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Scottish Borders | English Borders

Visit the Scottish Borders and the English Borders

The Cheviots, the Borders

The Cheviots © Gail Johnson/

The Borders is a term that many people associate with southern Scotland – The Scottish Borders. But its definition is broader and includes the land south of the border as well – The English Borders.

The Scottish-English border is almost 100 miles long. In the east it follows the mighty River Tweed eastwards towards the North Sea. Closer to Berwick-upon-Tweed the boarder leaves the river and moves north.

The town of Berwick-upon-Tweed is without doubt the official border capital. It has changed hands between England and Scotland at least 13 times.

The Border Reivers

Jedburgh Abbey

Melrose Abbey, Pavel Bernshtam ©

Not everyone will realise that this part of the world was once, as writer Brian Jackman described, England’s Afghanistan. In a brilliant piece published in The Telegraph in 2009 he wrote: “This was Britain’s Afghanistan, our own Helmand Province in which a ruthless breed of fighting men rode out with their steel bonnets and long lances to rob, kidnap and lift each other’s cattle.”

These men (and sometimes boys) were the Border Reivers. From the 14th to the 17th century Border Reivers were lawless clans who lived in the area’s valleys. Their allegiance was not to the Scottish or English crowns, but to a clan. The battles that were fought then were between the Armstrongs, Robsons, Charltons or Elliotts.

Border Reiver names are still very common on both sides of the border today, but the culture and economy of the region has changed dramatically. Today this part of the British Isles is know for its tranqulity, friendliness, space and exceptional beauty.

The Scottish and English Borders cover hundreds of square miles and the outstanding features are space and fresh air. It is a stunning and varied landscape with rolling hills and moorland in the west, gentler valleys and agricultural plains of the east. The coastline is a mix of beach and rocky outcrops which are actually the remnants of long lost volcanoes.

Kelso Abbey

Kelso Abbey Heartland ©

Sporting activities in the Scottish Borders

Woodland, fast flowing rivers and open fields predominate, making this area perfect for cycling and fishing.

This part of the world is also home to some outstanding golf courses, including The Roxburghe, Cardrona, Goswick at Berwick, Bamburgh, Seahouses and Wooler. Legendary golfers Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie and Tony Jacklin have found the Scottish Borders courses no easy feat – but don’t worry, there are plenty of less intimidating courses too.

For walkers wanting to cover both parts of the border there is the Tweed Border Trail, the Coast and Castle Trail, the Sir Walter Scott Trail and the Cheviot Foothills path.

Borders History

If history is your thing, then Berwick, Kelso, Jedburgh and Melrose are great places to start. Each town has its own character and story to tell, yet all have been vitally important in the development of the Borders, either from a military, industrial or cultural point of view.

This is a part of the world where you can kick back and relax, be yourself and unwind. Lose your self in fishing, up in the Cheviots, or a comforatble hotel room with a great novel. Feel and breath history – it’s still wild and rugged here, and quite remote too.

Northumberland was until recently called The Secret Kingdom. The story’s out and it’s no secret anymore. But if there is a secret place here, then it has to be the Borders.

Eildon Hills

Eildon Hills ©