Duns Castle This month we thought we would introduce some new themes to our blog post. So we start with a bit of a story about a few of the towns in the fabulous Scottish Borders area where we are based. Let's begin with Duns since that is our closest town and the home of ScotlandShop. Duns is the county town of Berwickshire and is centered around it's market square. Pop into Hugo's if you want a delicious sit down lunch or Border Baguettes if you need to grab a yummy sandwich to take away. Number 18 or Albany Vineyard are fab for gifts. For tourists Duns castle is a beautiful visit. The 14th century castle is set within extensive grounds and home to a huge variety of local wildlife. The castle is a popular wedding venue with fantastic accommodation on offer, and a stunning back drop for wedding photos with the castle having been used for many photo shoots and even featuring in the 1997 film Mrs Brown. Another fantastic place to visit is The Jim Clark Room, a small museum devoted to the life Formula One racing driver Jim Clark with an excellent collection of photographs, information and memorabilia. Brilliant for all car enthusiasts. Argyle & Stripe Lambswool Cardigan Hawick is the largest of the Border towns and has always been at the centre of the world's cashmere industry with many shops within the town selling a large selection of it's famous knitwear. Home to internationally renowned brands such as Pringle of Scotland, Lyle & Scott, Johnston's of Elgin and Peter Scott we work closely with our local manufacturers to bring you some of the finest knitwear and accessories in the world. The main event in Hawick is the annual Common Riding, a ceremony in which many of the towns residents ride out on horseback to check the town's boundaries, as well as a huge celebration of the town's youth being victorious over an English raid in 1514 in which they captured an English banner and proudly brought it back to the town. In 2007 Rough Guide described the Common Riding and one of the best parties in the world.
Barclay Dress ModernMelrose is a beautiful town based in the valley next to the stunning Eildon Hills. Within the town is Melrose Abbey in which Robert the Bruce's heart is buried and much of the town's history can be discovered. Melrose is the birthplace of Rugby Sevens and every April the town is overwhelmed with rugby fans from around the world flocking to watch some fantastic rugby and enjoy the party afterwards. The game of Rugby Sevens has become a hugely followed international sport and having been part of the Commonwealth Games for many years it will now make it's first appearance at the 2016 Olympic games. The Toon o the Rose has black and yellow as it's colours and the Barclay Dress Modern tartan pictured here was worn by commentator and ex-international Scottish rugby star Doddie Weir at the Melrose 7s this year. Another big event in the town's calendar is Borders Book Festival again drawing huge crowds to the town with many famous authors and celebrities in attendance.
Jedburgh Abbey
Jedburgh is a beautiful little town close to the Border with England and home to many visitor attractions steeped in masses of history. At the top of the town is the Castle Jail & Museum with the museum showing life as the prisoners would have experienced in the 1800's. As well as the the impressive castle is Jedburgh Abbey on the banks of Jed Water, part of the Border's Abbey Trail. There is also Mary Queens of Scot's House a home in which she visited in 1566 now a museum devoted to her life. The town has an annual event known as Hand Ba' in which two teams decided by how you first entered the town try to run a small ball either up to the castle or down to the bottom of the high street, there are no boundaries to when the game can be played and many shop keeps choose to board up their shop windows to prevent any damage caused by the game. Jedburgh is also a renowned textiles and kilt making town but sadly victim to the many mill closures in the last few decades there are only a few small, specialist manufacturers left in the town. Below is the Bell of the Borders tartan, one of the lovely regional tartans created to celebrate the colours of the Scottish Borders.
Bell of the Borders
Peebles was crowned the most creative place of it's size in Scotland this year and was given an award to help further enhance it's festivals and other events. We're very excited to see the impact of this on the town. Peebles plays host to part of the Tweedlove bike festival, with Glentress forest just outside of the town which is part of the 7 Stanes mounting biking centers across the south of Scotland, the town is very popular with cyclists having also had the Tour of Britain hold a stage through the town and beyond. Neighbouring tiny village Innerleithen was home to Ballantyne cashmere in until 1986, employing 470 local people and producing 4500 sweaters per week, most of which were destined for the USA, Japan, Italy and Hong Kong. Sadly due to pressure from cheap imports Ballantyne is no longer in operation and the loss of so many jobs in this rural area has had a huge effect on the local population. When ScotlandShop was established ten years ago we wanted to work with the surviving local knitwear and textiles manufacturers to promote our fabulous products worldwide, safeguarding some of the remaining jobs in the industry. By shopping with us you are helping us to do this. Our photoshoot last summer took place in Peebles and doesn't Natalia's Stewart Black tartan suit look great with the backdrop of the flags for the annual Beltane Festival.