Tweed Valley Blog

  • Cleikum Ceremonies, St Ronan's Wells
  • A wonderfully decorated house
  • One of many parades on Innerleithen High Street
  • Fancy dress parade

 

Not to be outdone by that lot up the road in Peebles with their fancy Beltane Festival, Innerleithen has a rather special celebration of its own which gets under way today – the St Ronan’s Border Games.

The oldest organised sports meeting in Scotland, the Games have run almost continuously since their inception in 1827. Originally a mini-Olympics for amateur sportsmen featuring events such as sprint, middle distance running, long jump and hammer throwing, the Games once also included such eccentricities as whippet racing and – best of all – a competition to see who could be the first to climb a greasy pole.

Innerleithen even had its own handba’ match that saw teams from opposite sides of the Tweed go head to head in what by all accounts was often a bruising encounter. It’s fair to say that today’s games are rather more civilised, with professional runners coming... Read more

 

In what is the group’s 20th annual production, the 2015 season of Shakespeare at Traquair sees a performance of Hamlet. Ahead of opening night on Wednesday, we caught up with some of the players to talk beards, peacocks, audience participation and the challenges of putting on a promenade performance

Scott Noble’s first involvement as an actor in Shakespeare at Traquair many years ago was nothing short of nerve-wracking. “It was The Taming of the Shrew and my character and one other were the first ones on,” he recalls. “We had to start on the lawn at Traquair where the audience was milling around having a glass of wine and just start speaking. Right from the off we were part of the audience. It was quite an adrenaline rush.”

Such audience immersion is one of the special challenges of a promenade performance; with no stage to restrict movement, and... Read more

  • Rod Mitchell, Founder of E-Motion Bikes
  • Hazel and Ellen about to embark on a 40-mile round trip
  • Simon Hermiston from Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Golf & Spa - one of the rental points - gets to grips with an e-bike
  • The E-Motion Bikes rental delivery van has become a familiar sight around the Tweed Valley!

 

In a place like the Tweed Valley where pedal power is king, the notion of getting around using electric bikes will have some scratching their heads. But that has not stopped new Visit Tweed Valley member E-Motion Bikes from seeing huge interest in rentals of its top-of-the-range electric bikes.

Based at Cardrona, E-Motion rents (and sells) a variety of electric bikes that enable visitors to explore the Tweed Valley without having to worry about climbing the area’s many hills. Designed in Germany by premium electric bike manufacturer A2B, the main hire bike available – the Hybrid 24 – is ideal for experiencing the wonderfully quiet B-roads, cycle paths and forest fire roads that are all around.   

Bikes can be rented for a half or full day, with delivery to several rental points across the Tweed Valley, including the Macdonald Cardrona Hotel, Peebles Hydro Hotel, Tontine Hotel and... Read more

  • A gentle initial approach through colourful St Ronan's Wood
  • Now it gets a little tougher (he won't be smiling soon ...)
  • Onwards and upwards ...
  • Final push ...

 

Looking for incredible views up and down the Tweed Valley when next in the area? Then let us recommend a jaunt up Lee Pen – the pointy summit that looms high above the lovely town of Innerleithen. At 502m, it’s no giant, but Lee Pen is still one of the highest hills in the area. And it’s no walk in the park either, with the final push to the summit one to really get the blood pumping. Most walkers opt for a short, sharp out and back route through St Ronan’s Wood behind Innerleithen (see route description here), although it’s also possible to create a circular route, returning via the fish ladder on Leithen Road (near the golf course). Just don't forget your camera! 

  Read more

  • An example of Moy Mackay's felted painting
  • Moy in her gallery on Peebles' Northgate
  • The gallery also displays work from a host of fine and applied artists
  • A recent 'house' commission by Moy

 

Tucked away on Peebles’ Northgate, the delightful Moy Mackay Gallery first opened in March 2012, although its arrival was never really part of the plan. “I didn’t intend to open a gallery, it just somehow happened that way,” explains owner and artist Moy Mackay.

However, the gallery’s many loyal customers will be glad she did. An instant success, the gallery is now managed day-to-day by Gillian Sosa and a small team of staff, leaving Moy with time to create new works from her other base at the WASPS Studios in Selkirk.

The gallery sees work from around 30 contemporary fine and applied artists, many of whom are Borders-based. Most of the other featured artists are from elsewhere in Scotland.

Accessible to all, it’s a gallery that sees much care and attention put into aesthetics. “We want customers to be warmly welcomed and not be intimidated,” says Moy. “It’s art... Read more

  • Setting off
  • Encouragement from the boat
  • Man and river in perfect sync ...
  • The 'support' crew

 

So, it won’t have escaped anyone’s notice that the Tweed Valley has got a ruddy great river flowing through it. And very beautiful it is too, particularly in the more wooded sections. The Tweed is of course one of the world’s great salmon rivers, but it’s also a fine stretch of water for paddling. We see all manner of craft completing sections of the Tweed, so last Sunday we thought it was high time to also give it a shot … 'we' being a mini-flotilla of sit-on-top kayak and inflatable packraft with three adults, a five-year-old, four-year-old and a puppy. A perfect mix for a day on the river! The main reason was to support a friend who has set himself the considerable challenge of swimming the Tweed from source to sea (a distance of 97 miles), although really it was just an excuse to enjoy a lovely stretch... Read more

  • Client with grayling, River Tweed
  • Steve with an impressive salmon, River Tweed
  • Salmon fishing on the Tweed

 

Loved and celebrated by anglers around the world, the River Tweed offers some of Scotland’s very finest fishing – although often it pays to receive some guiding or instruction to get the very best out of the experience.

And that’s where fly fishing instructor and guide Steve Culbert comes in. Peebles-based, Steve offers a friendly guiding and instruction service, helping clients fish on the Tweed for salmon, wild brown trout, sea trout and grayling, as well as on still waters in the surrounding area (he is also resident fishing instructor at the nearby Kailzie Fishery and Loganlea in the Pentlands). All equipment is provided, while lunch, refreshments and transport are also on offer, if required.

The testaments on Steve's website give an indication of the kind of service on offer. “A fantastic afternoon and a great introduction to fly fishing for four novices,” wrote Euan McBride. “Steve... Read more

  • Lindores Guest House, Peebles
  • Lindores Guest House, Peebles
  • Lindores Guest House, Peebles

 

In the first of a series of short profiles covering new members to Visit Tweed Valley, we introduce Lindores Guest House – a three-star guest house in the heart of Peebles

Situated in Peebles old town just a few minutes’ walk from the High Street, Lindores Guest House is ideally located for exploring Peebles and the wider area. Unsurprisingly given the area’s appeal for those who love the outdoors, guests often come to enjoy the fantastic walking, fishing, golf and mountain biking found nearby. Lindores has also become a popular stop-off for motorcycle tourers from around the UK and overseas.

Built in 1895, and once home to the medical practice of renowned local figure Dr Clement Gunn, the building was named after the town in Fife where Dr Gunn proposed to his wife.

Now home to Paula and Stephen Mitchell, who took over the running of the guest house in... Read more

  • The new-look adventure playground at Bowhill
  • Two slides are connected by a tricky rope walk
  • On the zip-wire
  • Making music (of sorts!)

 

We’d heard about the newly spruced-up adventure playground at Bowhill House and Country Estate, so it was high time for a visit ...

Mmm, decisions, decisions. What to play on first … one of two zip-wires, a huge wooden fort, cargo scramble net, rope bridge, some serious slides, or fantastic selection of swings? My trusty adventure playground tester (aged four and a bit) was having a hard time deciding quite where to begin.

And I could see why. Set amongst the trees, the newly-revamped playground at Bowhill is really rather special. With sections to test and challenge even the most adventurous youngster, there’s something here for all ages. But it’s not all fast and furious. The playground also offers a change of pace with a selection of beautifully-crafted forest instruments, including a huge wooden glockenspiel.

It’s in a beautiful setting too, with trees all around and... Read more

  • River running in March ... brrr!
  • Out of the river and up the hill ...
  • Getting into the spirit ...
  • Charge ... the big one begins

For once, mountain biking played second fiddle on Saturday as around 3,000 runners descended on Innerleithen for the 10th Mighty Deerstalker adventure race – a fun, raucous and really rather challenging romp through the hills and rivers of this part of the Tweed Valley. Starting and finishing at Traquair House, around 500 or so opted for the shorter 5k (and a bit) race that was run in daylight, but still a challenge for many. The remainder donned their head torches for the epic 10k (and a lot more) race, run almost exclusively in the dark. With steep ascents and descents, multiple river crossings, fiendish obstacles, and more mud than it’s possible to imagine, participants more than earned their post-run beer at the end!

We hope you enjoy our mini-gallery of images from this year’s event! Read more

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