|Footbridge over the River Tweed in Peebles.|
When we think about Scotland (which is often), what first comes to mind is Crieff in central Scotland. This is our second home, but as nice as Crieff is, I think of Peebles in the Scottish Borders an hour south of Edinburgh as a more iconic village. It was the first village we stayed in and our base until we were adopted by our family in Crieff. When I decided to tell you about Peebles as part of this post, I found that my supply of photos was woefully lacking—converted early print and slide photos from bad cameras, lost files of photos from early travels, and an inexperienced photographer (me). I think, though, I can still give you a feel for the typical Scottish village despite the weakness of the photos.
|High Street, Peebles|
|St Andrews Tower is the oldest building in Peebles. The rest of the church was destroyed by Henry VIII.|
Peebles (Na Puballen in Scottish Gaelic) is an ancient village at the confluence of the River Tweed and Eddieston Waters dating as far back as 600AD. The village, now of about 9,000, was made a Royal Burgh by King David I of Scotland in 1152. The town’s wide High Street attests to it being a market town. It was strong in the woollen trade in the 19th and 20th centuries—the last mill closed in 2015. Tourism developed in the late 1800s and continues to be the most important industry along with agriculture and particularly sheep farming.
|Kailzie Gardens along the River Tweed is one of the main attractions in Peebles.|
On our first day in Scotland (September 2000) we stayed in a B&B in Peebles (Lindores House) after visiting our first Highland Games just down the road.
|The annual Highland Games in Peebles ends with a clan parade from the playing field to central High Street.|
That night we ate our first pub meal and were befriended by all the locals in the pub who were as curious about us a we were of them. Walking into town (about 10 minutes) from the B&B the next morning we were introduced to Scottish village life—shopping at the local butcher’s and bakery for the day’s fare,
and watching from a pub as the school children dressed in classy uniforms visited downtown for their lunch of chips and Irn Bru. Dinner the second night was at a local hotel, The Crown, where we ate at one table while a lady and her Yorkie terrier ate at the next table, the dog in his own chair. A mile out of town is Niedpath Castle, built in 1370 and now lived in by the Earl of Wemyss.
Over the years we’ve visited Peebles several times, always reinforcing to me the friendliness of Scottish villages and towns.
A Walk too Far (from 16 Years of Travel in Scotland, Ireland, England, and Wales, available on Amazon)
Sometimes we bite off too much and too often I think I’m younger than I am. Such was the case in Cork, Ireland, on our first visit. That morning we played golf at the wonderful Cork Golf Club, known as Little Island. The course is a lovely forest or parkland track which is fairly easy to walk, but a round of eighteen holes is still an average of five miles of walking. When we got back to the B&B in the afternoon, Anne, smart person that she is, decided a little rest or nap before dinner was in order. I, being the dummy that I am, decided I would not waste the afternoon in frivolous rest, but would instead wander down to the main shopping area of Cork. A mile of pavement walking to town, at least a mile of wandering the downtown area, and a mile back to the B&B put my day’s total up over eight miles. Done yet? No. For dinner our B&B hosts suggested one of a couple of good Italian restaurants in the downtown area, but said it was best to walk since downtown parking was poor. Besides, it’s only a mile to town. By now my feet were beginning to hurt just a bit, but I was game for a walk to dinner. As I limped toward town, Anne asked what was the matter. I had to fess up that my feet were on the sore side. What I really should have said was that my feet were absolutely killing me. Dinner was delightful, but the walk home was excruciatingly painful. Even after a good soaking, my feet throbbed all night.
By morning I could count the blisters on top of blisters with both hands. We searched the local chemist’s (pharmacy) for the best blister plasters they had. Even doctored up, at Waterford Castle Golf Club I had to take a buggy (electric golf cart) to make our round. Back in Cork for dinner I drove to downtown and to hell with the poor parking.
The Rest of this Post is a small compilation of some special Scotland photos that I haven't posted before. I hope you enjoy the eye candy.
|The River Braan near Amulree at the foot of the Highlands|
|Harbour light at the village of Anstruther on Fife.|
|A birch forest out of the Highland village of Ballater near Balmoral Castle, the Queen's Scottish residence.|
|A picture of a small Highland church shot from the Harry Potter Train--the Jacobite Express which has daily runs between Fort William and Mallaig. The trip is considered one of the best steam rail trips anywhere.|
|Hie'lan Coos (Highland cows)|
|Dunnottar Castle in Stonehaven near Aberdeen|
|Glen Etive and the mountains of Glen Coe. The mountain on the right is Buachaille Etive Mor, 1021 meters.|
|Barn on the Isle of Skye.|
|The Quiraing (Old Norse for "round fold") is an attraction on the Trotternish peninsula of the Isle of Skye.|
|Kirkmadrine Church in the Rhins of Galloway (southwestern Scotland) holds a collection of early Christian stones, thought to be the oldest in Scotland.|