Sunday, 13 March 2011

Scott and Neidpath

Another day unfolds during our holiday in Scotland. We are now at the half-way point of our holiday in Peebles and after yesterday's long journey around Jedburg and Hawick, we decided to stay closer to our base in Peebles.

Today we would undertake a much shorter trip and visit Abbotsford, which was once the home of the great Scottish novelist, Sir Walter Scott. He was one of the first best selling authors and penned a total of 26 novels. The best known of these being Rob Roy and Waverley. Abbotsford house is a magnificent building, which stands close to the river Tweed in a beautiful piece of countryside mid-way between Selkirk and Melrose.
We enjoyed the visit around the house which seemed to us to have more class than some of the stately homes we have visited in England. Being an author myself, I was jealous of the views Scott enjoyed whilst writing his novels. Looking from the gardens over lush meadows and to the sparkling river beyond, it would be difficult to avoid inspiration.

The garden was also a treat even if it was a little formal for our taste. Having sampled the garden we took a delightful woodland walk that gave us some outstanding views over the river Tweed and the hills beyond. After our walk we took refreshments in the tearoom and after visiting the gift shop we returned to our car to find a place for a picnic.

I had seen a place on my map called Scott's view, so seeing as we were having a Sir Walter Scott day, we headed there. Passing through some rolling countryside we followed the signposts and eventually ended up in the right place. Here was a lovely view of the Eildon Hills that Scott apparently enjoyed on his frequent trips around the area.

It is said that the horse pulling Scott's hearse on the way to his internment at Dryburg Abbey automatically stopped as it passed the view, just as it had done so many time with its master.
After our picnic, we took a steady drive back to Peebles and took the dog for a walk along a lovely back lane that followed the course of the river Tweed. Despite having a leisurly afternoon, we arrived back in Peebles too early to return to our caravan, so we decided to have a look a Neidpath castle which is situated jut a mile west of Peebles. The castle is set in a wooded gorge between the main road and the river Tweed. One can only get tantalising glimpses of this 14th century castle through the trees which makes it look very romantic.

Up close, Neidpath castle is a very rugged structure (the walls are 11 feet thick) that sits on a rocky crag overlooking the river. I'm not really that struck on old castles, but this one has some charm and in the great hall there were some batiks depicting the life of Mary Queeen of Scots, who stayed there in 1563. This lady stayed everywhere and must've been to more places than Bill Bryson's suit case.

Anyway, Niedpath Castle was a fine end to another busy day in the Borders. If you want to find out more about me, my writing services or my books please click here

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