to the border with England. There are more dead ends on both sides of the border, but there are only two that really cross the border. Signs welcome us in both countries, but we are going back to Scotland soon.
Lambs along the road Lamb in the BordersIn this lonely area a lot of animals walk around: sheep, cows, even pigs and chickens we come across. Lambs are born here a few weeks later than in the Netherlands since the colimate is colder and there are now a lot just born lambs jumping around.

It has become slightly warmer and we walk stubbornly in t-shirts outside, still fresh.
Dogs asylum Flooded roadIn a remote spot we come across a dog shelter with only white husky-like dogs (we are not such dog connoisseurs, so improve us if you know better). And a bit further we have to cross a flooded road. And that while it has been very dry in Scotland in recent months. The water level can also be a lot higher as the sign next to it clearly indicates. If you look at the map, you will see that area is traversed by dozens of rivers.
Scenery in The BordersWe only encounter a small amount of traffic in this vast area but actually no cafes or a pub where we can sit for a while; it is clearly not a touristic area at all, although one can make very nice walks here. And we also have to search for a gasstation where they have lpg. If we finally find one, the pump operator must first remove a chain from the hose: against gas thieves!
Scotts ViewIn the course of the afternoon it becomes drizzly and suddenly there is a downpour. The temperature drops to well below 10 degrees! Brrrr. Scott's View is therefore not as clear as we would like. These hills have been formed for about 300 million years ago by a series of volcanoes. The Scottish Borders seems to be a very attractive area for geologists, but we do not encounter them anywhere.
Wallace monument near Dryburgh Wallace monument near DryburghIn the vicinity of St. Boswells we walk to one of the oldest monuments in honor of William Wallace, a well-known Scottish freedom fighter from the 13th century. This statue was placed in 1814 and overlooks the river Tweed and the cemetery of Sir Walter Scott, another famous Scot.
We spend the evening with a good book in our room. Although, I have to go to the pub to get a beer...

 


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