Wednesday, 21 October 2015
I found some nice quiet backroads (near Oxnam)
Hermitage Castle is a well preserved ruin (if that makes sense) Considered to the spookiest castle in Scotland due to its austere appearance and violent history. Benign enough on a sunny day but it certainly looks able to withstand attack.
Newcastleton - a planned village from the 18th century
The FJ straddles the border at Liddel Water
"Reiver" Lang Sandy Armstrong statue near Canonbie. This small town was at one time the centre of the "Debatable Lands". An small area that for over three centuries was under control of neither the Scottish or English governments. And small it certainly was - only about 10 miles by 4 miles.
The families that lived here were known as Reivers - raiders who plundered on both sides of the border. The Debateable Lands were eventually brought under control after the union of the crowns in 1603 under King James VI (of Scotland), I (of England) This is when big Sandy met his end.
Cross Keys Hotel, Canonbie
River Esk at Longtown
The River Esk forms the border at Gretna
My run along the border ends at the village of Gretna on the Solway Firth. This place is known for marriages. In 1754 England passed a law requiring parental consent to marry if you were under 21 years of age. In Scotland the marriage age was 14 for boys and 12 for girls - a situation that existed until 1929 - wow! Gretna is on the main London to Glasgow road (and later railway) so was well placed for runaway couples. Even today the marriage laws differ between the nations. In England parental permission is required between the ages of 16 and 18.
The River Esk flows into the Solway Firth
The FJ at the end of its journey along the border. We would do 325 miles today - no big deal - FJ is fast & comfy and loves eating the miles.
Chips at Gretna - at least I'm washing them down with diet cola.
Tuesday, 20 October 2015
Sunday, 18 October 2015
Last Monday (the 12th) I went for a run along the Scotland/England border from Berwick upon Tweed in the East to Gretna on the Solway Firth in the west. I'm always looking for a theme to a run and this turned out to be a good idea. So read on for great roads, great scenery and a bit of history. It's getting cold - so this might be the last long run until next spring.
Cliffs near the border north of Berwick
Berwick-upon-Tweed is favourite town of mine. Berwick changed hands between Scotland and England several times over the centuries, lastly in 1482. And whilst in England its football (soccer) team, Berwick Rangers, play in the Scottish league.
The Union Bridge over the Tweed. At this point the river is the border
Horncliffe House - one of many fine country houses south of the border in Northhumberland.
Coldstream Bridge over the River Tweed. Note the anglers. The Tweed is considered one of the best salmon fishing rivers in the world.
View of Coldstream from the bridge.
The words of the bard.
Carham Hall - another impressive pile
A typical autumn scene - making hay.
There is a touch of autumn in the trees
Cessford Castle - a lump of a building intended to provide protection rather than luxury. It's mostly solid stone - the walls are 12 foot thick! Built in 1450 it is evidence of the turbulent history of this area.
Checking the map (yet again) Signage in rural areas is not always great
Wednesday, 14 October 2015
From the Independent, 12th October
Terror police in Sweden have been called to reports of a group of bearded men in dark clothes raising a black flag above a remote castle. But instead of Isis militants, officers responding to the scene stumbled across a meeting of an international organisation of beard aficionados. The Swedish chapter of the “Bearded Villains” met on Saturday for a photo shoot at the ruined castle of Braehus, with members excited to be pictured with the organisation’s black-and-white flag. And while the group might have looked menacing from a distance, when they got closer police found around 30 young men hugging and laughing dressed in formal clothes, not militant garb.
From the Guardian, 7th October
A businessman who took a JCB to wreck his own pub after he was refused a drink cannot be charged because he was destroying his own property, police have said. Mark Swistun, the co-owner of the Royal Oak pub in Penclawdd, Gower, south Wales, was arrested on suspicion of causing criminal damage after using a 28-tonne yellow digger to smash through the walls and roof of the pub. It is understood that no one had made a complaint about the £40,000-worth of damage done to the building. Drinking at the pub on 26 July, Swistun reportedly became infuriated when bar staff would not serve him a drink after last orders at 11pm. He returned to the pub at 1am, at the wheel of the JCB, and used the digger to smash through an extension roof and outer wall, leaving an gaping hole in the side of the building. Swistun’s rampage reportedly also flattened outside picnic tables and parasols.
Tuesday, 13 October 2015
Today I visited what seems like Glasgow's newest tourist attraction.
On Sunday there was an attempt to demolish the Red Road flats, six 30 storey tower blocks in the north of the city. Four came down ok but two were left with a dozen floors remaining stubbornly erect.