1. A river runs through it
The Tweed may be Scotland’s second longest river, but its real claim to fame is its fantastic salmon fishing. Anglers from all over the world descend on the region to cast for the spring and autumn runs of fish. Celebrities like the Fonz (Henry Winkler), Ian Botham, Jack Charlton and Chris Tarrant can often be found mid-stream of this world-famous river.
2. Stretching the legs
Those beautiful rolling hills make for ideal treks into the country. From long-distance hikes like St Cuthbert’s Way, the Borders Abbeys Way or the Southern Upland Way to the gentler John Buchan Way, Craik Forest Tracks or the Glentress Trails, there’s a walk for everyone.
3. The abbey habit
Four wonderful 12th-century abbeys were built around the Scottish Borders – and all four remain. There’s a 65-mile path that links Jedburgh, Kelso, Dryburgh and Melrose abbeys, but it’s much easier to drive round them and enjoy the magnificent architecture.
4. The short game
Rugby Sevens were created in Melrose and every year 12,000 fans pack into the Greenyards to watch the tournament that Ned Haig established in 1883. Melrose is fondly known as the Home of Sevens with teams arriving from across the world. The surrounding towns also host their own tournaments during spring, although on a slightly smaller scale.
5. Wonderful wildlife
Few places outside the Scottish Highlands can boast such rich and diverse wildlife as the Borders. Ospreys and golden eagles will regularly fly overhead while otters, water voles and kingfishers have made their homes on our river banks. A day’s stroll can also be rewarded with sightings of red squirrels, roe deer and foxes.
6. Book into Abbotsford
Sir Walter Scott was the JK Rowling of his day and enjoyed worldwide success with his novels. Almost 200 years on you can enjoy a tour of his Conundrum Castle at Abbotsford, near Galashiels, to see what all the fuss was about.
7. We’re in fashion
The Scottish Borders has given the world such labels as Pringle and Lyle & Scott, yet they are only the tip of the knitwear iceberg. Despite a decline in the industry over the past four or five decades, there are still dozens of working textiles mills all over the region. Most offer great tours with shelves of bargains in the outlet shops.
8. Making a splash
The 32 miles of Berwickshire coastline has become a surfer’s and diver’s paradise over the past few decades. St Abbs offers some of the best diving in the country while Coldingham Bay is rapidly emerging as the surfing capital of Scotland.
9. Raising a glass
Not only does the Borders boast dozens of delightful country pubs it also has its own three breweries. Enjoy a bottle or two from the Borders, Traquair or Broughton breweries at the many traditional hostelries. You’ll always find good company thrown in as well.
10. Festival fever
Throughout the summer months, towns all across the Borders raise a glass or two to its traditions and war-torn past. The festivals and common ridings are unique to the Borders and often involve hundreds of mounted followers and day upon day of dinners and parties.
Everything you need to know about the Scottish Borders
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