When you look out of the windows of Duncan House you see a landscape steeped in history. Thr original settlement of Roxburgh (situated over the river) was a major medieval city with several churches, a castle and a royal mint. Scotland and England fought over Roxburgh on many occasions coming to a finale by 1550 when most residents had moved away in search of a quieter life.
Kelso is situated at the confluence of the Tweed and Teviot rivers and is the site of the 12th century Abbey. Although built in the 18th century the cobbled town square has a Flemish feel to it unique to the Scottish Borders.
During the summer months there are the common ridings. These involve great pageantry, often last a week and involve many horses and riders riding out over our historic countryside. Each major town has it's ridings and many of the smaller towns and villages have smaller events. Some of these ridings have been carried out for hundreds of years.
Situated on the outskirts of Kelso and open to the public, Floors Castle is the home of the Duke of Roxburgh. It provides a worthy experience for more than just a rainy day. The are many other country houses within a short drive including Manderston, Paxton House, Thirlstane and Traquair House. It is but a short drive to the historic fortified town walls of Berwick. Edinburgh is an hour away by car.
The Cheviot Hills and the unspoilt Berwickshire coast provide wonderful opportunities for both walking and just enjoying a quiet time whilst the drive across the tidal causeway to Holy Island makes a unique experience if combined with a visit to Lindisfarne Castle and Priory.
The sea bird sanctuaries of the Farne Islands and St. Abbs head are well worth a visit. There is an abundance of wild life to be discovered along the banks of the Tweed and it's tributaries. Otters flourish in the clear waters while dippers forage for insect lavae by diving beneath the swift streams.
Aquatic life abounds, supporting a huge run of salmon which begin entering the Tweed in the early Spring with the main run of fish reaching a climax in the Autumn. The salmon provide a major source of income for the valley and surrounding areas, the Tweed being one of the four major salmon fisheries in the country. From August onwards you can expect to see salmon running the upper tributaries at Philliphaugh near Selkirk
From one of the upper windows of Duncan House you can see Cheviot, the highest point on the border some 8 miles away. This also marks the border for the Northumberland National Park. Though not a National Park the country on the Scottish side is equally beautiful and unspoiled. In the upper reaches of the Tweed system the country is similar to the English lake district with only a tiny fraction of the visitor footfall. Enjoy the solitude while you can!
The Borders region is the home of Sir Walter Scott, he visited Kelso frequently and was a partner in a publishing buwsiness here. Following his success as an author he built Abbotsford near Melrose where he enjoyed the remained of his life in the borders.
In the twelfth century King David I invested in the Borders and built his hunting lodge at Traquair. He also built four abbeys at Jedburgh, Melrose, Dryburgh and Kelso. These suffered during various wars between the Scots and the English, the killer blows being dealt by Henry VIII and John Knox.
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