The Scottish Borders Abbeys
The Scottish Borders is a region that is too often overlooked by travellers who tend to be drawn to the bright lights of Scotland’s cities or to the more dramatic natural scenery of the Scottish Highlands. It’s a great shame that so many will miss out on the appeal of the area, in particular its four magnificent 12th Century abbeys.
With a fascinating but difficult history, the region has seen more than its fair share of conflict. There have been centuries of battles and raids with the English neighbours here. Still standing though, remarkably, are the abbeys of Melrose, Kelso, Dryburgh and Jedburgh (my favourite). With their intricate architecture and defiance of Scottish weather conditions, they are amongst the most impressive and moving of Scotland’s innumerable historic attractions and are a must for any visitor. The four are in pretty close proximity while Kelso and Melrose are also particularly pleasant small towns for a wander between stops.
Drivers visiting each of the abbeys will have the added bonus of stops at Scott’s View and the powerful red sandstone Wallace Statue. The former was a favourite panoramic spot of Sir Walter Scott, one of Scotland’s most famous sons. The latter is one of many tributes in Scotland to William Wallace. Despite being more famous for his battles in and around the Stirling area, he did a fair amount of scrapping in the south of Scotland too.
The Scottish Borders may not have the jaw-dropping scenery of Scottish landscapes in the north, they are hard to match anywhere. However, the country drives between its four magnificent abbeys are a delight and the serenity is a pleasant surprise despite being only about an hour from Edinburgh. The Border Abbeys alone make a trip to this part of the country very much worth a thought or two.