Most groups staying in Edinburgh choose to travel to the edge of the Highlands or go to the seaside, typically at St Andrews, on a coach day tour out of the capital.
However, an option not often considered is to spend a day in the Borders. CoolScot Tours recently spent a day visiting Peebles and going for a walk along the Tweed and we thought we’d share the experience with you.
Peebles itself is a pretty town in the Borders with a population of approx. 9,000 or so. It lies where the river Tweed meets the Eddleston Water (known locally as the “Cuddy”). It has a history connected with the woollen industry and was once renowned for its hydropathic treatments (using water to cure various ills). Nowadays, it is a commuter town for local residents who work in Edinburgh and is a busy tourist town in the summer tourist season. One of its many attractive shops is Cocoa Black, a well-known specialist chocolate shop run by Ruth Hinks, a UK Chocolate Master. We would certainly recommend a visit!
After wandering around the town, we chose to go for a walk along the River Tweed. Going past Cocoa Black and continuing towards Hay Park, we spotted an attractive tower in a cemetery across the road.
After having a look around what became the main graveyard in Peebles, we crossed the road and headed across Hay Park and down to the Tweed. Crossing the river on an attractive white pedestrian bridge, we turned to the right and followed a well-worn footpath by the side of the river.
After, perhaps, a 20-minute walk or so, the path became narrower and we began walking between a forest and the river, carefully making our way over numerous old tree roots. The path followed the river and eventually, we came across Neidpath Castle on the opposite bank of the river.
Neidpath Castle is an excellent example of a fortified tower house. It has survived for hundreds of years, even after a partial collapse – some of which you can see in our picture. Today, it is owned by the Wemyss family who have carefully maintained it. It is often used for weddings and as a film set.
Continuing along the path beside the river, we eventually came upon Neidpath viaduct.
Opened in 1864, it is described as “one of the finest skew arch constructions in Scotland”.
Here, it is possible to ascend to the top of the viaduct, observe where the railway used to cross on its route from Symington to Peebles, walk across the viaduct and descend on the opposite side.
After stopping to admire the viaduct and take some photos, we turned back towards Peebles on the opposite side of the river to that which we had come.
Eventually, we came across Neidpath Castle again only this time we were on the same side of the river as the castle. Naturally, we took the opportunity to take another photo.
Continuing back to Peebles, via Hay Park, we spotted an attractive weather vane atop a turret on one of the local houses.
Once finally back in the town, we enjoyed a refreshing coffee and some exquisite chocolate at Cocao Black before driving back to Edinburgh.
We had a great day out visiting a Borders town and taking a relaxing walk alongside the River Tweed in Scotland’s lovely clean and fresh air!