A great team day out.
A ‘Round Table’ group from the Netherlands requested a day of touring and hiking, with some history and culture thrown in, and not too far from Edinburgh. With 17 in the group, we co-opted another tour and walk specialist to assist. The weather, as you can see from the photograph, was perfect and the Eildon Hills, just south of Melrose, provided the ideal location.
After an hour’s road journey from Edinburgh, the party were ready for a coffee before tackling the hill. A farm cafe in Old Melrose, within its own courtyard, provided a peaceful haven. Close-by was the monastic site where St Cuthbert received his training before becoming abbot of Lindisfarne. This geographical link is commemorated now by a long distance footpath linking the two foundations. The path starts by climbing over the pass between the Eildon Hills. The history of the area goes way back to pre-Roman times with an Iron-age fort on top of one of the hills, where later a Roman signal station was positioned, to alert the garrison down at the hill foot.
The guys were strong walkers, and it wasn’t that long before they had ascended the first of three summits where a picnic lunch was enjoyed with expansive views over the rolling, fertile countryside. The course of the River Tweed could be made out by a line of trees meandering across the rich farmlands. To the south, the Cheviot ridge marked the border with England.
As we ascended the other two summits, we told tales of King Arthur and his knights sleeping under these hills awaiting the hour of crisis to herald their return; and of how Thomas Rhymer had been whisked away by the faeries under these same hills and returned with a gift of prophecy and poetry. It certainly felt a magical place with the blue of sky and the yellow dazzle of the gorse and fields of rapeseed.
Whilst the guys enjoyed a beer or two in Melrose, we fetched the transport to take them up to Scott’s view. From there, you can see the best view of the three Eildon peaks, a sight that brought a sense of achievement to a day rounded off with a tour along the course of the River Tweed before heading back to Edinburgh.