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Local Interest along the Way

In addition to the history that is directly encountered on the Way there is other interest which relates to the Way and the surrounding areas. This section addresses some of this interest and will hopefully be subject to ongoing development as interested parties and walkers provide new information and knowledge.

Bonnie Dundee John Graham of Claverhouse (1648 - 89)
Viscount Dundee - 'Bonnie Dundee'
Resulting from the reign of Charles I there was an attempt to suppress the Presbyterian style of religion and this led to opposition by those who were known as Covenanters. They were especially strong in the Moffat area and Southwest of Scotland.

Claverhouse was sent by the Scottish Parliament to put down the Covenanters and he was posted to Moffat, setting up his lodgings at the Black Bull Inn.
This was a "bloody" time and anyone found to have taken part in the "blanket preachings" was under threat of severe punishment. This fight was finally won by the Covenanters in 1688, but Claverhouse remained loyal to the Jacobite cause. In a different location and in 1689 Claverhouse lead the Jacobites at Killiecrankie and although they won Claverhouse was mortally wounded.
Claverhouse was known by several names, the title 'Bonnie Dundee' is thought to have come from Sir Walter Scott's writings.

Memorial Stone From a point passed on the Way just outside Galashiels, Roger Quin author of the BORDERLAND gazed on Scotland's Eden from the spur of Gala Hill. This poet, playwright and lover of the Borders was born on the 25th June 1850 and died in Dumfries on the 21st July 1925.

Merlin the Wizard
Throughout the western section of the Way in the hills around Moffat and north into Tweedsmuir it is reputed that Merlin was frequently to be seen walking the "magical hills". It is to the north in Tweedsmuir at the join of the Tweed and the Drumelzier Burn that Merlin is said to be buried.

James Hogg - Memorial at the site of his birthplace

James Hogg the Ettrick Shepherd
(1770 - 1835)
He was born at Ettrick to a tenant farmer and noble peasant mother, growing up as a farmer and shepherd in this area. James Hogg was a self-educated man and early poetry and song writing only paid for his unsuccessful farming.

In 1810 he set off to Edinburgh to further his literary talents and by 1815 with the knowledge and help of the Duke of Buccleuch he managed to return to the area and undertake farming and his literary activities.

James Hogg statue at Tibbie Shiels

Hogg married a younger wife in 1820 as well as taking on a second farm. He continued to have financial difficulties throughout his farming life but this did not mar what appeared to be a very happy married life.

Hogg and Sir Walter Scott met on many occasions. Starting in 1802, some of these meetings were in the inn at Tibbie Shiels. The last recorded meeting was at the Gordon Arms just to the east of St Mary's Loch in the Yarrow Valley in 1830.

Some of Hogg's best known works were 'The Poetic Mirror, The Perils of Man, Tales of the Wars of Montrose, The Three Perils of Woman and The Private Memories and Confessions of a Justified Sinner'.

Newark Castle dates from about 1400 and is on a bend of the Yarrow. This was a stronghold of the Douglases before passing to the Scotts of Buccleuch. It has a somewhat grizzly past, following the Battle of Philiphaugh in 1645 the defeated Royalists took refuge in the castle but were then all brutally killed by the Covenanters. This is also the stately tower mentioned in Sir Walter Scott's Lay of the Last Minstrel.

Selkirk Square

Selkirk
The Square is dominated by the monument to Sir Walter Scott, who was the Sheriff of Selkirkshire from 1799 to 1832. Behind the statue is the courthouse.
It is also the birthplace of the doctor and explorer Mungo Park.
The wider knowledge of the town was perhaps first noted in 1513 following the Battle of Flodden. About 100 men, known as Souters from the shoemaking tradition, fought for the King but only one returned and this is the basis for a significant part of the annual commonriding.
The shoe-making was also important when the Souters produced 2000 pairs of shoes for Prince Charles Edward Stewart and his highlanders. This is commemorated in the song, "The Souters o' Selkirk"

Blythe Water

Blythe Water
The Blythe Water is formed from the Wester and Easter Burns where they join at the remote Braidshawrig buildings. From here it flows south west passing the hamlet of Blythe Dod Mill, then becomes the Boondreigh Water before entering the Leader Water in Lauderdale.

Blythe Bridge Plaque

The walkers' bridge is about a mile south of Braidshawrig and where the Wheelburn joins the Blythe. It was built in 1993 this being undertaken by the Queens' University OTC. A plaque stands beside the bridge with the OTC Regimental Badge.


Fast Castle Fast Castle
This castle is said to be the most extraordinarily placed castle in all of Scotland being built on a cliff stack some 100 feet above the North Sea and only accessible by a gangway following a descent from the adjoining cliff face.
This was built in the 14th century and has had a stormy and violent history falling back and forth between the Lord Homes and the English and then under the ownership of Logan of Restalrig.

St Abb's Head from Fast Castle
Amongst the Royal visitors to the castle were Margaret Tudor on her way to marry King James in 1502 and Mary Stewart in 1566.
The castle was well described by Sir Walter Scott in his novel the Bride of Lammermoor where the castle was known as Wolf's Crag and the home of the Master of Ravenswood.
The views to the west and south east from the Castle ruins are spectacular, the coastline being rock and dramatic.

Llamas at Ettrick Llamas
The Way is home to endless flocks of sheep and herds of cattle, and the walker needs to recognise that they will frequently be passing through fields and open countryside where they can be close at hand. What is perhaps more unusual are the Llamas to be seen at the western end of the Way. It is understood that there are herds in Moffat, on the south banks of St Mary's Loch, and this group is photographed beside the memorial to James Hogg in Ettrick.

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