Liddesdale

Liddesdale

Coming south from Jedburgh on the A68, after approx. 1,5 km you will reach the B6357, narrow leg, which leads across the moors to the village of Bonchester Bridge. The road then crosses the Wauchope Forest to the south and reaches Liddesdale. The pristine beauty of the valley is most captivating between Saughtree and Newcastleton. Halfway between both cities, Hermitage Castle is a bit off the beaten track (IV-IX pn.-sb. 9.30-18.00, nd. 14.00-18.00; X-III sb. 9.30-16.00, nd. 14.00-16.00; 1,20 £), powerful, a gloomy building, about which there are a lot of macabre stories. Castle owner, William Douglas, he sentenced his prisoners to death by starvation, and another inhabitant of this place, lord of Soulis, plotting against King Robert I Bruce, he summoned demons, to fortify the castle with their help. However, he did not quite trust his devilish helpers, so he drilled holes in the arms of his vassals, that they pull building materials in yokes. About Robert, unable to bear the eternal grievances of Soulis, he declared: “You can even cook it, but let me not hear about him anymore ". The royal supporters took the ruler's statement seriously and trapped the rebel baron. Because they were convinced, that Soulis had made a pact with the devil and was therefore difficult to kill (“No rope could bind him, and the iron weapon did not mind him "), it was thrown into molten lead and simmered.

From the outside, the castle seems to be powerful, its thick walls are topped with soaring gables and cornices. The architectural homogeneity of the building is illusory: some parts were added during the restoration of the castle in Victorian times, changing the initial appearance of the 14th-century fortress. The interiors, damaged by time, are a bit disappointing, Gothic portals and scary dungeons deserve attention.

NEWCASTLETON is not far from the castle, a typical workers' settlement, built for the weavers of the third Duke of Buccleuch in 1793 r. The streets marked out on the grid plan differ from the long one, main street, at which there are three squares, nice enough, to spend some free time on them. You can spend the night here at the Liddesdale Hotel (tel. 013873/752255) and try the local trout or pheasant.

The road goes beyond the boundaries of Liddesdale 16 km south of Newcastleton, w Canonbie. In this area, between the Esk and Sark rivers once stretched the "disputed area" (Debateable Land) – a small area in the period from the 14th to the beginning of the 18th century., considered his property by both England, like Scotland, which, however, never exercised any real control over it. The true masters of the borderland were highwaymen and the famous, outlawed bandits, like Kinmont Willie, Jock o’ the Side i Clym of the Cleugh, who were equally famous for their cruelty, and immense goodness. They could also die in style. During the reign of James V, a gang leader was caught, Johnnie Armstrong. The robber tried to buy himself a huge sum, asking the king to forgive the punishment. When Armstrong's offer was rejected, and the noose was already around his neck, calmly stated: "Indeed, looking for hot water under the surface of cold ice is pure madness, I asked for mercy of the unmerciful ".