Further Afield

If venturing out and about from the cottage, you might like to visit one or some of the following.

Bamburgh Castle.


Formerly  the home of the Earl of Northumbria, the present castle, now owned by the Armstrong family, dates back to the Norman 11th century, whilst history tells of an earlier structure (castle?) dating back to  AD 547. The castle, situated high on a rocky outcrop, dominates the pretty little town of Bamburgh, which also houses a memorial to the story of Grace Darling. It  has , throughout the years, featured in numerous television programmes and films, most recently Robin Hood (2010).   Bamburgh, just off the A1 , can be reached from Kelso in just over one hour. Further information can be found here.
Soutra Aisle

images        A medieval hospital, dating back to Ad 1164, during the reign of King Malcolm 4th. Founded by the Augustinian Order,” an order that ran more hospitals than any other” Soutra catered for the needs of the poor, travellers and pilgrims and was largely supported by funds donated from hospital estates around the Lothian region. Presently the remains of this hospital occupy a site, described as amongst the most spectacular in Scotland,situated high on a hill just off the B6368 . From its sumit you can see no less than 60 major Scottish peaks. Since 1986 the site has attracted some 130.000 visitors. Information on opening times etc, can be found here.



Traquair House.



Scotland’s Oldest Inhabited House, having been inhabited for over 900 years and originally a hunting lodge for the kings and queens of Scotland.In 1491, it was gifted by the Earl of Buchan to his son, James Stewart, who became the 1st Laird of Traquair. The main building was completed during the 1500’s and 1600’s and in 1566 briefly became associated with Mary Queen of Scots. In the mid 1600’s , due to the family’s support for the Catholic faith and the Jacobite cause, the family forfeited advancement and brought on isolation.

The Bear Gates at the top of the main drive were built in 1739 only to be closed in 1745 following the visit of Bonnie Prince Charlie when the 5th Earl promised they would never be opened again until the Stuarts returned to the throne. The Stuarts survived at Traquair until 1875 when Lady Louisa Stuart died unmarried. The earldom was lost and the house passed to her cousin Henry Constable Maxwell who took the name Maxwell Stuart and it is Catherine Maxwell Stuart, 21st Lady of Traquair, who lives with her family in the house today.

This beautiful House holds many events throughout the year , is proud to manufacture a wide range of award winning ales and features an excellent shop and gallery. In addition, the House caters for both weddings and corporate events and even has overnight accommodation with fine dining .

Opening hours, prices and more information may be found at : http://www.traquair.co.uk/

The John Buchan Way.

This is a 22 kms (13 miles) in length walk ,with a total climb of around 800 metres. It stretches from Peebles to Broughton and is named after John Buchan, the famous writer strongly linked with the Borders area. A new museum    illustrating the life of Buchan is now open in Peebles.

The walk is usually split into two parts, Peebles to Stobo and Stobo to Broughton, however, strong walkers would incur little difficulty completing it in one day.

A guide in Pdf format may be obtained , courtesy of the Scottish Borders Council, here.

A guide to the John Buchan Museum , can be found   here.

Rosslyn Chapel.

Roslyn Chapel

Rosslyn Chapel, was founded on a small hill above Roslin Glen as a Catholic collegiate church in the mid-15th century, construction beginning in 1456.. It is located at the village of Roslin, Midlothian, Scotland and its architecture is considered to be among the finest in Scotland.

The Chapel was founded by William Sinclair, 1st Earl of Caithness , descended in part from Norman knights from the commune of Saint-Clair-sur-Epte in northern France.

Within the chapel, amongst many other fascinating objects , can be found the Apprentice  pillar.

A legend dating from the 18th century tells the story involving the master mason, in charge of the stonework in the chapel, and his young apprentice. According to the legend, the master mason did not believe that the apprentice could perform the complicated task of carving the column without seeing the original which formed the inspiration for the design.

The master mason travelled to see the original himself, but upon his return was enraged to find that the upstart apprentice had completed the column anyway. In a fit of jealous anger the mason took up his mallet and struck the apprentice on the head, killing him. The legend concludes that as punishment for his crime, the master mason’s face was carved into the opposite corner to forever gaze upon his apprentice’s pillar.

Templar and Masonic connections.

The chapel, built 150 years after the dissolution of the Knights Templar, supposedly has many Templar symbols, such as the “Two riders on a single horse” that appear on the Seal of the Knights Templar.It is also claimed that other carvings in the chapel reflect Masonic imagery, such as the way that hands are placed in various figures. One carving may show a blindfolded man being led forward with a noose around his neck—similar to the way a candidate is prepared for initiation into Freemasonry. The carving has been eroded by time and pollution and is difficult to make out clearly.

The chapel was built in the 15th century, and the earliest records of Freemasonic lodges date back only to the late 16th and early 17th centuries. A more likely explanation however is that the Masonic imagery was added at a later date. This may have taken place in the 1860s when James St Clair-Erskine, 3rd Earl of Rosslyn instructed Edinburgh architect David Bryce, a known freemason, to undertake restoration work on areas of the church including many of the carvings.

William Sinclair 3rd Earl of Orkney, Baron of Roslin and 1st Earl of Caithness, claimed by novelists to be a hereditary Grand Master of the Scottish stonemasons, built Rosslyn Chapel. A later William Sinclair of Roslin became the first Grand Master of the Grand Lodge of Scotland and, subsequently, several other members of the Sinclair family have held this position.

These connections, whether real or imagined, to both the Templars and the Freemasons, mean that Rosslyn features prominently in conjectures that the Freemasons are direct descendants of the Knights Templar.

The Chapel features prominently in Dan Brown’s “Da Vinci Code” and has been extensively written about and documented through the ages.  ( Music to Da Vinci Code)

Extract courtesy of Wikipedia. Jan 2014.

Lindisfarne Castle & Farne Islands

Lindisfarne Castle HolyIsland


Lindisfarne Castle is located some 27 miles north of Anwick ,just off the A1 and is accessed via a tidal causeway. It was Built in approximately 1550 , around the same time as the Priory ceased to be used and displays spectacular views over the Northumberland coast. It is located in what was once the very volatile border area between England and Scotland. , and sits on Beblowe the highest point of the island.

In 1901, it became the property of Edward Hudson a publishing magnate and the owner of Country Life magazine, who had it substantially refurbished.. The refurbishment, executed by by Sir Edward Lutyens, was carried out in the Arts and Crafts style

Close to the castle can be found a small summer garden designed by Gertrude Jekyll.

The Farne Islands, accessed via nearby Seahouses, lie 2-5 miles off the Northumberland coast and provide shelter to no less than 23 nesting bird species, including Fulmar, Shag,Eiders , Terns,Guillemot. Razorbill and Puffin.( In May the population of sea birds can exceed 160,000 together with thousands of grey seals)

For crossing times  see below.


Barter Books: Anwick

Barter Books

 One of the largest second hand bookshops in Britain.

Occupying a “magnificent old Victorian railway station”, in the heart of Northumberland, Barter Books has over 400,000 volumes on its shelves, and has been a focal point for artists, linguists and literature enthusiasts since 1991.
In an age of aggressive high street sales techniques, combined with radical changes in the way people digest literature via electronic devices, Barter Books offers a haven from unabated 21st Century consumerism.
The bookshop was opened in 1991, by Mary Manley and her husband Stewart, and was inspired by a summer Mary spent in an antiquarian bookshop in New York.

Open every day incl. Sundays and all Bank Holidays (apart from Christmas Day):
Summer 9 – 7 • Winter 9 – 5 (Saturday 9 – 7)
(Buffet hours: Summer 10 – 5 • Winter 10 – 4:30)

Barter Books, Alnwick Station, Northumberland NE66 2NP.
+44 (0) 1665 604888


By car:   Alnwick is located just off the old and historic London to Edinburgh road (formerly called the Great North Road and now the A1). Roughly midway (c. 35 miles) between Newcastle upon Tyne and the Scottish borders, it is a glorious drive from whichever direction you come, north or south, with the magnificent unspoiled coastline on one side and the Cheviot Hills on the other.

Extract taken from Barter Books website.

Mary Queen of Scots Visitor Centre.

A 16th century tower house ,located in Queen street Jedburgh and home to Mary in 1566 ,it is set in a beautiful garden. The story of Scotland’s Queen is told through                    objects, paintings and textiles associated with Mary. Her death mask is also on display.
Audio tour, foreign language translations, gifts, books and souvenirs for sale.
Open March to end November Mon – Sat 9.30-2.30 and Sun 10.30-4.00. Entry is free.

Tel 01835 863331

The building features a number of rooms which highlight specific aspects of Mary’s tragic life.

Lammermuir Festival


  East Lothian’s celebration of
Beautiful Music in Beautiful Places


Lammermuir Facebook


The Maltings : Berwick on Tweed

A Visual Arts Venue

Berwick on Tweed

Book your seats and check full programme   ,



Walter Scott Monument


Standing like a colossus on the edge of Princess street, in the heart of Edinburgh this memorial to one of Scotland’ s literary giants its 287 internal steps of Lothian sandstone,will elevate you to a viewing area some 61 metres in height. From the viewing platform commanding views of the city paint the eyes.

The monument was designed by George Meikle Kemp and was inaugurated on August 15th 1846.

More information can be located here and here.

Boat trips to the Farne Islands.

Go here for website.

St Abbs.
Paxton House.
Hadrian’s Wall.
Mary Queen of Scotts Visitor Centre. Jedburgh
Borders Abbeys Way.
Bowhill House and Country Estate.
Hopetoun House.
Monteviot House.