This ramble was more than week or so ago…..just playing catch up!
Ms L. has been walking the Southern Upland Way and camping along the route before coming to visit. We weren’t so adventurous but took a walk with her from the pretty village of St Boswells. The river was high following heavy rain the day before and the trees were beginning to change colour which is good, because Autumn is the most colourful season in The Borders.
This walk is from Robbie Porteous’ lovely little book ‘The Scottish Borders – 40 Favourite Walks’. Interestingly it could have saved us from the linear walk we accidentally did with ‘the lovely couple’ from Bristol a while ago – it starts and finishes almost at the exact place where we turned around and went back again!
St Boswells and The Tweed (5.5 miles)
The name of St Boswells is derived from the medieval church which is dedicated to St Boisil, who was once a prior at nearby Melrose Abbey. He apparently foretold his own death, in 661, from the great pestilence, 3 years before it happened. We parked near the village green and walked through the village and past the award-winning Mainstreet Trading Bookshop and Deli – one of our favourite places to go – we’ll definitely be having lunch here later.
Turning away from the main road we head uphill to the golf course and then down again towards the river ‘skirting the fairways and greens’ as Robbie says in our instructions.
Down by the river it’s muddy and slippy in places but the views are lovely. The fields to our right are harvested and the hills in the distance shrouded in fine mist.
There’s a heron looking like he’s sat high up in a tree on the opposite bank but when I look at the photos later I can see that he’s actually standing on a lower branch. We see several herons on this walk, so serene aren’t they?
Ms L soon spots blackberries along the edge of the path and we scrabble around in our backpacks for plastic bags and start picking. We have a conversation at some point about foraging and start listing edible plants we see along the way – dandelions, nettles, fungi, berries, rosehips:
The invasive Himalayan Balsam is growing along the whole route here interspersed with Rosebay Willowherb.
Following the river all the way to Mertoun Bridge, we pass a weir – lots of ducks here and more herons. Mertoun Bridge is a 19th century bridge originally built of stone and wood. However, the wooden structure was swept away in floods of 1839 and so it had to be rebuilt – this time all in stone and 2 feet higher.
Another heron watching the weir:
The bridge carries the busy B6404 and we have to hurry along it before crossing over and heading uphill on the Border Abbeys Way towards Dryburgh Abbey. We continue a little way high above the river, admiring the views,
before descending again to continue along it’s banks and passing by some beautiful walled gardens – part of Mertoun Gardens I think – www.mertoungardens.co.uk
Eventually we reach the Abbey Car Park and make our way through it to Dryburgh village itself, diverting to visit the Temple of the Muses – which I’ve shown you before here: ( The Temple of the Muses ) – but here are some close-ups just because sculptures are so lovely:
On our way across the Tweed again via the Chain Bridge we spot more herons – a bit wind-blown in a nearby field:
Apparently herons are often seen in fields after harvesting, on the lookout for snacks in the form of small rodents.
After the bridge a left turn takes us back onto St Cuthberts Way with a muddy walk along the river until we turn inland and uphill, back to St Boswell’s and that lunch in the bookshop!
Thanks for reading – see you again soon!