I have a list of places in the Scottish Borders that I’ve been meaning to visit. It’s the typical scenario of not doing “touristy” things when they’re right on your doorstep. With the potential for a move growing I feel like we should be doing these sooner rather than later. Here’s my quick list:
Isle of May – This one is all about the puffins although I’m sure it will be lovely to see the other sea birds as well. Puffins nest on land during spring and early summer then head back out to sea for autumn and winter. The Isle of May is right in the Firth of Forth so we can drive to North Berwick and hop on one of the organized boat excursions from there. It’s also home to one of the largest puffin populations in the UK, with about 40,000 occupied burrows. We did actually try to go last year but our trip was cancelled by the folks with the boat due to weather/choppy water. I received a gift voucher for the trip as a birthday gift this year so we will be going! I’m putting this one at the top of the list because there is a limited window to hang out with puffins before they leave their burrows. We’ve reserved seats on the June 21st boat, I’ll let you know how it goes!
Abbotsford House – I almost feel obliged to visit this one as it’s so close and maybe I’m a long lost relative of Sir Walter Scott 😉 I would love to see the gardens though, they look fantastic! We could honestly walk there and back if given the full day….hmmmm, a plan is emerging!
Hermitage Castle – We’ve driven past this one so many times on the way to Carlisle. We did manager to stop once but that was in February 2017 so we weren’t able to access it because it’s only open April – September so we just gazed, longingly from afar… (as shown in the picture on this post). Anyway, what I love about this castle is it’s location and appearance. It’s tucked away among some pretty serious hills so getting to it takes you through some beautiful scenery, the kind where you feel like the hills would take you away if you took just a few steps from the roads. It looks incredibly foreboding and for good reason! It’s around 400 years old and was the key to controlling the Scottish Middle March so saw plenty of conflict, even being described as “the guardhouse of the bloodiest valley in Britain”. I think that deserves a visit!
Tantallon Castle – Another one that we’ve seen from afar and need to explore more closely! My favourite beach near us is Seacliff beach, it’s not as popular as Yellowcraigs but is far superior in my mind. Partly because of the views from the beach, including a fantastic vantage point of Tantallon Castle. It’s a 14th century castle that while mostly ruinous still has some towers intact. It’s mostly built of the beautiful, local red sandstone and is perched with cliffs on most facings. I think that’s the perfect combination for an afternoon of exploration although I think timing will be key to avoid the summer tourist crowd.
There are definitely more things I’d like to do (I’m looking at you visiting Rosslyn Chapel, walking up the Eildon Hills and returning to Loch Skeen) but I think these are my top 4…for now!