Thursday, 30 May 2013

Crossing the Border to Scotland

Today we drove over the border to Scotland stopping to see the Jedburgh Abbey on the way, and again stopping to see Norham Castle. It is hard to believe the accents of the people have changed literally as we went over the border, now I need to listen more closely to understand what is being said.

The trees are just so beautiful it makes the drive magical

Crossing over the border into Scotland

Jedburgh Abbey
Jedburgh Abbey is one of the four great abbeys built in Scotland’s border country during the Middle Ages. It was established as a priory of Augustinian canons around 1138. The brethren possibly came here from St Quentin Abbey, near Beauvais, France. The priory was raised to abbey status around 1154. Augustinians were priests who lived a secluded and contemplative life, but who went forth from their cloister to minister to the people. Jedburgh eventually possessed about 20 parish churches.

Arriving at Norham Castle

Commanding a vital ford over the River Tweed, Norham was one of the strongest of the border castles, and the most often attacked by the Scots. Besieged at least 13 times - once for nearly a year by Robert Bruce - it was called 'the most dangerous and adventurous place in the country'. But even its powerful 12th century keep and massive towered bailey walls could not resist James IV's heavy cannon, and it fell to him in 1513, shortly before his defeat at Flodden. The extensive 16th century rebuilding which followed, adapting the fortress for its own artillery, is still clearly traceable. The extensive 16th century rebuilding which followed, adapting the fortress for its own artillery, is still clearly traceable. The Inner Ward, reached across a wooden bridge are the remains of the Great Hall and the Great Chamber as well as the three surviving walls of the Great Tower itself.
West Gate

Private Bishop's Suite

Kitchen & Hall

Accommodation Suites
Smailholm Tower was originally built in the 15th century or early 16th century by the Pringle family. Smailholm Tower was designed, in common with all Scottish peel towers, to provide its occupants with protection from sporadic English raids. The tower was attacked by English soldiers in 1543, 1544 and again in 1546, when the garrison of Wark Castle sacked the tower and carried off prisoners and cattle. The castle was successfully defended against the English in 1640, by Sir Andrew Ker of Greenhead. We then drove on stopping to see Smailholm Tower. A 20m (65ft) tower house, with walls 2.5m (9 ft) thick, dominates the rock craig known as Lady Hill. In its shadow lie the ruined foundations of an outer hall and kitchen block, discovered during excavations in 1979–81. A stout defensive wall, 2m (7ft) thick, encloses the barmkin, or courtyard. The tower house comprised the main residential accommodation for its Pringle laird – ground-floor cellars, first-floor hall, second-floor bedchamber and additional chambers at the top.

Smailholm Tower

We checked into our accommodation before going to see Dryburgh Abbey.

Our room for the night.

The sitting lounge two doors away.

Dryburgh Abbey Hotel

Dryburgh Abbey

Great Western Doorway

The graceful ruins of Dryburgh Abbey nestled in wooded seclusion beside the River Tweed. Perhaps the most beautiful of all the Border Abbeys, the ruins of Dryburgh Abbey are remarkably complete and surrounded by beautiful grounds. First established in 1150, Dryburgh Abbey became the premier house in Scotland of the Premonstratensian order and today continues to have a peaceful atmosphere. Despite having been set on fire three times, the chapter house features paintwork that dates back to its construction and today boasts some of the best Gothic architecture in Scotland. These graceful ruins became the burial place of David Eskrine, 11th Earl of Buchan in 1829, and three years later his friend Sir Walter Scott was also buried here.

Kevin standing where the choir stalls would have been and behind the High Altar.

We then drove to see the statue of Wallace. The Dryburgh statue was the first monument to be raised to Wallace in Scotland. The eleventh Earl of Buchan was very attached to the Dryburgh area and this nobleman was himself buried at Dryburgh. He built a 260 foot suspension bridge over the river Tweed here and also commissioned a colossal statue of Wallace to be built. This statue was placed on its pedestal on 22nd September 1814. It stands 21.5 feet high and is formed of red sandstone. When first raised it was painted white, but is now bare sandstone. The statue was designed by a Mr John Smith, a self-taught sculptor, and he had copied its likeness from a supposed authentic portrait which had been purchased in France by a Sir Philip Ainslie of Pilton. Wallace is represented in ancient Scottish armour, a shield hanging from his left hand, and leaning on a huge sword with his right.

The view that the statue has over the valley.

We then walked onto the Temple of the Muses.

River Tweed

Temple of the Muses

This circular nine columned gazebo stands since 1817 on Bass Hill, a mound overlooking the River Tweed at the west end of the Dryburgh village. It is dedicated to the poet James Thomson, the Ednam poet and author of "The Four Seasons" and the lyrics of Rule Britannia, and his bust can be seen on the top of the structure. The temple originally contained a stone statue of the Apollo Belvedere (Greek God of music and poetry) on a circular pedestal showing nine Muses with laurel wreaths. Bronze figures of the Four Seasons by Siobhan O'Hehir were installed as a replacement in 2002.

Suspension Bridge over River Tweed

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