Tuesday, 15 April 2014

N for Newark Castle & Nature in "My Scottish Borders"

                             Welcome to a Look Around 

"My Scottish Borders"


  N is for:
NEWARK CASTLE and NATURE 








Newark Castle high above the Yarrow Water, south of Selkirk was also the setting for Sir Walter Scott's  ""Lay of the Last Minstrel"  with the lovely description:

"He passed where Newark's stately tower
Looks out from Yarrow's birchen bower". 

Thought to be a royal hunting lodge, Newark was referred to in a charter granted to Archibald,  Earl of Douglas in 1423.  It later fell into the hands of the Scotts of Buccleuch.  Last to live there was the Scott heiress Ann who married  the ill fated Duke of Monmouth, the illegitimate son of Charles ll,  beheaded in 1685 for treason. 


NATURE

The heron here is a familiar site on the Slitrig Water in Hawick. 


Cowdenknowes Wood, Earlston, Berwickshire


Nature's autumn colours in Wilton Lodge Park, Hawick 
With grateful thanks to Louise for letting me feature this stunning photograph
Copyright © 2012 · Louise Wallace.    All Rights Reserved. 


Sunset over Hawick 


Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey 
through the Scottish Borders

O is for:
OXFORD CONNECTIONS

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire  
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie
A-Z Challenge M - Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose  



M for Muckle Mou'ed Meg & Melrose in "My Scottish Borders""

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

M is for: 
 "MUCKLE MOU'ED MEG"& MELROSE





The story of 'Muckle Mou'd Meg' is told in the ballad  "The Fray of Elibank" by Borders poet James Hogg.  

Sir William Scott of Harden  (an ancestor of writer Sir Walter Scott) was captured on a raid  to the Murray stronghold of Elibank Castle above the River Tweed,

Soon weapons were clashing, an’ fire was flashing,
An’ red ran the bluid down the Ashiesteel brae:
The parties were shouting, the kye they were rowting, 
An’ rattling an’ galloping aff frae the fray

 [kye  - cattle] 

William was given the choice of being hanged or marrying the Laird's notoriously plain daughter  Muckle Mou'd Meg' (big mouthed Meg). He decided on marriage!  

Now Meg was but thin, an her nose it was lang,
An’her mou it was muckle as ane could weel be;
Her een they were gray, an her colour was wan
But her nature was generous, gentle, and free. 

 "My Meg, I assure you, is better than bonnie;
I rede you, in choicing let prudence decide;
Then say which ye will; ye are welcome to ony;
See, there is your coffin, or there is your bride.”

He fand the last gleam of his hope was a fadin
The green braes o Harden nae mair he wad see.
The coffin was there, which he soon must be laid in;
His proud heart was humbled,—he fell on his knee

So Willie took Meg to the forest sae fair,
An’ they lived a most happy an’ social life;
The langer he kend her, he lo’ed her the mair,
For a prudent, a virtuous, and honourable wife.


The small town of MELROSE  is noted for its famous abbey, as the home of 19th century writer Sir Walter Scott at nearby Abbotsford, the birthplace of the game of Rugby Sevens,   and a winner of Beautiful Scotland in Bloom. 

Nestling under the triple Eildon Hills, it on the route of several long distance walks - the Border Abbeys Way, St. Cuthbert's Way and the Southern Upland Way.


Melrose Abbey, founded in 1136 by David I, was the first monastery of the Cistercian order established in Scotland. The heart of King Robert the Bruce is  said to be buried there.  The exterior of this  ruin is decorated by unusual sculptures, including hobgoblins, cooks with ladles and a bagpipe playing pig. 



More fascinating facts on the Scottish Borders
  • The only silver staircase in the world you will find  at Manderston, Berwickshire -  an opulent Edwardian country house which epitomizes the "upstairs/downstairs" lifestyle at the time, with extensive kitchens and pantries, a marble dairy and sumptuous stables.  
                            
  •  Mellerstain House in Berwickshire is an 18th century  masterpiece by William and Robert Adam. 

     
  • The small village of Morebattle  on the edge of the Cheviot Hills has a Teapot Street.  The name is thought to be a corruption of "Tip -it  Street" after the midden (rubbish dump) at the end of the road. 
  • The Mill towns of Hawick, Selkirk and Galashiels were the centre of the Scottish Borders knitwear and tweed industry.  By the mid 19th century, over 2000 of Scotland's 2600 knitting frames were located in the Borders, over half in Hawick producing  over a million pairs of stockings a year.  This hosiery trade gave way tothe fine outerwear garments that we know today. 
  • Follow the next stage of this A-Z journey 
    through the Scottish Borders

    N is for:
    NEWARK TOWER AND  NATURE

    The Scottish Borders 
    The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire  
    Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

    Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders
    A-Z Challenge Preview
    A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
    A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
    A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
    A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus & The Douglas Tragedy 
    A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
    A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest 
    A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
    A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick

    A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie 
    A-Z Challenge J -Jedburgh, Jethart Justice and Jethart Snails  
    A-Z Challenge K - Kaleidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie  
    A-Z challenge L - The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

L for the Fair Lilliard

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

L is for:
THE FAIR LILLIARD and 
LEADERFOOT VIADUCT



Lilliardsedge is a high point on the main road north to Edinburgh and takes its name from The Fair  LILLIARD.   She fought with the Scots at the Battle of Ancrum and her grave carries the rather gory inscription:  

Little was her stature
But muckle was her fame
Upon the English loons
She made many thumps
And when her legs were cuttit off
She fought upon her stumps  

["muckle" means"big"]


Three miles form my home is LEADERFOOT VIADUCT spanning the 90 mile long River Tweed  near its junction with one of its many tributaries - the Leader Water.  The viaduct, built to carry the Berwickshire Railway,   stands 116 feet  above the river bed and each of its 19 arches has a 43 foot span.  The railway bridge opened in 1865 with the last  train running over it  just a hundred years later.   


          

          

More Fascinating Facts on the Scottish Borders:

  • Henry Francis LYTE (1793-1847)  wrote two of the most popular hymns still sung today - "Abide with Me"  and "Praise my Soul, the King of Heaven" - and he was a  Borderer born at Ednam, near Kelso, Roxburghshire.  After studying at Trinity College, Dublin, he took Anglican holy orders and served in parishes across the south of England. 
  • The Lee Enfield Rifle - the supreme weapon of infantrymen  was designed by Borderer James Paris LEE (1831-1904). He was born in Hawick, Roxburghshire and emigrated with his parents to Canada where initially he followed in his father's footsteps to become a watchmaker.  He then  set up the Lee Firearms Company. The Lee Enfield  - bolt-action, magazine fed  and repeating rifle - was the main firearm of Britain and the Empire, adopted in 1895  and used until 1957.    

 Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey
through the Scottish Borders

M is for 
Muckle Mou'ed Meg and Melrose 


The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders


A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail

A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 

A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus & the Douglas Tragedy 

A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero  & Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick 
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg & Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice & Jethart Snails 
A-Z Challenge K - Kalaidoscope, Kelso and Kinmont Willie  

Saturday, 12 April 2014

K for Kaleidoscope, Kelso & Kinmont Willie

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

K is for: 
KALEIDOSCOPE, KELSO
and  KINMOUNT WILLIE





Did you know that the children's colourful toy the KALEIDOSCOPE was invented by a Borderer?  

David Brewster (1781-1868), was born in Jedburgh, Roxburghshire,   and became  a leading physicist renowned for his work on optics and polarisation. 

The word "Kaleidoscope" is derived from the ancient Greek -
"Kalos" - beautiful,
"Eidos" - form or shape

"Skopea" - to look at or examine -
 

Thus observation of beautiful forms. 

[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaleidoscope]





The town of KELSO, Roxburghshire was described by writer Sir Walter Scott as "the prettiest if not the most romantic town in Scotland".   It lies in a picturesque setting at the junction of the Tweed and Teviot rivers and is full of architectural features with street names such as Woodmarket and Horsemarket reflecting the local economic interests.

The ruined abbey (one of four in the Borders)  was built in 1128 and witnessed the coronation of the young King James III in 1460, following the death of his father at the siege of nearby Roxburgh Castle. 

The spacious town square claims to be the largest in Scotland, with  the elegant Georgian Town House built in 1816.  The graceful five-arched bridge over the Tweed, built by John Rennie in 1803, was the model for London's Waterloo Bridge.

Floors Castle, Scotland's largest inhabited house, stands in parkland overlooking the Tweed.   It was built by the architect William Adam, for the 1st Duke  of Roxburghe in 1721 and later embellished by William Playfair.  Despite its name, it is a large country house - not a castle fortress built for defence.

 Massed pipe bands at Floors Castle

The lively programme of local events reflects the predominantly agricultural community, with the Border Union Agricultural Show, ram and horse sales, Kelso Races, point-to-point and the Scottish Championship Dog Show.

Heavy horses at the Border Union Agricultural Show

The story of Kinmont Willie  is one the best documented episodes in the exploits of the Border Reivers. 

William Armstrong of Kinmont was captured by the forces of the English Warden  in violation of a truce day in 1596 and imprisoned in Carlisle Castle across the Border in England. Fellow Reiver Walter Scott of Buccleuch (known as "The Bold Buccleuch" - pronounced Buck-loo)  led a band of men on a daring raid and broke Kinmont Willie out of the castle.  Kinmont Willie Armstrong was never recaptured.

Here are a few verses from the 46 verse ballad to get a flavour of both the language and the story 


They band his legs beneath the steed, 
They tied his hands behind his back; 
They guarded him fivesome on each side 
And brought him ower the Liddle-rack.

My hands are tied, but my tongue is free, 
Ands whae will dare this deed avow? 
Or answer by the Border law? 
Or answer to the bauld Buccleuch?

“And have they ta’en him Kinmont Willie, 
Against the truce of Border tide 
And forgotten that the bauld Buccleuch 
Is keeper here on the Scottish Side? 

We crept on knees, and held our breath, 
Till we placed the ladders against the wa’ 
And sae ready was Buccleuch himself 
To mount the first before us a’. 

“Buccleuch has turn’d to Eden water, 
Even where it flowed frae bank to brim, 
And he has plunged in wi’ a’ his band, 
And safely swam then thro’ the stream. 

 ***********
Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 

through the Scottish Borders



  L is for
The Fair Lilliard and Leaderfoot Viaduct

The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire 
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail

A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 

A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 

A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick 
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land  of James Hogg and Will Ogilvie
A-Z Challenge J - Jedburgh, Jedthart Justice and Jethart Snails  
    

Friday, 11 April 2014

J is for Jedbugth, Jethart Justice & Jethart Snails

Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

J is for:
Jedburgh, Jethart Justice  
and Jethart Snails  




 JEDBURGH  - The small historic burgh   (known locally as Jethart)  lies on the banks of the Jed Water, 10 miles north of the English-Scottish Borders.  It is most famous for its ruined 12th century Augustinian  Abbey, founded by King  David in 1138.  

 Thomas Girtin 006.JPG
 Jedburgh Abbey from the river 1798-99" by Thomas Girtin
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jedburgh_Abbey


I worked for five years in the local tourist information centre, where we got used to such quirky queries as " Was the Abbey bombed during the war?" and "When are they going to rebuild the Abbey."   A straight face was called for on occasions! 
The truth was the abbey was repeatedly attacked by English armies throughout the middle ages.  In the 1540's it suffered particularly at the hands of the Earl of Hertford's military campaign known as the "Rough Wooing" when Henry VIIII sought  to enforce a marriage between his son Edward and the young Mary,  Queen of Scots.   Mary was, instead, sent to France into the care of her mother's relations.  Scotland turned to    Presbyterianism with the Reformation, and the abbey, almost intact except for its roof, was used for services until the building of a new parish church in 1875.  

To read more about Mary Queen of Scots in the Borders,  follow this A-Z Journey to "Q". 
The Jubilee Fountain in the Market Square, erected to mark 
Queen Victoria's 1887 Jubilee.  
The colourfully painted houses are a feature of  Jedburgh architecture

The spire of the Newgate,  built in the 18th century. 





 The Jail is  actually two tiny windowless cells on either side of this arch.  

Jethart Justice - was the term given to the medieval practice of "hang first and try later" i.e. summary execution. 

Jethart Snails are a delicacy of the town that can still be enjoyed.  During the Napoleonic Wars, Jedburgh housed French prisoners of war  who were said to have left a legacy in the form of their recipe for this  brown mint-flavoured boiled sweet.   




Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

K is for 
Kelso, Kaleidoscope & Kinmont Willie



The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders

Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders


A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels  
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick 
A-Z Challenge I - Inspirational Land of Poets James Hogg and Will Ogilvie  

Thursday, 10 April 2014

I for An Inspirational Land


Welcome to a Look Around 
"My Scottish Borders"

I is for:
An INSPIRATIONAL Land 






The beauty and heritage of the Scottish Borders has proved an INSPIRATION  for many writers.   Sir Walter Scott is the best known and will feature later in this A-Z Journey, but here are two poets you may be less familiar with - James Hogg, and Will Ogilvie. 

JAMES HOGG (1770-1835). known as "The Ettrick Shepherd", was a poet and novelist. He was born into  a farming family in the Ettrick Valley in the Scottish Borders.  After leaving school at the age of 7,  he became a shepherd. Largely self-educated he began publishing poems and longer works and rose to become a star of the Edinburgh literary scene and a friend of Sir Walter Scott. and Robert Burns.  His statue, in the Yarrow Valley of Selkirkshire,  overlooks  St. Mary's Loch.  Here are the first  two verses from one of his most popular poems.

 BOYS SONG
Where the pools are bright and deep
Where the grey trout lies asleep
Up the river and over the lea
That's the way for Billy and me. 

 Where the blackbird sings the latest
Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest
Where the hawthorn blooms the sweetest
Where the nestlings chirp and flee
That's the way for Billy and me.


WILL OGILVIE  (1869-1963) was born near Kelso, but his spirit of adventure  took him, to Australia where he spent twelve years in the outback, becoming an accomplished stationhand, drover and horse breaker.  He also started to make a name for himself as a writer with poems published in the "Sydney Bulletin".    He also spent some time in the USA before the First World War as Professor of Agricultural Journalism in Iowa State College.

He returned to the Scottish Borders in 1901 and wrote stirring poems of his homeland.  He died aged 94 and  his ashes were scattered near the hill road to Roberton where a stone memorial marks the spot.  
THE HILL ROAD TO ROBERTON
The hill road to Roberton's  a steep road in the clouds
But where your foot has crawled in it, you can smell the scented thyme
And if your heart's  Border heart, look down on Harden Glen
And hear the blue hills ringing with the restless hoofs again.


THE RAIDERS
Last night a wind from Lammermuir came roaring  up the glen,
With the tramp of trooping horses and the laugh of reckless men
And struck a mailed hand on the gate and cried in rebel glee: 
 "Come forth.  Come forth, my Borderer, and ride the March with me!" 


Follow the next stage of this A-Z Journey 
through the Scottish Borders

J is for JEDBURGH


The Scottish Borders 
The old counties of Berwickshire, Peeblesshire, Roxburghshire & Selkirkshire
Scottish Borders in Scotland.svg
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scottish_Borders
Do take a look at earlier  posts in "My Scottish Borders

A-Z Challenge Preview
A-Z Challenge A - Abbeys,Abbotsford and Armstrongs
A-Z Challenge B - Border Reivers, Border Ballads and Blackmail
A-Z Challenge C - Common Ridings and Carter Bar 
A-Z Challenge D - Dryburgh Abbey,  Duns Scotus and The Douglas Tragedy 
A-Z Challenge E - Elliots, Earlston, Enigma Hero and Eyemouth Tart 
A-Z Challenge F - Flodden, Fletcher and Flowers of the Forest  
A-Z Challenge G - A Green & Pleasant Land and Galashiels 
A-Z Challenge H - Hermitage Castle and Hawick