Absolute Escapes November 9 2016

More often than not when people visit Scotland and its beautiful landscape they tend to rush to the Highlands, disregarding, or not even considering, the option of heading south.

The Scottish Borders have much to offer and, with this in mind, I sought to explore a few of the towns and create a day trip for myself.

I hoped to pull together what I believe to be highlights of the Scottish Borders to entice you south of Edinburgh to discover the charm, history and beauty for yourself.

My first stop was and, as it happens, my number one recommendation – Abbotsford House.
This unique Baronial mansion was once home to one of Scotland’s most famous writers, Sir Walter Scott. I highly recommend taking the time to walk around the stunning grounds that the house proudly sits on. It became clear to me that Sir Walter Scott’s creativity and imagination was by no means restricted to the house.

Coming in close second as my Borders highlight is the town of Melrose and the 12th century Melrose Abbey. Completely oblivious to the amount of history that flows through and around the town, I was pleasantly surprised when I first caught sight of the magnificent gothic ruin of Melrose Abbey. This is where Robert the Bruce’s heart is said to be buried.

I have to say I was transfixed by this roofless building– it left the grandness and scale of the building to my imagination. It is most definitely worth climbing the 74 steps in one of the turrets – you will be rewarded at the top with an alternative perspective of the Abbey, town and surrounding countryside.

Once I had exhausted all angles of photography of the abbey, I left the hustle and bustle of Melrose behind and followed the River Tweed south where I came across the hugely charming village of St Boswells. A little off the beaten track, but worth the drive, is my next highlight: Scott’s View. Sir Walter Scott’s favourite panorama consists of a spectacular landscape spanning over the River Tweed and Eildon Hills.

While Abbotsford House, Melrose Abbey and Scott’s View were highlights of my day, the greatest attraction for me was the journey between each stop that I made. The valleys, forests and rich farmlands decorate this part of the country in such a memorable way.

What this pocket of Scotland lacks in dramatic mountains and glens, it makes up for in beautiful rivers, fascinating history and wonderful architecture. I can guarantee that if you choose this alternative destination you will taste Scottish beauty in its purest form – natural and undisturbed by the influences of mass tourism.

Go south and unzip this undiscovered pocket of Scotland for yourself!

Caitlin Richmond

P.S. Inspired to visit the Borders for yourself? We offer walking holidays on the Borders Abbeys Way and St Cuthbert’s Way – both of which explore this charming area. If you’d rather discover this wonderful region from the comfort of a car, I would recommend our self-drive itineraries Burns Country & the Scottish Borders and Literary Scotland.

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