Saturday 14th November 2015
I know the walking’s slow around here…..
…but today we took a short walk around town and just a little way along the river accompanied by the younger Mr RR. You might remember we walked alongside The Teviot back in August (Scotland walks) before the BIG move. Today we just went to get some fresh air and strolled alongside The Tweed before crossing the bridge and having a quick look at the Teviot again.
I think we’ll be back to do some more walking here very soon and hopefully some rambling further afield as well – just as soon as it gets less busy in the Rickety household!
Anyway, enjoy this little stroll…
The Tweed and The Teviot around Kelso
Its a quick 15 minute drive from our house into Kelso, which is our nearest town. We park in the Abbey Car Park and make for the Riverside Walk sign. We stop briefly for a photo of our mittens to send to our friend Fee of Feeline Clothing in the Saltcellar Workshops, Porthleven, who kindly gave them to us as going away presents – we’re smitten with our mittens!
We made our way alongside the fast flowing River Tweed, which is high following the recent rainstorms, and onto Kelso Bridge built by John Rennie. He also designed the Waterloo Bridge in London, identical in style to this one, with 9 arches. When the Waterloo Bridge was demolished in 1934, two of its lamps were saved and re-erected here:
Kelso is sited at the confluence (that word always makes me think of geography lessons for some reason! ) of the two rivers, The Teviot and The Tweed. A noticeboard tells us about the Holy Grail for salmon fishermen – the world famous Junction Pool. In this deep pool at the joining of the two rivers salmon rest for a while before making their way onward upstream, providing a perfect fishing opportunity. As we pass by there are indeed fisherman braving the icy wind just here:
Floors Castle was designed in 1721 by the famous architect William Adam for the 1st Duke of Roxburghe and remodelled between 1837 and 1847 when William Playfair was invited by the 6th Duke to undertake the work. His vision was to create a fairytale castle and in the mist and drizzle today it does look dramatic rising up from the meadows on the far side of the river. The Castle is currently closed to the public but we shall definitely be visiting once it is open again. There is a lovely cafe as well, which is open and which, of course we have tried out! Yummy scones!! and a little delicatessen with all sorts of tasty treats (www.roxburghe.net/castle/floors-castle-history). The current Duke and Duchess of Roxburghe continue to maintain and protect the castle and land.
Now for those of you that don’t know the area at all, here’s a little fact that I only discovered today. Mr RR and I are, in fact, living in Berwickshire although our postal address is Roxburghshire (I don’t use this though as its too difficult to say and spell! I just say – Scottish Borders – and that seems to be ok). There’s a very complicated history of the local government changes which abolished the County of Roxburghe and amalgamated it with other areas to come up with The Scottish Borders on Wikepedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roxburghshire) – should anyone be interested enough to want to decipher it all. However it occurred we also have the name ‘Teviotdale’ in the mix somehow – which I suppose must be where the postcode TD has come from!
Moving on……we followed the road for a little way before crossing another ancient bridge and taking a left turn through a wooden gate and down to the path alongside the Teviot.
Also very high at the moment but not so fast flowing as the Tweed, the Teviot feels like an altogether calmer river. It originates in the western foothills of Comb Hill (this info for the young Mr RR, who was asking) on the borders of Dumfries and Galloway and flows northeastwards through Teviotdale (see?) before meeting the Tweed at Kelso.
We just walk a little way, but its very muddy and slippery from recent heavy rain, so we turn back and retrace our steps making for Kelso town centre glancing across at the Abbey ruins and a church across the river:
We haven’t seen much in the way of wildlife today, just a few ducks and a goosander on the water but, as we cross back over Kelso Bridge we see a crow perched in a tree tearing away vigourously at the remains of a large fish he’s found:
We walk into Kelso along past the Abbey aiming to find a coffee shop and have cake! Kelso is an ancient market town, first recorded in historical documents in 1113, when David, Earl of Tweedale and Northampton (and later to become David I of Scotland) brought a group of monks from France to found a monastery in Selkirk. In 1128 it was decided that the ‘Abbey of Selkirk’ was not in a very convenient place so it was moved to Kelso. The building of Kelso Abbey began in 1128 – one of four abbeys in the area – it’s the least well preserved but still beautiful.
Alongside is a more recent memorial cloister built in 1933 to the memory of the 9th Duke of Roxburgh:
It’s style echoes that of the original Abbey, on the wall is carved an intricate Celtic Cross:
The cloister fits in well here between the ruins of the abbey and the town’s memorial garden.
We don’t stop to explore further today, but walk through the cobbled market square – said to be the largest in Scotland – and into Cafe U – a lovely friendly cafe which served us delicious brownies and French apple cake!
Thanks for staying with me!
Artwork for Ricketyrambler by Andrew Major