All posts by jennifermacl

Scottish Borders Saddles Up

Towns and villages across the Scottish Borders are gearing up for the upcoming season of special events and one of the area’s most spectacular traditions – the Common Ridings.

Hundreds of horses and riders will turn out in 11 separate festivals to take part in each town’s annual ride-out – a celebration of the centuries old riding of the Boundaries. The tradition harks back to the days when the magistrates and burgesses of the town made an annual inspection of the various markers that outlined the ground belonging to the town. Each town has its own special week of events each summer that combines with various ride-outs with parades, music and song.

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Jedburgh Callants Festival

The rides are the most spectacular element of each festival and can over 300 horses and riders gallop across open fields, through rivers and up hillsides and parade through town centres behind an elected principal rider that bears the town flag as they follow the historic boundary lines. They can last anywhere from four to ten hours and often include a ceremonial element.

It’s an amazing sight, with almost everyone from each town turning out to cheer on the riders and wish them luck and a safe journey with the phrase – ‘Safe Oot, Safe In!’ Many of the rides start first thing in the morning so if you want to see them for yourself, you’ll need to be prepared for an early start.

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Galloping Across the Fields

Hawick is the first of the larger town ride-outs and this year’s Common Riding Festival takes place from 5 to 11 June, with the main ride-out being held on Friday, 10 June 2016.

In Hawick the traditional ride-out is combined with a commemoration of the young men who successfully defended Hawick from a raiding party at the Battle of Hornshole in 1514. Following the disastrous Battle of Flodden in 1513, where all Hawick’s menfolk between the ages of 16 and 60 were killed, it was heard that a raiding party was approaching and the young men of Hawick decided to defend their town. They surprised and defeated the invaders who had camped at Hornshole, taking their banner and riding triumphantly back to town. Although small in scale, the victory was a huge boost to the town’s pride after the Flodden defeat.

The main ride outs for each town take place on the dates below, although dates should be confirmed before travel:

  • West Linton – Saturday, 4 June 2016
  • Hawick – Friday, 10 June 2016
  • Selkirk – Friday, 17 June 2016
  • Melrose – Monday, 13 June 2016
  • Peebles – Wednesday, 22 June 2016
  • Galashiels – Saturday, 2 July 2016
  • Jedburgh – Friday, 8 July 2016
  • Duns – Saturday, 9 July 2016
  • Kelso – Saturday, 23 July 2016
  • Langholm – Friday, 29 July 2016
  • Coldstream – Thursday, 4 August 2016
  • Lauder – Saturday 6, August 2016

These events are the most familiar example of the heritage and traditions of the Scottish Borders but the region is also filled with stunning countryside and history and makes a wonderful holiday destination at any time of the year.

We have a selection of fabulous cottages in gorgeous locations in the area, ranging from romantic retreats for two, to beautiful family friendly cottages that are perfect for a relaxing break or a larger family get-together. We even have some properties that allow you to bring along your own horse, should you fancy riding in some of the beautiful countryside yourself.

Click here to discover more or call 01835 822277 where a member of our friendly team will have lots of suggestions of great places in the region for you to stay.

Charming New Addition – The Study at Minto

History fans and those looking for something ‘a bit different’ are sure to love the latest addition to our portfolio, which is set in the picturesque village of Minto in the Scottish Borders.

Perfectly set up for two people, The Study at Minto was built in 1889 as the village school in a location that was deemed to be ‘the most beautiful and commodious in the south of Scotland’. The views are indeed stunning and can be enjoyed from the beautiful raised patio outside after a day spent out exploring the local area.

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Open Plan Living Area

The building itself has undergone a long and careful restoration and preservation that has retained most of its stunning original features including fine Gothic windows as well as floors, doors and decorative woodwork.

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Four-Poster Bed

The interior is a fabulous eclectic mix of history and craftsmanship. An intricately-carved Tudor four-poster bed provides a rather grand place to sleep, after which you can cook-up a tasty breakfast (free range eggs can be sourced in the village) in a kitchen constructed from an early 19th century French sideboard rescued from a chateau south of Paris, with worktops formed from recycled Victorian pews from a Borders church.

Two stunning carved oak panels on either side of the south window date from 1890 and were created in the workshops of the eminent Scottish architect, Sir Robert Lorimer. Amongst the exquisite Persian rugs and French and Scottish furniture dating from the mid 18th to the late 19th centuries, visitors can also discover a 1920s working gramophone and taxidermy including a rare Capercaille named Hector who was a pet on a Scottish estate that died of natural causes.

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Shower Room

Even the shower room at The Study is packed with history with its loo and basin being beautiful reproductions of the original Thomas Crapper line from around 1880.

There’s no shortage of history in the surrounding area as well, with lots to discover on the many walks near the cottage.

An old medieval church lies abandoned in the woods across the golf course, surrounded by the remnants of Victorian planned rose gardens. Attached to the church wall, you can still see a ‘joug’ – a terrifying chain that was placed around the neck of gossiping women as a means of punishment!

North east of Minto village is Fatlips Castle. Built as a Turnbull clan stronghold in 1530, its memorable name is said to originate from the habit of members of the house to greet guests with less discretion than was considered decent at the time. The key to the Castle can be borrowed from an adjacent village.

There’s a treasure-trove of beautiful buildings and bridges in the nearby Minto estate, as well as a hidden lake with a delightful waterfall in Gibbies Glen. The area’s natural beauty also includes the giant and famous Minto Larches. Grown from seedlings and planted in the glen 300 years ago, they are thought to be the oldest and best examples in Scotland.

Nearby Ruberslaw Hill is actually an extinct volcano and an ancient place of worship. It has been much celebrated by poets and writers in the Borders who have seen from its summit one of the most beautiful views in Scotland.

Filled with history, tradition and natural beauty, this part of the Borders is a wonderful place to visit and with its fabulous charm and character, The Study makes the perfect base. Pet friendly and sleeping two people, a week’s stay starts from just £450.