The Scottish Borders
The Scottish Borders area is less than an hour's drive from Edinburgh. With
its tranquil villages and varied scenery the area provides a wealth of
opportunity to enjoy a relaxing holiday. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of
attractions, including many magnificent, privately owned historic houses, great
border abbeys, telling their own tale of border feuds with England, and working
woollen mills, water mills and craft workshops. The spirit of self-reliance and pride in
the community here is nowhere better expressed than in the Border Common
Ridings. These annual events in early summer recall times when community
boundaries had to be protected from invaders. Now they are great celebrations
of horsemanship. Coldstream provides one of the most impressive of these
pageants during its annual civic week, with the mass of riders leaving for the
near by historic battlefield of Flodden.
The Scottish Borders are of course famous for their history, but they also
contain hidden treasures, that are not perhaps as immediately obvious to those
contemplating a visit to the region.
The notes provided here, although representing only a small fraction of what
the region has to offer, should nevertheless whet the appetite of all those who
cherish the countryside, history, culture and sport.
The Borders Countryside & History
With the Cheviot, Lammermuir and Eildon hills all within an easy drive of
Coldstream, the area is a joy for those who love scenic beauty in a completely
tranquil environment. The sandstone from which so many of the regions historic
buildings are constructed produces these wonderful gently rounded hills with
their hidden lush river valleys. Many guests take advantage of the central
location of Coldstream for these hills to enjoy walking holidays in the area.
With mile upon mile of golden sands the North Northumberland coast is easily
reached from Coldstream. It is not without reason that the area was described by
a UK national motoring organisation as "God's Country".
The only difficulty is deciding which particular feature represents the
gem in the crown.
The towering majesty of Bamburgh Castle with its museums and fascinating
history competes for the accolade with the island of Lindisfarne, "The
Holy Island" with its powerful connections to St Aidan and St Cuthbert
and of course the national treasure of the Lindisfarne gospels crafted by the
remarkable Bishop Eadfrith.
By way of contrast to the soft golden sands of Northumberland, the bracing
sea cliffs of the Scottish coast north of Berwick provide magnificent walks as
well as the opportunity to view the wide range of sea birds colonising the
area. The Farne Islands just off the North Northumberland coast are a sea bird
sanctuary of national importance and sightseeing tours from the nearby harbour
of Seahouses provide an unforgettable experience, with seals, porpoise and the
occasional Orca adding to the enjoyment.
The area around Coldstream is full of historical connections and this is
perhaps most readily demonstrated by the fact that two Kings of Scotland ( James
II in 1460 and his grandson James IV in 1513 ) both fell in battle less
than twelve miles from Coldstream, whilst the treaty of Birgham to seal a
dynastic marriage between Scotland and England was signed in 1290 only a
handful of miles from the town. English Heritage offer a superb audio tour of
nearby Etal Castle which played an important part in the battle of Flodden
Sport, Culture and Cuisine in the Borders
Home to Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish Borders provided the backdrop for
many of his most famous works, his home of Abbotsford, built on the banks of
the Tweed is a must, for all visitors with an interest in literature.
For those interested in sport, the borders can boast a large number of
excellent golf courses, ranging from the parkland setting of the Hirsel course
which is less than half a mile from the Stables and Hayloft to challenging
links courses on the Berwickshire and North Northumberland coastlines.
The borders were also the birthplace of rugby sevens, and the game has a
strong following in the region with many of the Scottish national team coming
from local clubs.
The Tweed of course is internationally renowned as a Salmon river with
many world famous pools. including the "Temple Pool" only 600 metres
from the Stables and Hayloft.
A wide range of fresh local produce is available through the many local markets
in the area. Two of the principal markets close to the Stables and Hayloft are
those in Berwick ( Saturdays) and Kelso ( Sundays).
The readily available supply of fresh produce means that good restaurants are
plentiful throughout the area and guests will find an up to date list of
recommended establishments in each property.
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