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An Englishman abroad (permanently)
Borders in General
Member Name: Flibble
Borders in General
Date: 30/07/01, updated on 30/09/04 (42 review reads)
Advantages: Beautiful surroundings, diverse range of activities
Disadvantages: Lack of ammenities compared to big cities
I spent the majority of my life living in quite large towns and cities – to me the countryside was a far off myth, my knowledge of animal wildlife consisted of the family dog and the occasional sparrow that I’d come across in the back garden!
So how do I now find myself living in the middle of the Scottish borders and what can it offer the occasional visitor?
I live in a small village called ‘Greenlaw’ – don’t worry if you’ve never heard of it before – according to my parents we’ve travelled through it countless times when visiting relatives in Dunfermline – I’d never heard of the place myself though until just over a year ago.
I’m from Middlesbrough originally but attended university in Sunderland for four years. It was during my time here that I met my future other half and she comes from the borders herself (Burnmouth to be exact, which is just north of Berwick). One thing led to another and once we’d graduated it was time to look for work.
I graduated with a degree in IT, and so began looking for jobs in Edinburgh, bur I didn’t have too much luck – things to a turn for the better though when I found a job at a Software house based in the Borders. The next thing was trying to find a home. After much searching we eventually found our present home, and it was now that I started to explore more of the area to see what it has to offer.
Our little village is quite close to a town called Duns. This town is the home to the former Motor racing champion Jim Clark and each year Duns plays host to a stage in the British Rally Championship entitled ‘The Jim Clark Rally’ If you’re a motor enthusiast it’s well worth a visit with quite a few races taking place over the various roads around my area. If you’d like to find out a bit more information about Jim Clark then take a look at http://ak.essortment.com/jim
A visit to some of the pubs in Duns is also worth a visit as there are many press clippings and photos of Jim in action. Previously I’d never heard of this guy, but having read the news stories it becomes clear that he was a set apart in his day.
However, due to the landscape in the borders you’re never too far away from something to interest you. If you prefer to spend you’re time visiting stately homes and gardens then you’re in for a real treat here too! Places that are worth a look are Paxton house (http://www.microart-ukheritage.co.uk/houses/paxto n.htm), Floors Castle (which has recently reopened following closure due to foot and mouth (http://www.roxburghe.bordernet.co.uk/floors/) and also Duns Castle (http://www.bordernet.co.uk/duns/castle/) If you’re feeling particularly flash with the cash then you can stay at Duns castle too – and it was recently used as the wedding reception for the Liverpool footballer Robbie Fowlers wedding! Duns, the Hollywood of Scotland!
Other towns worth a visit include Kelso, Galashiels and Coldstream. Each of these towns are at most an hour apart from each other, and each can offer the visitor good local amenities as well as a pleasant walk in the nearby countryside.
One of the more famous aspects of Scotland of course is Scottish Highland dancing. During July to August in the small fishing village of Eyemouth visitors can be entertained to Scottish dancing displays every Friday night outside the town museum (in fact, it’s my fiancÚ who is the dance teacher, so I thought I might as well try to get her a free plug in this review if nothing else!)
Of course, being in the borders there is a lot of local history to discover, why not pay a visit to Berwick, town of many a skirmish between the English and Scottish over the years? Taking a walk around the town walls often reveals a story at each turn and you c
an always find a nice spot to stop for a picnic or pub for a bite to eat – in fact, I take it upon myself to research these pubs myself on quite a regular basis!
Quite a lot of families also go to Coldingham beach for the day too. The beach, although small is very well kept. Visitors to Coldingham can also visit the oldest church in Scotland at Coldingham abbey.
One of the more famous exports from the Borders in the production of Cashmere garments and a visit to Hawick will show many of the production mills still in existence. Here people can look at how the garments are made as well as the history behind some of the production methods. Again, Hawick also offers a good selection of local shops as well as restaurants and bars, something for all ages really!
I’ve only really glossed over the areas that you can visit; there are many guidebooks and local history books that can be used as a guide to areas in particular that YOU might want to visit. I’ve lived here for just over a year now, and whilst I still think you miss out on many of the things you can get in a large town or city, the countryside can more than make up for it with it’s beautiful countryside and pubs that seem to think late licenses are common place everywhere!