Saturday, June 21, 2014

Conscientious tourists need not apply

The Scottish Borders are no place for the anal, I find. There is just so much to see and absorb here. Thousands of years of lively history, including 300 particularly tumultuous years will do that, and pootling round a circuit today that included Melrose, Jedburgh, Hawick, Kelso and Coldstream presented me with far too much information.

The trouble is, it's all so well done. Call into any little (free!) museum in a former abbey, jail, castle or courthouse - and we saw them all today - and you'll find story boards, tableaux and artifacts telling you all about penal reform, Mary Queen of Scots' turbulent life or Walter Scott's legal life.

For someone still too close to school projects, it feels like slacking not to read and look at everything - but, even on a super-long Scottish summer's day, that would mean missing out on the next little town's story... It's hard sometimes, being a tourist.
Because as well as the set pieces, there are always surprises along the way, like the mysterious and magnificent chateau seen across the river and the fields, still unidentified, or the marvellous Leaderfoot railway bridge over the Tweed, suddenly just there, by the road, another fine example of Scottish engineering. No biggie.

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