Search just our sites by using our customised search engine

Unique Cottages | Electric Scotland's Classified Directory

Click here to get a Printer Friendly PageSmiley

Guide to the Highlands and Islands of Scotland
Directions for visiting the Lowlands of Scotland

General Object of the Appendix; List of Guide-Books for the Lowlands, footnote, 1.

I. THE TWEED; THE BORDER COUNTRY; THE FOREST (SELKIRK and ETTRICK), and CLYDESDALE—General Features, 2.—Outline of Tour to these Districts, 3.—Edinburgh to Melrose: Dalkeith; Lasswade;.Hawthornden and Roslin, footnote; Borthwick and Crichton Castles; Currie Wood; The Gala Water, 4.—Galashiels; Bridge-end; Darnick; Skirmish between Bucclench and Angus, 5.—Melrose Abbey, 6.—General Character of the Tweed, 7.—Old Melrose; The Cowdenknowes; Earlstoun, 8.—Dryburgh; St. Boswell's; Littledean Tower; Smailholme Tower, 2.—Kelso and Abbey; Roxburgh Castle; Fleurs; Home Castle; Ednam — Kelso to Berwick: Flodden; Hollywell Haugh; Norham Castle; Halidon Hill; Berwick, footnote, 10.—Kelso to Jedburgh: Penielheugh; Vale of the Jed; Bonjedward; Jedburgh Abbey; Ferniehurst., 11.—Jedburgh to Hawick: Minto House; Monteviot; Denholm; Battle of Ancrum Moor, 12—Hawick; Bransholm; Goldieland Tower; Harden Castle; The Cheviot Hills; Langholm; Gilnockie Tower; The Esk; Netherby Hall; Longtown; Liddesdale; Hermitage Castle; Hawick to Melrose: Mangerton Tower, footnote, 13.—Melrose Abbotsford and Selkirk: Abbotsford, 14; Selkirk; Ettrick Forest; Philipbaugh; Oakwood Tower; Tushielaw; Thirlstane Castle; Ettrick Churchyard and Village, 15.—Moffat Wells—Moffat to Selkirk, by Yarrow: Loch Skene; The Grey Mare's Tail, 16.—The Covenanters; St. Mary's Loch; Henderland Tower; Dryhope Tower; The Yarrow; Altrive; Mount Benger; Blackhouse Tower; Upright Stones near Manse of Yarrow; Newark Castle; Sweet Bowhill; Carterhaugh, 17. Selkirk to Peebles: Ashiestiel; Elibank Tower; Inverleithen; Traguair; Horsburgh Castle; Border Peels along the Tweed; Peebles, 18.—Peebles to Lanark; Nidpath Castle; Drummelzier; Biggar; Carnwath; Cowdaily Castle; Wilsontown Iron-Works; Edinburgh and Glasgow Forks of Caledonian Railway, 19.-Lanark; Falls of Clyde; Cartland Crags-Lanark to Hamilton: Craigncthan Castle; Battle of Drumclog; Cad-cow Castle; Wild Cattle, 20.-Hamilton Palace-Hamilton to Glasgow: Battle of Bothwell Brig; Bothwell Castle; Blantyre Priory; Rnthcrglen; Battle of Langside, 21.

II - EDINBURGH TO GLASGOW AND AYR, AND THE LAND OF BURNS, THE COASTS of GALLOWAY AND DUMFRIES. - Most Striking Points on Glasgow Railway Line; Viaduct over the Almond; Niddry Castle, 22.-Linlithgow Palace and Church, 23.-Falkirk; Diverging Railway Lines, 24.-Country from Glasgow to Ayr; Lochwinnoch and Ailbirnie Loch; Crookston Castle; Paisley; Elderslie; Branch to Kilmarnock; Kilwinning; Ardrossan; Eglintoun Castle, 25.-Ayr; Burns' Monument and Birthplace, and other Localities connected with his Name and Works, 26.-The Carrick Shore; Colzgn and Turnberry Castles; Maybole Parish, 27.-Coasts of Galloway: Dundrennan Abbey; Balcarry Shore; Colvend; Sweetheart Abbey, 28.-Dumfries: Lincluden Abbey; Caerlaverock Castle; Lochmaben and Castle; Dumfriesshire, 29.

III - MAIN RAILWAY LINES THROUGH SCOTLAND.--(1.) Berwick to Edinburgh: General Features of the Country; Spots of Interest; Battles of Preston-pans and Pinkie; Conference at Carberry Hill, 3O.-Dunbar and Castle; Church; Works on the Line; Holly Hedges at Tyningham ; Coldin-ham Priory; Fast Castle, 31.-North Berwick; Tantallan Castle; The Bass Tock; Haddington; Abbey, 32.-(2.) Caledonian Railway, 33.--(3.) The Edinburgh, Perth, and Dundee Railway-Grange House; Kirkcaldy; Falkland Palace; Wilkie's Birth-Place, 34.-St. Andrews; Cathedral; Tower and Chapel of St. Regulus, 33.-Perth Branch-Lindores Abbey; Round Tower at Abernethy; Moncrieffe Hill, 36.-(4.) The Scottish Central Railway-General Course, 37. The adjoining Scenery of the Devon; Alva Glen; Dollar; Castle Campbell; The Caldron Linn; The Rumbling Bridge, and the Devil's Mill, 38.-Dunfermline; Malcolm's Tower; Abbey Church; Palace; Clackmannan and Alloa Towers, 39.-Bridge of Allan; Kipperness Sycamore Tree; Dunblane; Cathedral; Archbishop Leighton's Walk and Library; Battle of Sheriffmuir; Forteviot; Tunnel at Moncrieffe Hill, 40.-(6.) The Perth and Dundee; Dundee and Arbroath; Scottish Midland Junction, and Arbroath and Forfar Railways: Carse of Gourie; Dundee; Glammis Castle; Arbroath; Abbey of Aberbrothock, 41.- (6.) The Aberdeen Railway: Montrose; Brechin; Church and Round Tower; Dunnotar Castle, 42.

1. Whit a view of supplying such information as we hope may suffice to enable the tourist to make his way to the more interesting portions of the Lowlands of Scotland, we have been induced to throw together a concise epitome of the routes most worthy of the stranger's attention, with brief sketches of the railway lines, without pretending to supersede reference to the more copious descriptions in the guide books, professedly of the whole of Scotland, or of the many serviceable local treatises, and the railway sheets which are now to be had at a small cost, [We may particularize Black's Tourist of Scotland, and Economical Tourist of Scotland; Black's Guides through Edinburgh and Glasgow; the Scottish Tourist's Abbotsford Tour; Falls of Clyde and Western Tour; an the Land of Burns' Tour; M'Phun's Scottish Land and Steam-boat Tourists' Guides; Jeffrey's Guide to the Border; Sylvan's Pictorial hand-book to the Clyde and to Land of Burns; The Tourist's Companion through Stirling, &c.; Murray's Hand-books for River and Firth of Clyde, Clydesdale and Hamilton Palace, Arran and Atlas Craig; Lizars' Guides to the Railways in sheets; Murray's Railway Record; and Bradshaw's Descriptive Guide to the Caledonian Railway.] and without attempting to trace out all the lines of road through the south of Scotland, but leaving necessarily untouched, several, yet not many, objects of interest and places of importance.

2. Of all districts south of the Grampians, there is no difficulty in selecting for pre-eminence in all that attracts the foot of the tourist—the Tweed and Border country, with the adjoining reaches of Clydesdale—scenery the richest and most beautiful that cultivation and woodland, embellished with many a princely structure, watered by noble rivers and delightful streams, lined with gentle slopes and swelling hills and craggy heights, and passing in the uplands into smiling pastoral vales and verdant hill tracts, can present—is combined with objects of antiquarian interest innumerable and varied, while the whole region is intensely marked with historical association, and much of it is familiarly known by name in Scottish Song and Border Story, while in our own days the Tweed, the Ettrick, and the Yarrow, are sort of consecrated names to all, for of the magician of Abbotsford, and the Ettrick shepherd, all have heard. The splendid ecclesiastical fanes of Melrose, Dryburgh, Kelso, and Jedburgh, alone are worthy of a pilgrimage. But in addition are scattered all over the country, the ruins of many a noble stronghold and sturdy Border peel, each with its tales of love and war. The whole Border and contiguous country was for centuries a battle-field, and its annals are written in blood. It is consequently studded over with fortalices, and nowhere in our country is the happy transition from strife to peace more strongly indicated than by the frequent memorials of Border chivalry in contrast with the waving fields and quiet pastures, dotted with fleecy flocks; of the present day.

The lines of railway from Edinburgh to Melrose, and thence to Hawick, and also to Kelso, and projected to Berwick; and again from Edinburgh and Glasgow to the sources of the Clyde, have rendered all the districts in question of peculiarly easy access.

3. We will suppose the tourist at Edinburgh, [We cannot, in our limited space, attempt any description of Edinburgh and Glasgow, and must refer the reader to Black's Guides to these cities.] and the tour we would chalk out for him in order to an acquaintance with the districts in question, is by railway to Galashiels, Melrose, and Kelso—thence to Jedburgh—from Jedburgh to Hawick; then back by rail, to Melrose—thence by Abbotsford to Selkirk—from Selkirk up the Ettrick as far as Moffat, and back by the Loch of the Lowes and St. Mary's Loch, and down the Yarrow to Selkirk—from Selkirk by Inverleithen to Peebles—from Peebles by Carnwath or Biggar to Lanark and the Falls of Clyde, Hamilton, Bothwell Castle, and Glasgow. The detour by Jedburgh and Hawick, and again along the Ettrick and Yarrow, can be omitted; while, on the other hand again, the tour can be prolonged by a run from Kelso to Berwick, or from Hawick to Langbolm and Longtown by Branxholm, and back by Liddesdale.


4. The Edinburgh and Hawick railway diverges from the east coast line at Portobello. On the way to Dalkeith, [From Dalkeith may be visited the wooded rock-girt liaw-thornden, and the architectural bijou Reslin chapel. But a better way is to take the coach from 10 Princes Street to Lssswade, distinguished for its paper works and velvet carpet manufactories. Admission to Hawthornden grounds is restricted to the south side of the Esk, and that only on Wednesdays, and the egress is at Roslin. Any conveyance has then to be sent round by Lasswade to Roslin to meet its freight there, or the visitor, by a walk from Roslin to Loanhead, can meet the Lasswade coach on its return. Below the chapel Rollin Castle forms a fine ruin. On Rosslyn moor, a celebrated battle was fought on 24th February 1302, when the Regent Comyn and Sir Simon Fraser on the same day routed three divisions of the English army. Near Lasswade is Melville Castle, the seat of Viscount Melville.] where is Dalkeith Palace, the heavy-looking seat of the Duke of I3uccleuch, we pass the ruins of Craigmillar Castle, frequently used as a royal residence, particularly by James V. and Queen Mary.

Beyond Dalkeith, pass Newbattle Abbey, a seat of the Marquis of Lothian; and Dalhousie, the seat of the Earl of Dalhousie. Near Gore-bridge station, Arniston House, the seat of the family of Dundas of Arniston, of judicial eminence. Beyond Fushie Bridge station, we pass the ruins of the old Castle of Catcune, and of Borthwvick Castle, the largest and finest specimen of the square tower style of Scottish castles. Here Queen Mary and Bothwell sojourned for a brief space after their marriage, and from hence she had to flee in the disguise of a page, and shortly after the conference at Carberry Hill sealed her ill-starred destiny. Borthwick Manse was the birth-place of Dr. Robertson the historian.

A short way north-east of Borthwick, stands the noble ruin of Crichton Castle, 12 miles from Edinburgh, admirably described in Marmion. In its descent to the Tweed, the railway repeatedly crosses and recrosses the Gala Water.

5. Galashiels and Hawick are now the most important woollen manufacturing towns in the south of Scotland; the former, in particular, distinguished for its fine fabric called Tweeds.

Following the line to the eastward, we find it cross the Tweed at Bridgend, and passing the village and ruined tower of Darnick, we soon reach Melrose, at the foot of the "triple-capped" Eildon Hills, 36 miles from Edinburgh, 14 from Kelso, and 12 from Jedburgh.

Close by Bridgend, the Tweed is joined from the south by the Allan water, famed in Scottish Song, and now as the Glendearg of the Monastery. Between Bridgend and Darnick, Buccleuch intercepted Archibald, Earl of Douglas and Angus, returning with the youthful James V. from an expedition in 1528 against the Armstrongs, and endeavoured to rescue him from the Earl's power, but was defeated, the followers of Lords Home and Ker having come up and reinforced the royal forces.


of St. Mary's, is altogether the finest specimen of middle-pointed, or indeed any age of architecture, which Scotland has produced. It was built by David I. The monks were of the Cistertian order. The choir and transepts are smaller, but the nave larger than those of Drybnrgh and Jedburgh. Melrose and the neighbouring religions structures did not escape from their share of the rapine and violence which so often devastated all around, when marauding inroads and reprisals formed the great business of the Border—Scotch and English. Sir Walter's gorgeous imagery has cast into the shade the earlier history of Melrose, when, borrowing the pure light of truth from Iona, it served to reflect it on the adjoining English provinces. The original shrine stood on a different site from the present edifice. Considerable portions of the buttressed walls of Melrose Abbey are standing, and still form a most beautiful edifice: all parts are richly figured with exquisite tracery, and statuary distinguished for expressiveness, the chiselling and sculpturing being to this day quite fresh and sharp. Alexander II. is buried at Melrose; and the wizard Michael Scott, to open whose tomb at dead of night came William of Deloraine. Many, also, of the great family of Douglas are interred here; and here also is entombed the heart of Robert the Bruce.

7. The scenery between Melrose and Kelso is exceedingly beautiful. Generally the whole valley of the Tweed is open, and the bordering verdant hills rounded into smooth summits. The ranges are of some elevation, sloping gradually from the haugh grounds along the river. At times they hem in the latter more closely, and rise more suddenly, but are not much broken by rocky faces or precipitous acclivities; frequently intersected, however, by lateral winding hollows or hopes as they are styled, each with its tributary rivulet. The channel of the river is but little depressed, and it flows limpid and steadily over its pebbly bed. Mingled rich wood, corn, and pasture land, gladden the eye and engage the attention, more by the general tone and complexion, so to speak (except for some miles below Melrose, where the Eildon and other eminences diversify the general character), and by individual accessories and embellishments, than by form and feature in the extended landscape. In the latter part of the course of the Tweed, the country beyond its banks assumes a fine champaign character.

8. At Old Melrose, there was a Culdee establishment (afterwards removed to Coldingham), said to have been founded by Aidan, a monk of Iona, who had been selected, on the application of Oswald King of Northumbria, for the work of evangelising his subjects, and who took up his episcopal residence at Lindisfarne about the year 635.

The Tweed is joined on the opposite side by the Leader, issuing from a beautiful wooded vale. On this, the North Road, though longer, to Dryburgh, some of the finest views are to be obtained.

On the east bank of the Leader, and about a mile and a-half from where it joins the Tweed, is Cowdenknowes, a name well known to every lover of Scottish song; and, a mile further up the Leader, the village of Earlstoun, or Ercildoune, close by which are the remains of the tower in which lived the famous "Thomas the Rhymer," author of the metrical romance of "Sir Tristrem," and reputed utterer of many popular prophecies.


is situated on the haugh land on the north side, about four miles from Melrose, contiguous to the mansion of the Buchan family, and completely embosomed amid rich foliage. Of the Abbey, except some of the terminal walls, little remains, but forming altogether a highly picturesque group,

"Where Ruin greenly dwells."

Dryburgh was also founded by the pious King David in 1150. A heightened interest now attaches to Dryburgh, as the last resting-place of the remains of Sir Walter Scott.

Returning to the public road, about four miles from Melrose is the village of St. Boswells, or Lessuden, where the principal cattle and sheep fair in the south of Scotland is held on the 18th of July. This village, in the sixteenth century, contained sixteen strong bastel, or fortified houses—a curious exemplification of the then disturbed state of this part of Scotland.

Littledean Tower, somewhat more than two miles below St. Boswells, was the residence of a family of the Kerrs.

Several beautiful residences come in sight in our progress; but the tourist will be most interested to know that, within about four miles of Kelso, a view is obtained of the Tower of Smailhome, or Sandy' Knowe Tower, about two miles north of the river, in the close vicinity of which Sir Walter resided in his childhood with his paternal grandmother, and imbibed in great measure the impressions which aroused and gave a bias to his genius. It is described in the "Eve of St. John."
10. Kelso, a handsome town, situated on the north margin of the Tweed, with the remains of the ancient castle of Roxburgh, the 3farche dun, as it was called—on a low eminence, near the junction of the Tweed and Teviot, above the town, and on the further side of the river, and opposite, the splendid ducal palace and rich woods of Flenrs—combine to form pictures of the most exquisite beauty. Roxburgh Castle was a principal residence of the kings of Scotland, but little of it now remains. The most prominent object in the town is the Abbey, a tall massive structure, one of the most ancient edifices in the kingdom. The style is purest Saxon, but the arches which support the tower are Early English Gothic. Of the choir, only two arches, with the superstructure, remain. James III. was crowned in Kelso Abbey in 1460, in the seventh year of his age. A holly tree, opposite Roxburgh Castle, marks the spot where his father, James II., was killed, during the siege of the castle, by the bursting of a cannon.

About five miles north of Kelso are the ruins of Home Castle, once an important Border fortress, and two miles north-east of Kelso is the village of Ednam, the birth-place of the author of "The Seasons," to whom a conspicuous monument has been erected on a rising ground at about a mile's distance from Ednam.


The road to Jedburgh and Hawick, which latter is 20 miles from Kelso, ascends the course of the Teviot, but Jedburgh lies about a couple of miles up the river Jed, which falls into the Teviot from the south.


The principal objects of interest on the way to Berwick, twenty-three miles distant from Kelso, are the following :—The ruins of lI ark Castle, about six miles from Kelso, of which frequent mention is made in the wars between the two kingdoms. About thirteen nines from Kelso, and four below Coldstream, the old brid0e by which the English crossed the Till before the battle of Flodden, of which tie fatal field lies on the English side of the Border, between the Till and Norham Castle. The ruins of Norham Castle, immortalised in the paces of Marmion, overhang the Tweed about seven miles above Berwick. Above it is Holywell Haugh, where Edward I. met the Scottish nobility, who had referred to his arbitration the claims of the different competitors to the crown, on the death of Alexander III., and where lie first advanced his pretensions as Lord Paramount, which led to so protracted and desolating wars. Here, at the ford of Ladykirk, the English and Scottish armies used chiefly to cross before the bridge of Berwick was erected. About five miles above Berwick is the Union Chain Bridge, designed by Captain Brown, and erected in 1810—the first suspension bridge in Great Britain fitted for loaded carriages. Before entering Berwick, which is fortified by a rampart and double walls, with five bastions, we pass Halidon Hill the scene of a battle, 1333, in which the Scots were defeated.]

Teviotdale is eminently beautiful, and particularly picturesque where the Cayle joins the Teviot.' A monument, in commemoration of Waterloo, has been erected on the top of Penielheugh, on the opposite side of the Teviot, at the confluence of the Jed, from which the view of Merse, Teviotdale, and Tweeddale, with their numerous abbeys, castles, and towns, is very beautiful, and extends to Berwick and the German Ocean.

The vale of the Jed, rendered classic ground by the pen of Thomson, is more confined, but its serpentine windings present a great variety of beautiful landscape. Shortly after crossing the Jed, we pass Bonjedward where there was a Roman station, and celebrated in the ballad of Redswire—a Border conflict in 1575, in which Sir George Heron was killed, and Sir John Foster, warden of the marches, and others, made prisoners. Jedburgh is delightfully situated amid a profusion of trees and garden and orchard ground. The town retains an antique air in many of its houses. No traces remain of its once important castle. The abbey is a magnificent Saxo-Gothic pile. The south transept is almost entirely gone, as also the whole of the aisles and portions of the choir. There are two tiers of arches—those in the second tier subdivided by central shafts, and above these a third storey—in the nave, four lancet windows above each set of arches, forming the upper corridor into an elegant arcade. The nave, in being converted into a parish church, has been shockingly defaced. There is a door of Saxon architecture in the south wall, unrivalled in Scotland for elegance of workmanship, and symmetry of proportions. The tower, crowned with turrets and pinnacles, is about 120 feet high, and the view from the top is quite magnificent. The proportions of this fine edifice are considered peculiarly pure. Jedburgh Abbey was enlarged, or perhaps rebuilt by David I., and appropriated to Canons Regular of the order of St. Austin.

The burghers of Jedburgh often signalized their warlike propensities, and the shoemakers carefully preserve an English penon, a trophy of their prowess at Bannockburn.

The ruins of Ferniehirst, the ancient seat of the Kerrs, lie a short distance from the town. Beside it there is a well-known oak tree of great size, called the "Capon Tree," and about a mile from the castle, another, called the "King of the Wood." The impervious forest of Jed was the scene of many of the most gallant exploits of the Douglas.


12. Numerous mansions occupy the Vale of Teviot to Hawick, a distance of about ten miles, of which the principal is Minto House, the seat of the Earl of Minto, and the scenery along the river is diversified by Minto Crags, rising from the bed of the Teviot. The village of Denholm, nearly opposite Minto House, was the birth-place of Dr. John Leyden. From Penielheugh, at the base of which is Monteviot, the residence of the Marquis of Lothian, and to the west, Ancrum house, the seat of Sir William Scott, we may look down upon Ancrum Moor or Lilliard's Edge, where, in 1545, a victory was obtained over the English by the Earl of Angus-

" Where fierce Latour and savage Evers fell,"
" \Where Scott and Douglas led the Border spear."

The spot is marked by a monument to the fair maiden Lilliard, who fell here fighting on the side of the Scots.


on the right bank of the Slittrig, hemmed in by hilly ground on all sides, is sweetly situated. The town is singularly deficient in public buildings, but carries on extensive woollen manufactures. Within three miles is


formerly a place of great extent and strength, and at one titne the residence of the Scotts of Buccleuch, now occupied by the Duke's chamberlains.

[Nearer Hawick, and opposite the junction of the Bortha'ick with the Teviot, stands Goldielands Tower, and in the narrow vallcy formed by the Borthwick, Harden Castle, another of the old Border strengths, and which both belonged to members of the clan Scott.


The continuation of the same line of road (the usual Carlisle and Edinburgh coach road), through the Cheviot Rills to Langholm, a distance of 23 miles from Hawick, presents little of interest. The whole of this, as of the adjoining pastoral districts, exhibits a continued series of smooth, green, rounded eminences appropriated to sheep. Langholm is very beautifully situated. About three miles below Langholm is Gilnockie Tower, which belonged to the famous Johnnie Armstrong, who was treacherously hanged by James N. At the small village of Canobie, the scenery is also beautiful, ana the winding stream of the Esk to Longtown, nine miles from Langholm, presents a succession of very pleasing landscapes. Three miles before reaching Longtown, where English ground commences, on the opposite side of the Esk, is Net herby hall, the fine seat of Sir James Graham. The route from Hawick to Langholm, by Liddesdale, possesses more of interest for the pedestrian or horseman than that by Branxholm. Liddesdale is made frequent mention of in the Minstrelsy of the Scottish Border, and is also distinguished as the scene of Dandie Dinmont's home. Far the most interesting object in Liddesdale is Hermitage Castle, which was one of the strongest of the Border fortresses. It was built by Lord de Soulis in 1243, and afterwards became the stronghold of the great family of Douglas. It now belongs to the Duke of Buccicuch, and is kept in good preservation. Near Ettleton Church are the remains of the Castle of Jock o' the Stile, and farther down the ruins of 3fangerton Tower, a stronghold of the Armstrongs.

Longtown is within a very short distance of Gretna Green, which everybody has heard of.]


The line of railway to Melrose (16 miles) passes through some pretty dean scenery—that is, small dells or ravines, watered by rivulets—and to the west of the Dlinto Crags, and of Minto House, and of Antrum Moor, and crosses the Ale Water, which is overhung by rugged and partially wooded rocks.


14. Abbotsford is about 2j miles from Melrose. The house, a pet creation of Sir Walter's, was designated by himself "a romance in stone and lime," being a congeries "borrowing outlines and ornaments from every part of Scotland." The grounds and plantations have also been fashioned by the same great hand, of which it may well be said-

"Nihil tetigit quod non ornavit."

A large collection of rare and curious antiquities, and many costly and interesting articles presented to the late owner by persons of rank and note, and the valuable library, also contained in a magnificent room 50 feet by 60, and comprising about 20,000 volumes, will gratify the visitor. But the most affecting objects are the body clothes of the gifted dead, worn by him previous to his decease, and the closet or study in which he used to forge his glowing conceptions. The library, museum, plate, and furniture, were presented to Sir Walter as a free gift by his creditors, and have been entailed as an heirloom in the family. Abbotsford is open to the public on Wednesdays and Fridays, from 2 till 5.


lies about three miles up, and on the east side of the Ettrick, and about four miles from Abbotsford.

Selkirk and Peebles, being out-of-the-way burghs, retain a good deal of the air of old Scottish towns. In the triangular market-place of Selkirk, there is a fine monument and statue of Sir Walter Scott. The citizens of Selkirk distinguished themselves at the battle of Flodden, and the loss sustained by them gave rise to the beautiful ballad of "The Flowers of the Forest;" and a standard taken by them is still in possession of the Corporation of Weavers.


The field of Philiphaugh, where Montrose was surprised by General Leslie, and lost all the fruits of his previous victories, lies on the opposite side, below the junction of the Ettrick and Yarrow. These two streams run nearly parallel, with an intervening ridge of hills, till they almost meet near Moffat Water, which flows in an opposite direction into the Annan river. The whole of Ettrick is now one extensive sheep-walk. Advancing up the Ettrick, we pass, in succession, Oakwood Tower—said to have been the residence of the wizard Michael Scott—and, in the upper part of the glen, Tushielaw, the fortress of the famous Adam Scott—called "The King of the Border"—who was hung on an ash tree beside his own gate (still to the fore, and called the Gallows Tree) by James V. In this memorable expedition, in 1528, the king was accompanied by about 12,000 men, whom noblemen and gentlemen, especially of the Highlands, assembled in obedience to his proclamation, "to danton the thieves of Teviotdale, Annandale, Liddesdale, and others." A road leads from Tushielaw to the Yarrow, below St. Mary's Lake. Near Tushielaw there is a comfortable inn, and thereafter we reach the ruins of Thirlstane Castle, and the modern mansion of Lord Napier. In the churchyard of Ettrick, still further up, there is a monument to the well-known Rev. Thomas Boston, author of " The Fourfold State ;" and one of the few houses in the village was the birth-place of Hogg the Ettrick Shepherd. The road we are now pursuing joins that up the Yarrow, at the farm of Bodsbeck, in Moffatdale, which has given a name to one of Hogg's tales.


16. Descending Moffatdale, we soon reach the fashionable watering-place of Moffat, which is about 35 miles from Selkirk, and within two miles of the Beatock Station, on the Caledonian Railway, which is 601 miles from Edinburgh, and 39- from Carlisle—Edinburgh, by road, being distant from Moffat 61 miles, and Dumfries 21. It is pleasantly situated in the upper vale of Annan. In the immediate vicinity are the highest hills south of the Forth, affording a great variety of blended Highland and Lowland scenery. The views from Hartfell and the white Coomb of Polmoody are most commanding. There are mineral baths, a bowling green, and promenade, attached to the pump-room, and there are both sulphurated hydrogen and chalybeate wells.


Reascending now the Moffat Water, and deflecting from the Yarrow road, a few miles up a small glen, to the north, about nine or ten miles from Moffat, it will be found to issue from the dark Loch Skene, a sequestered and desolate spot; about a mile below which the stream forms a magnificent waterfall, called "The Gray Mare's Tail," falling into a wild gully, and computed to be about 300 feet in height, and certainly one of the most striking natural objects in the south of Scotland. It is well worthy of a visit from the vicinity of Moffat.

17. Opposite the door of Birkhill, a small house eleven miles from Moffat, at the highest part of the road between Moffatdale and Yarrow, four Covenanters were shot by Claverbouse, and the adjoining district witnessed many of the sufferings of the persecuted remnant. On the "Watch Hill," opposite Birkhill, they had always an outlook, and a cave at Dobb's Linn, below, was a favourite place of retreat. The small loch of the Lowes is next reached, with Chapelhope at the head, a name met with in the history of the Covenanters, and the scene of the tale of the Brownie of Bodsbeck. St. Mary's Loch succeeds, on which

"The swan
Floats double—swan and shadow."

In the Vale of Meggat, on the north, are the ruins of Henderland, the residence of another Border freebooter of the name of Cockburn, who was also hung over his own gate by James V. " The Lament of the Border Widow," a truly pathetic ballad, has reference to this occurrence. At the east end of the loch is Dryhope Tower, the birth-place of Mary Scott " The Flower of Yarrow;" and about a mile to the west, by the loch side, the cemetery of St. Mary's Chapel, east of which is the grave of the sacrilegious John Birnam, a priest of the chaplainry

"That wizard priest whose bones are thrust
From company of holy dust.

The Yarrow, which flows from St. Mary's Loch, though the theme of many a poem and song, is perhaps most familiarly known by Hamilton of Bangour's song

"Busk ye, busk ye, my bonny bonny bride."

South of the east end of the loch is Altrice, the last residence and scene of the death of the Ettrick Shepherd, and to which a road leads from the Gordon Arms Inn, about thirteen miles from Selkirk. Again, three miles below the lake, is Mount Benger, at one time also occupied by him. A wild glen on the Douglas Water, to the north, is said to be the scene of the "Douglas Tragedy," and belonged to the Douglasses so early as the reign of Malcolm Caenmore, and of whose very old peel-house, Blackhouse Tower, there are still some remains. Near the church and manse of Yarrow, three miles below Mount Benger, two huge masses of upright stone are said to commemorate one of the tragic Border duels, but which is matter of dispute. It forms the subject of the old song of the "Dowie Dens of Yarrow," and of a modern ballad of Hogg's, and it is also commemorated in Wordsworth's Poems on Yarrow. This or other early tragedy seems to have given a key-note of plaintiveness to the muse of each succeeding poet who has made the Yarrow a theme of lofty rhyme. An air of plaintive sadness, it is fancied, also accompanies the stillness and silence of the upper vale of Yarrow—the result we take it of association rather than of any peculiarity from other sequestered pastoral scenes.

By and by the glen begins to merge its pastoral in a wooded character, and four miles below the church are the ruing of Newark Castle; and previously on the way, near the village of Yarrowford, the ruins of Hangingshaw Castle, the scene of the song of "The Outlaw Murray."

Newark, a hunting-seat built by James II., and now belonging to the Buccleuch family, is the place where the last minstrel is supposed to pour forth his lay to Anne, Duchess of Buccleuch and Monmouth. Here, on "The Slain Man's Lee," Leslie, after the Battle of Philiphangh, caused a number of his prisoners to be massacred in cold blood. Nearly opposite is Fowlshiels, where Mango I'ark was born and resided. A mile below Newark is "The Sweet Bowhill," a summer residence of the Duke of Buccleuch. Descending to the extremity of Yarrow vale, at the junction of the Ettrick and Yarrow, we come to Carterhaugh, the supposed scene of the fairy ballad of "Tamlane."

Instead of the route we have traced, the tourist may prefer to reverse it, or he may choose to confine himself to the Yarrow, and instead of returning from Moffat, find his way on direct from thence to the Falls of Clyde or elsewhere.


18. Directing our course now from Selkirk to Peebles, and thence across to the Clyde at Lanark, the road crossing and descending the Ettrick, also directly passes to the further side of the Tweed at Yair Bridge. As we ascend the Tweed, the scenery becomes more pastoral.

On the south side is Ashiestiel, at one time the residence of Sir Walter Scott, and the ruins of Elibank Tower. About fifteen miles from Selkirk, and six from Peebles, we reach the watering place of Innerleithen, the St. Ronan's Well of the Waverley Novels. Nearly opposite is Traquair House, and on the hill side may still be seen some fine thorn trees, the survivors of the famous thicket, the "Bush aboon Traquair." On the way to Peebles are the remains of several other Border strengths, as Cardrona, Nether Horsburgh, and Horsburgh Castle. And here we may observe, that the whole course of the Tweed had been at one time lined on both sides alternately, at intervals of almost every mile, with square towers, keeps, or peels, while numerous rinks, or dry stone circular forts, occupied the heights. Between Thanes' Castle, the most westerly of the square keeps, and Peebles, a distance of ten miles, there were eight such fortalices. They served as points for beacon-fires and places of temporary security for cattle.


distant twenty-two miles from Edinburgh, and twenty-one miles from Selkirk, is a very old town, and is the scene of James I.'s celebrated poem of "Peblis to the Play."


19. Half a mile west of the town, stands Nidpath Castle one of the most entire of the castles alluded to, and having walls of great thickness. It belonged at one time to the Frasers of Tweeddale, and is now the property of the Earl of Wemyss. On the way to Biggar, Drummelzier Castle, the ancient seat of the Tweedies, now belonging to the Hays, is passed. Biggar is a neat little town, about fifteen miles from Peebles, and twelve from Lanark; and the Bog of Biggar is supposed to have been the scene of one of Wallace's victories. South of the town are the remains of Boghall Castle, formerly pertaining to the Earls of Wigton. Nothing particular presents itself to notice on the way from Biggar to Lanark. The country is monotonous, and the tourist had best find his way to the Caledonian Railway, about four miles off. To the south-west lies the lofty hill of Tinto, verdant to the top, and "facile princeps" among the adjoining hills. The way from Peebles by Carnwath is two or three miles shorter than that by Biggar. Near the village are the ruins of Cowdaily Castle, a seat of the Somervilles, and also an extensive iron-foundry at Wilsontown. The district about the sources of the Clyde and Tweed is rich in coal and minerals.

The Glasgow and Edinburgh forks of the Caledonian Railway here form a junction by a large triangle, and one of the most remarkable embankments on the line occurs at Carnwath—an embankment of sand, forty feet wide, twenty feet deep, and 2 miles in length, well consolidated, and displacing the fluid moss through which the line advances.


Twenty-five miles from Glasgow and thirty-two from Edinburgh, is distinguished as the scene of Wallace's first exploits, and the neighbouring localities have attached to them numberless traditions connected with his life. About a quarter of a mile from the town are the remains of a fine very old church; and between the town and the river lies Owen's celebrated cotton manufacturing establishment of New Lanark; but Lanark is chiefly famous for its proximity to the


If we except the river Beauly, the falls of which are not of any consequence in point of height, though eminently distinguished by the great beauty of the river scenery, there is none of our larger rivers which displays the phenomenon of waterfalls. Those on the Dee are near its source, before it has attained much volume. On the Clyde we have no less than-three fine falls, all within the compass of a few miles. For several miles below, and for a couple of miles or so above Lanark, the channel of the river is closely confined by high rocky banks. These, indeed, in some places, approach within a few feet of each other, but again diverging so as to afford a fine breadth to the river, and beautiful and romantic reaches. The two upper falls, Bonniton and Corra Linn, are within half a mile of each other, and the former two miles distant from Lanark. The fall of Stonebyres is about three miles farther down, and also about two miles from Lanark. Of these the uppermost (Bonniton) is about thirty, Corra eighty-four, and Stonebyres perhaps sixty feet in height. It is advisable to visit the uppermost first. The falls can be visited from either side of the river, there being a bridge between the second and third falls. The summits and ledges of the rocks throughout are embellished with trees and coppice. At Corra Linn the rocks form a fine amphitheatre, and they are set off by the ruins of the old castle of Corra on the western brink; and the whole series and intervening river course are exceedingly beautiful and gratifying.

The tourist ought not to omit to visit Gartland Crags on the Mouse, about a mile from Lanark, where the stream flows through a narrow chasm between rocky wooded banks about 400 feet in height, and where a bridge of three arches has been, thrown across the ravine of the very great height of 146 feet.


The road to Hamilton crosses to the west side of the Clyde, and conducts through a district deservedly termed " The Orchard of Scotland," from the wealth of rich fruit trees, now whitened with blossom, again bowed down with generous fruit. The scenery is gladsome, charming, and heart and eye filling, in no common degree.

On a rock overhanging the Nethan stands the ruins of Craignethan Castle, which furnished the model for Tillietudlem in Old Mortality.

Approaching Hamilton, we cross the Avon, which presents a dell of like character with that of Roslin and Hawthornden. Drumclog lies towards the source of this stream, famous for the defeat of Claverhouse by a body of Covenanters, on the first Sunday of June 1679, as so vividly described in the above work.

On the west bank of the Avon are the ivy clad, wood embosomed ruins of Cadzow Castle, the ancient baronial residence of the family of Hamilton. Some of the most gigantic and oldest oaks in Scotland are to be found here; and in the forest are preserved herds of the famous breed of Scottish wild cattle, milk-white, with muzzles, horns, and hoofs of jet.


21. Hamilton, as its chief attraction, has to boast of the magnificent ducal palace, standing on a plain between it and the river. Since the extensive recent additions (designed by Hamilton), this is altogether about the most superb private edifice in Scotland; and it is surrounded by a princely park of about 1400 acres of valuable land, comprising a great meadow of some 500 acres. The front facade is a splendid specimen of the Corinthian order, taken from the temple of Jupiter Stator at Rome. It has a central and two terminal projections. In front of the central compartments is a noble double portico of columns of thirty feet high, each of a single stone, and weighing twenty-six tons, with rich entablature and pediment. The portico is peculiarly striking, and the harmony and just proportions of the whole elicit universal admiration. Nor is the splendour and costliness of the interior less worthy of note. But its peculiar charm is the great celebrity of several of the masterpieces in painting, especially "Daniel in the Lion's Den," Rubens' finest picture, "the glory of Hamilton," as it has been well called, and, among others, the "Two Misers," by Mastys; "The Marriage Feast," by Paul Veronese; and the best of Vandyke's portraits, that of "William Viscount Fielding, First Earl of Denbigh." All this opulence of art is, with a noble liberality, open to every respectable person, without any special application.

The South Calder water in the neighbourhood will be found to possess beautiful natural scenery, in combination with a great number of fine country seats.


The attractions of the Clyde, apart from its peculiar features below Glasgow, are not yet exhausted. About a mile and a half from Hamilton we cross the river by the identical bridge—though now much widened—which witnessed the battle of Bothwell Brig, for the details of which we must refer our readers to the panes of Old Mortality. The only struggle was by a brave band posted at the bridge. The holm by the river side belonged to "fierce but injured Bothwellhaugh," who shot the Regent Murray at Linlithgow. The old Gothic church, and the tower of the new church of Bothwell, give a finely featured character to the otherwise pretty village. A mile and a half further on are the magnificent ruins of the massive towers and lofty walls of Bothwell Castle, a noble specimen of the first class of Scottish strongholds. This imposing edifice crowns a bank in a fine sweep of the Clyde, whose course is here highly banked and richly wooded. On the opposite side the picturesque ruins of Blantyre Priory, on the edge of a precipitous rock, add to the fine effect of the whole. The castle has repeatedly changed owners, and is now, for the second time, the property of the Douglas family.

The most pleasant road to Glasgow Iies on the north side of the river, but near the ruins of Cathcart Castle, in the neighbourhood of Rutherglen, on the other side, is the battle-field of Langside, so fatal to Queen Mary's fortunes. At Rutherglen it was that Monteith agreed to betray Wallace to the English.

Ten and a half miles from Hamilton the tourist reaches the prosperous capital of the West of Scotland.

Return to our Online Books Page  |  Return to our Travel Section


This comment system requires you to be logged in through either a Disqus account or an account you already have with Google, Twitter, Facebook or Yahoo. In the event you don't have an account with any of these companies then you can create an account with Disqus. All comments are moderated so they won't display until the moderator has approved your comment.

comments powered by Disqus