Jul 092010

Nine continuous days of riding have finally brought us into Scotland. We crossed the border a few times today as we wound inland roughly along the Tweed River.  This delightful and quite rural region is still called the Scottish Borders or sometimes the “debatable lands”.

We rode past Norham Castle at about lunchtime, and had a quick look at the ruins. It was once the strongest fortress on this part of the border, and was considered to be the most dangerous place in England. From the ramparts it is easy to look down across the Tweed into Scotland, so this castle had more than its fair share of battles.  The remaining ruins are from when the castle was largely rebuilt after a defeat in 1513, and they are now a freely accessible park.  When we were there a family of children were playing hide and seek in the ruined walls.

The ride to Kelso was on minor roads through fields and forests, and the day was again sunny enough for us to worry about sunburn. It will be an irony for us to return to Australia tanned and peeling from the English sun!

The ruins of Kelso Abbey are striking in the rooftop view from our loft room. We had a wander through the remains of what must have been an enormous church building, and the adjacent tree canopied cemetary.  There were a lot of abbeys along the debatable lands, and they were mostly destroyed in the border wars.


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