October 2014

Whitehouse Country House, St. Boswells, Scottish Borders

When I began planning my time in the Scottish Borders, the area that immediately stood out as a focus for my travels was a triangle of land with the towns of Melrose, Kelso, and Jedburgh at the points. I’d been through the region briefly on a massive trip around all of Scotland in 2006, and the pleasantness of the area never left my memory.

I like to have a small number of “bases” on my trips to limit how often I need to pack up and move on to another accommodation, and so I began to scour this region of Scotland for places to stay that met my admittedly strict standards. There’s always some uncertainty when choosing accommodations… Read more...

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The Grey Mare's Tail

I hope you’ve enjoyed the last several months of coverage of my travels through Dumfries & Galloway. Southwest Scotland is littered with impeccable ruins, swaths of deserted wilderland, and old market towns brimming with character.

Today, I move eastward across the M74 into the land known as the Scottish Borders, a rural and hilly region shot through by the famous River Tweed. The Borders shares a rich history with Dumfries & Galloway, but it was this region that saw the fiercest fighting with the English during the Wars of Independence. Here you’ll find plenty of ruined abbeys, sentinel tower houses, and tales of border reivers… Read more...

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Flowers at Threave Gardens

Late last year I rolled out a series of Itinerary Ideas articles that each highlighted a different section of Scotland. When I’d written as many as I could, I couldn’t help but notice there were still glaring holes on the map, little wastelands of knowledge here on my site. It was this process that kickstarted the planning of my next trip – I needed to dig into and explore these areas that didn’t have their own articles, and so I hit the road this past spring to ferret out some of the great visitor experiences of southern Scotland.

Coming up next – Scotland itinerary ideas for Dumfries & Galloway! Read more...

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The high moors of Nithsdale bend the evening light into the narrow glens leading to Moniaive. A thousand years of history nestle in this crease of the southern uplands, the slow green slopes around town protecting it like inverted earthen ramparts. The stones released from the ground have become the battlements of sheep, and yet here and there a lone tree still stands against the pinkening sky. The wind speaks in my ears but the language escapes me.

On first blush, this feels like a forgotten place, but after three nights there can be no doubt the memory of Moniaive is strong with those who know it.

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Caerlaverock Castle, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland

The south of Scotland gets horrendously short shrift by the vast majority of visitors. Even Scots tend to go north, perhaps in an attempt to avoid the English pouring over the border (perhaps history does repeat itself?). I am, of course, kidding – about the English, that is. The south is summarily dismissed by all but the most time-rich and curious travelers. More’s the pity, for, as the scene of many long-remembered battles for Scottish Independence, the south is littered with the ruins of stout fortifications and victimized places of worship.

For a history buff like me, the south ranks very highly indeed. Read more...

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