2017 has started well

Liverpool is a lovely city, but even lovelier are the people I know there. I had a lovely overnight trip of chatting, lots of tea, and a trip to the Liverpool Central Library.

Burns Night is an annual Scottish celebration of the life and poetry of Robert Burns. We went to a friend’s place where we ate a traditional meal of haggis, neeps, tatties, whisky, wine and poetry. I’m also currently completing a short online course on Robert Burns, but the accent I have not yet perfected…

I’m learning to run. It’s slow and often painful, but it’s in a social group who don’t mind us slowpokes at the back. I can already feel the difference – it’s easier to stick to it when there are other people with you.

We watched Trainspotting 2 in a cinema with Leithers. There was an obnoxious drunk guy dragged out of there halfway through and the movie was brilliant, recognisable Edinburgh scenes popping up every second minute. A true Leith experience – I loved every second.

The Scottish Borders are beautiful. We have a wonderful friend who lives in Galashiels and she has a CAR. What a difference a car makes! Yesterday we drove to Melrose Abbey, rumoured burial site of the heart of Robert the Bruce. The ruins are brilliant in the winter sun, which was setting over the valleys as we drove back via Scott’s View. You could see the mist in the shadow of the hills. No wonder this was such a beloved view of Sir Walter Scott!

This morning we went to Dryburgh Abbey, burial place of the great man himself. Sir Walter Scott loved these ruins also, and it’s easy to see why. Today was more overcast and misty, and the rose-tinted stone walls looked like a painting. We saw the Dryburgh Yew, the book cupboard where the monk’s used to keep their library, and graves of Scott and Earl Haig.

The next stop was Kelso Abbey – these ruins are smaller and less impressive, but still worth a visit to marvel at their imposing height, especially if you’re a sucker for a well-preserved historic ruin like I am.

Lunch was at The Teviot Smokery, a gorgeous little restaurant. We didn’t get to see the water gardens because of time restrictions, but I would definitely stop past next time. We arrived at Jedburgh Abbey just in time for last admissions. This is the largest and most impressive of all the Borders abbeys, so I would recommend leaving longer than half an hour to do it, especially as they have an audio guide option as well. As it was though, we still had a good opportunity to walk around the whole site and get some good photos. Despite it being the most well-preserved abbey, it doesn’t have any specific features that draw in tourists (such as Sir Walter Scott’s grave or Robert the Bruce’s heart), so it tends to be overlooked a bit I think. It’s a shame because it is a truly awe-inspiring place – I definitely recommend it!

We had enough sun left to get down to Carter Bar, a point on the English-Scottish border with two large boundary stones. The views are brilliant.

We drove back to Galashiels through Hawick and caught a train back to Edinburgh. There is so much more to see, and we have less than a year to fit it in!

 

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