Elisabeth & Teije's reis website

Dryburgh abbey

Home -> Europe -> Scotland -> Travelogue Scotland -> 17 September 2019

Tuesday 17 September, Dryburgh abbey

This morning the sun shines even more exuberantly than yesterday and the sky is a clear blue. With a temperature of 15 to 16 degrees it is quite nice and it is expected that the coming days will get a little warmer. You don't hear us complaining, until now we have had mostly dry weather, which is not always obvious in Scotland.
William Wallace stares over the TweedWe drive to the east and see a sign that refers to a statue of Willam Wallace, the famous Scottish freedom fighter from the 13th century who is best known from the film Braveheart. His most famous monument is near Stirling, but here an eccentric count (David Stuart Erskine, 11th Count of Buchan with a great passion for everything that was Scottish) had a statue made of this hero in 1814, the first in Scotland. A short walk through the forest brings us to the foot of the statue that overlooks the River Tweed.
The face is based on a portrait of him that was found in France and the statue is over 7 meters high. William Wallace himself, however, did not experience Scotland regaining its independence, he was betrayed and put to death in a horrible way.
Scott's View, Scottish BordersA little further we drive past Scott's view that gives a broad view of the valley through which the Tweed flows and is dominated by the three peaks of the Eildon hills. It was a favorite spot of Sir Walter Scott and he stopped here so often with his carriage that the story goes that his horses often stopped here on their own. This would also have happened during his funeral, and the funeral procession did indeed stand still here for a while, but in reality that was due to an accident.
Estate along the Tweed RiverWe drive a bit further in the direction of the Tweed and also see various estates along the banks here. Tweed is an old Celtic name for 'border' and part of the river, more to the east, has long been the natural border between England and Scotland. The valley with the hills through which the river flows has been carved out by a glacier in the last ice age and is also called a drumlin. It now gives a lovely rolling landscape that is so characteristic of the Borders.
Drones are not allowed, Dryburgh Abbey Information board at Dryburgh AbbeyWe return to Dryburgh where we want to visit the abbey. We see a sign that we have not seen before, namely a prohibition sign for drones. Officially, according to Scottish law, you have to keep at least 50 meters away from people or buildings and are not allowed to fly over it, but apparently not everyone sticks to that rule. Well, I can imagine how tempting it must be because you can make very beautiful images of the many historic places in Scotland. Other signs provide information about the abbey and its history.
Ruins of Dryburgh Abbey Dryburgh AbbeyThe abbey was founded around 1150 as a Norbertine abbey but like other abbeys and castles in the area, the English also raided here often and in 1322 the building was set on fire for the first time. Thanks to donations from nobles, including Robert de Bruce, the rebuilding started immediately, but in 1385 the same happened after an invasion by Richard II. But even then, reconstruction started almost immediately. The abbey experienced its heyday in the 15th century until it was thoroughly destroyed by an English army in 1544.
Dryburgh Abbey Tomb of Sir Walter ScottAfter the Reformation in 1560, no new brothers were allowed to enter the community, and by 1600 no one lived there anymore. The ruin was purchased in 1786 by the 11th Count of Buchan (who also had the William Wallace statue erected) who laid out a large garden around the remains of the buildings that remained as they were. He himself was buried in the former sacristy in 1829 and the famous writer Sir Walter Scott is also buried on site with his family. It seems that his funeral procession was more than a mile (1.6 km) long.
Detail of the King James obelisk, Dryburgh AbbeyBehind the ruins we see a small obelisk with figures of King James I, II and Hugh de Moreville, the founder of the abbey. The obelisk was commissioned by the Count of Buchan in 1794 in memory of his ancestors. The kings are wearing a military outfit but we think James II looks more like a court jester with his headgear.
On a sunny day like today it is nice to be at this place and you can take long walks along the Tweed. There are several people who have taken a packed lunch and have a picnic at one of the park benches. The entrance fee is £ 6 per person but we think it is surely worth it.
The Smailholm Tower, Scottish BordersFrom Dryburgh we drive to the Smailholm Tower, a 4-storey residential tower that is still largely intact. This is also one of the places that is connected to Sir Walter Scott. At the age of 2 he was sent to his grandparents to recuperate after a polio attack. They lived in the shadow of the tower and it played a role in one of his poems, which motivated his uncle to restore the tower. The tower also plays a role in a youth novel (In the keep of time by Margaret Anderson) where 4 children travel through time with the help of a castle key.
Hume Castle, Scottish Borders Grave poem in Hume castleFrom here it is not far to Hume, where Hume Castle dominates the hamlet. From a distance it looks very angular, the walls form a square around a courtyard and the battlements are also rectangular. No turrets and no round shapes. Teije walks up the hill to the ruin to take some pictures of the castle that mainly served as a warning spot for invasions by the English.
Next to the entrance is a small slate with a poem for someone from the Hume clan who still regard the castle as their spiritual home. These types of memorials are often more moving than many large monuments.
Chrichton castle, Midlothian Chrichton castle, MidlothianVia as yet unknown roads we drive north through the Borders to Midlothian, the area south of Edinburgh, and near Crichton we see the 14th century Crichton castle in the distance, a little past a church. The entire area is full of parked cars so there will probably be a wedding or funeral going on. There is exactly one place left to park our car and then we start walking towards the castle. But I am a bit careless and look more at the screen of my mobile to view the photos that I took than I pay attention to the uneven terrain.
Church at Chrichton Chrichton kasteel, MidlothianBefore I know it, I lie on the floor and scream from pain. My ankle is heavily sprained. I even faint for some time and it takes a while before I can get up and struggle to hop to the car. The pain does not diminish but luckily I seem to be able to move everything. We now drive straight home where I put wet cold bandages on the increasingly thicker ankle and foot. This is a big disappointment, I can hardly walk the rest of the holiday. But at least nothing has been broken.


© Teije & Elisabeth 2000 - 2024 To the top of the page