Tips from the locals: the Scottish Borders

What were my impressions of the Scottish Borders during a recent, and far-too-brief, trip?  Scenic countryside, clad in the finest autumn robes; atmospheric historic buildings that were witness to some of the country’s most turbulent times; ever-changing light that decorated the rolling hills and valleys; a place of quiet beauty.

If you’re planning a trip to the Borders here are a few suggestions from local holiday home owners on interesting things to see and do.

Credit Sue Beck, Hendersyde Farm Cottages

Fatlips Castle

Surely the name alone will have peaked your interest?  Situated on a rocky hill known as the Minto Crags, this 16th century castle is said to have gone by other names including Minto Castle and Mantoncrake Castle.  The quirky ‘Fatlips’ evidently stuck, and apparently comes from the habit of men kissing women as they entered the castle.  Originally built by the Turnbull clan, it has recently undergone major restoration work.  The walk up to the top of the crags is well worth the effort for the views.

The recently renovated Fatlips Castle, credit Sue Beck

Berwickshire Coastal Path: St Abbs to Eyemouth

Mmmmm… There’s nothing quite like lungfuls of sea air and the sight of a watery horizon to revitalise the spirits.  For a lovely coastal walk along the cliff tops with picturesque views and beaches, our self-caterers recommended the St Abbs-Eyemouth section of the Berwickshire Coastal Path.  St Abbs is a pretty fishing village at the base of the St Abbs Head National Nature Reserve and its Visitor Centre is a good starting place for visitors to the area.  The harbour in the fishing port of Eyemouth is said to often be visited by seals and there is also a sandy beach to explore, with its rock pools at low tide.  To complete your coastal experience, head to Giacopazzi’s for award-winning fish and chips, with fish fresh from the sea.

Siccar Point Rock Formations

Further up the coast, the tiny village of Cove, near Cockburnspath, is a good place to visit the fascinating rock formations at Siccar Point.  This is the most well-known example of ‘Hutton’s Unconformity’ – a geological site where two types of rock formation can be seen.

Teviot Wildlife Walk

One of our Owners’ Secrets, this walk winds through the Teviot Valley, where you can often spot otters and watch salmon fishers.  Looping from Junction Pool in Kelso, you then cross the River Teviot and return via an old railway line.

The Hirsel Estate

Near Coldstream, the Hirsel Estate is ideal for a family day out, with with walks, a lake, Highland cattle, crafts and a tea room.  Visit Dundock Woods, on the edge of the Country Park, in spring to see the Rhododendrons and Azaleas in bloom.  One holiday home owner said: ‘A peaceful stroll through the wood on a calm, warm evening, with the birds singing and soft evening light can be quite magical!’.

Dundock Woods in spring, credit Sue Beck

Our Marketing Adminstator stayed at Hendersyde Holiday Cottages during a short break in southern Scotland.  Take a look at this two part special for tips on things to see and do around Kelso and Melrose.

Do you have any suggestions to add?  Leave your comments below.

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