Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Coldstream online

A fairly new (to me) web site features huge amounts of images of the UK all controlled by mapping and grid-references. A bit fiddly to use, but, nevertheless, there are some really good images of out of the way corners. Well worth a visit and, with some patience, an explore.

Coldstream and surrounds can be found at:

The featured image is of Georgefield farm fields and was taken by Lisa Jarvis for the site. Can you feel the heat coming off that field?

Deaf as a Pipe Band

The BBC is today running a news item on loud pipe bands. Read it here and note that the drummers were louder than pipers! The band reported was the Wick British Legion Band at

** Pipes drumming up jet engine roar **A Highland pipe band is given a health warning after it was found to be making more noise than a jet engine.< >

Friday, February 23, 2007

Eildon Hills

The Eildon Hills, right of picture, seen here from Smailholm, are a source of much myth and legend. Merlin the Magician is said to sleep under one and a roman fort was built on another.

Proper stuff here, from the website:

Like Edinburgh's Castle Rock, and Arthur's Seat, the great craggy hill which marks the East end of Edinburgh, the Eildon Hills were once volcanic cores; hard rock which has survived while the surrounding has worn slowly away.
About 7000BC the earliest settlers arrived in this area; some of their flint tools have been found near Dryburgh Abbey. Nobody knows when people first began to live on top of the North hill of the Eildons, but by time the Romans had pushed this far North in about 80 AD, there was already established a town of about 300 huts with fortifications surrounding and area of 39 acres. It may have been the headquarters of the Celtic tribe of the Selgovae.
At the foot of this town, and controlling the best ford across the river Tweed, the Romans built an important fortified garrison, and named it after the three peaks of the Eildons: Trimontium. What relationship did the native Celts have with the Roman army? It may not have been such a clash of cultures as one might expect; much of the Roman army itself consisted of members of various other Celtic tribes from Britain, Gaul and Germany. In past years the Department of Archaeology from Bradford University has been excavating in the area, trying to find out more about this relationship.
The Newstead Research Project
An unmistakable landmark in the Borders and only a mile's walk out of
Melrose, the Eildon Hills are fascinating for Botanists, Ornithologists, Geologists and Archaeologists alike.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Leaderfoot Viaduct

Pictures of the Leaderfoot Viaduct near St Boswells.
This from Three bridges cross the Tweed at Leaderfoot and these are best seen from the viewpoint at the south end of the oldest, central bridge. The first structure at this point, now long gone, would have carried the Roman road, Dere Street on its way from the nearby fort of Trimontium to the northern frontier of the Empire on the edge of the Highlands. Alexander Stevens built the old road bridge in 1779-80 to carry a new Turnpike between Jedburgh and Edinburgh. This bridge is now closed to motor vehicles and carries part of the Tweed Cycle Way. In 1865 the magnificent Leaderfoot Viaduct of thirteen arches was constructed for the St Boswells Junction to Reston section of the Berwickshire Railway, a line which closed in 1948. The most recent bridge carries the A68 trunk road and was built in 1971-73. Please note there is no public access to the Leaderfoot Viaduct, which may be viewed from the roadside only.
Note that the railway line ran from St Boswells to Reston, via Duns. Duns is a small village near Coldstream.

Careful drivers

Berwickshire welcomes careful drivers

Friday, February 16, 2007

Practice night

The first 'full-band' practice of 2007 was a success, so much so that the camera fails to capture everyone who was there. Next night for everyone to attend will be 5th March.

Kelso Abbey

Kelso is a small village near Coldstream. It once had an Abbey, but the Earl of Hereford knocked it down because Henry VIII told him to. Henry was an old perv, riddled with the pox, a complaint not unfamiliar to the health authorities in modern-day Kelso.
The Abbey and its surrounds seem to be a great place for the pet dogs of Kelso to vent their bowels.
Here's some pictures of the Abbey and the night sky lit up by locals burning stuff.

Smailholm Tower

Along the same ridge of rocky outcrops as Hume Castle, see previous entry, sits Smailholm Tower. In the top picture you can see Hume Castle just along to the left of the tower. Smailholm is an almost perfectly preserved peel tower and is the standard issue image of a Border keep.
There's a great sense of the Hume's sitting in Hume watching the Pringle's at Smailholm waiting to nick out and steal each others cattle.

Smailholm also has strong connections to Sir Walter Scott.
Bonny views all over the Borders too.