After the traumas of hiring a car and getting out of town, we found ourselves in the rolling, green pastures south of Edinburgh known as the Scottish Borders. The stretch of the A72 between Peebles and Melrose is particularly pretty as it winds along the River Tweed in the warmth of early spring – buds just on the trees, little moos and bahs bouncing around the field, unwinding tourists like myself driving at 45 in a 60…
Melrose, one of the prettiest and best preserved market towns in the Borders, is both the birthplace of Rugby Sevens as well as home to one of the finest remaining abbeys in the region.
This red sandstone beauty was built by Cistercian monks in 1136 in their search for a tranquil setting to adapt the Benedictine order. I continue to find myself baffled by the ploy they used to “employ” local Scots – one meal a day in winter, two in summer, and a stone bed to sleep in. Since when are locals unable to survive off the land? With the turmoil of the 14th century, the abbey was burned down at least three times and later became the final resting place of Robert the Bruce’s heart.
And who says the Scots can't do buttresses? (Admittedly, the main stonemason was French.)
From the top of Melrose Abbey looking N/NE towards the Eildon Hills. (No this photo was not retouched in PS... it was really that pretty and blue.)
My mum spotted this delicate specimen stranded in the dark stairwell leading to that fabulous view. Struggling due to the coolness, I rescued him before he was trampled by rampaging kiddlings.
This is my first entry in find the bagpiping gargoyle quest... As you'll see in upcoming posts, they are everywhere in Scotland. Can you spot the bagpipes this piglet wields?
Despite the centuries of erosion, these carvings continue to maintain their awe as the shadows approach...